Mac OS X Archive
With macOS Mojave, Apple is adding support to run UIKit apps on macOS without the requirement of rewriting the UI in AppKit. While this isn’t yet something that's officially supported for third-party developers, let's explore what to expect in 2019 and how to try it out today.
Coincidentally, macOS Mojave has been released today as well, so head on over to the Mac App Store and update your Macs.
Some more light reading, right in time for the weekend - the 147 pages long reference to APFS.
Apple File System is the default file format used on Apple platforms. Apple File System is the successor to HFS Plus, so some aspects of its design intentionally follow HFS Plus to enable data migration from HFS Plus to Apple File System. Other aspects of its design address limitations with HFS Plus and enable features such as cloning files, snapshots, encryption, and sharing free space between volumes. Most apps interact with the file system using high-level interfaces provided by Foundation, which means most developers don't need to read this document. This document is for developers of software that interacts with the file system directly, without using any frameworks or the operating system - for example, a disk recovery utility or an implementation of Apple File System on another platform. The on-disk data structures described in this document make up the file system; software that interacts with them defines corresponding in-memory data structures.
This document could prove quite useful to developers who might wish to add APFS compatibility to for instance Linux.
Back in 2016, security researcher and developer Jonathan Zdziarski released a tool called Little Flocker that could protect Macs at the file level. Much as a firewall analyzes and blocks network traffic, Little Flocker locked down the file system and allowed only authorized applications access to only approved files.
Little Flocker was too complex to manage for average users, but it quickly became a darling among Mac security experts.
When Zdziarski took a job at Apple in 2017, he sold Little Flocker to the security vendor F-Secure, which released it as Xfence. Zdziarski's job change started the clock ticking on when we might see similar capabilities built into macOS. With macOS 10.14 Mojave, Apple has added file-level protections, plus some additional security enhancements. And you know what? Mojave is running into the same usability issues that users of Little Flocker endured.
I had never heard of this functionality. It seems like one of those things particularly Apple ought to be good at to integrate in a user-friendly manner.
While sometimes it can be hard to see from single release to single release, Apple has steadily been refining the Aqua user interface since first introducing it.
Of course, there have been highs and lows. Pin stripes and Brushed Metal and Linen and Rich Corinthian Leather. Transparency and Vibrancy. At times, Apple had led the way into new design trends, and at other times, they have fallen behind the rest of the industry.
Over 1500 screenshots of every Mac OS X/macOS release. A fantastic archive to browse through while enjoying a nice cup of coffee or tea.
Fast forward 5 years and Apple still doesn't have a solution that satisfies customers that have extensive need for customization and specialized workflows. During the time of trash can Mac Pro, I worked on a 5K iMac, because I really liked the hi-resolution display. But hiding away all those cables was a chore. After Apple showed us the future of professional hardware with the iMac Pro, I was fed up with the situation and I started to investigate the possibility of building my own Hackintosh. Putting all the hardware together was the easy part, making macOS work was tough, but I did it.
I honestly don't believe a 'Hackintosh' is a suitable machine for any mission-critical environment, but if you're willing to deal with the risks and minor headaches, it's a not-as-hard-as-you-think way to get your hands on a very powerful macOS machine for a very reasonable price - with a lot more options and choices than Apple will ever give you, even if you take the hypothetical, vapourware new Mac Pro into account.
Apple is expanding its Windows Migration Assistant in macOS 10.14 Mojave with a handful of new features that will make switching from Windows to macOS a much more seamless experience.
As spotted by a user on Twitter, for macOS 10.14 beta 6, the Setup Assistant and Migration Assistant will be able to migrate more data than ever before such as accounts, documents, email, contacts, and calendar.
NeXT was like graduate school, bringing together a high concentration of some of the brightest and most innovative technical minds. Many people had computer science (or other) research backgrounds. One thing that was unusual is that all the technical people there understood all aspects of the machine. Software people could talk about ASICs and CPU instructions, and the hardware people understood the software stack. Every aspect of what it takes to make a computer work was represented in one building: analog hardware, chip design, motherboard design, compiler design (Objective-C), loader, operating system, windowing system, application layer, and applications. Where other companies had engineering teams, NeXT would have a single individual. Many people had been managers or technical leads elsewhere and came to NeXT to be an individual contributor to help create the most innovative computer ever invented (enter reality distortion field).
In some ways, the narrative is out of Apple’s hands. The myth of Snow Leopard is bigger than life, a cultural reference rooted in nostalgia. OS X Lion succeeded 10.6.8 in July 2011 - closing in on 7 years ago. At this point, millions of Mac users have never even used Snow Leopard, and can’t attest to its reliability.
However, a kernel of truth persists underneath the mythology. Improvements to iOS and macOS, no matter how small, contribute to a better experience for everyone. Fixing bugs might not be as marketable as shiny new Animoji or a fresh design, but maintenance can only be deferred so long. If Apple can knock stability out of the park in 2018, maybe the legend of Snow Leopard can finally be put to rest.
There's a tendency for people to fondly look back upon older releases, whether warranted or not. Since I switched away from the Mac before Snow Leopard came out, and was a fervent Mac user during the PowerPC days, my personal Snow Leopard is Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which I still consider my personal best Mac OS X release. Mac OS X is obviously not alone in this; Linux and Windows users will also have their favourite older releases after which supposedly everything "went downhill".
It's just human nature.
Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming macOS Mojave update to its public beta testing group, giving non-developers a chance to try out the software ahead of its fall public release. Today's public beta should be the same as the second developer beta, released last week.
Jason Snell published a review of the first developer beta (released during WWDC), and concludes:
Personally, I'm more excited about macOS Mojave than any recent macOS beta. The new dark mode alone is a huge change in what we have come to think of as the Mac interface, and the changes to Finder have an awful lot of potential. I'm also really happy to be able to control my HomeKit devices directly from my Mac, either via the Home app or Siri.
We're about to enter a major era of change for macOS. Mojave is the last hurrah for some technologies - most notably 32-bit apps - but it's also our first glimpse (in the four new Mac apps based on iOS technologies) of what is to come. Even if you don't install the public beta now, I expect this to be a compelling update when it arrives in final form this fall.
The final release is planned for later this year.
Apple made a big splash at WWDC this year when it announced that it would be letting developers port their iOS applications over to the Mac sometime next year - and that Apple had already started the process by bringing over the iOS versions of the Home, Stocks, News, and Voice Memo apps to macOS 10.14 Mojave.
The project - rumored to be codenamed Marzipan - is still in the early stages, and Apple isn't even planning on offering it to developers until 2019. And there's already a fair amount of confusion and outcry over what Apple's doing here: whether or not it will see the death of the traditional Mac app as we know it, exactly how these new kinds of apps will work, whether they'll feel like traditional "native" Mac apps, and even whether or not it's fair to call these apps "ports". So here's what's actually going on.
A fair overview of "Marzipan" and what it could mean for the future of the Mac.
Yesterday at WWDC 2018, Apple revealed macOS Mojave, which is set to bring users a Dark Mode, redesigned Mac App Store, organizable Stacks, streamlined screenshots, and more when it launches wide in the fall. Alongside the new features, Apple has confirmed that it is deprecating OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) and OpenCL (Open Computing Language) in favor of Metal.
This means that apps built using OpenGL and OpenCL will still run in Mojave, but they will no longer be updated after macOS 10.14 launches. Apple encourages games and "graphics-intensive apps" built with OpenGL to adopt Metal ahead of Mojave's launch, and apps that use OpenCL for computational tasks "should now adopt Metal and Metal Performance Shaders."
This is going to be a major burden for small game developers.
Macs and iOS devices have been getting closer and closer to each other in terms of functionality, and now Apple is bridging that gap with an announcement that the company will be making it easier to port iOS applications over to macOS at its WWDC. Apple has already been testing its new frameworks, with the recently revealed News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps that Apple introduced with Mojave all actually being ported versions of the iOS apps. According to Apple, the cross-platform porting is made possible by integrating elements of iOS's UIKit frameworks directly into macOS, alongside the existing AppKit framework used on desktop.
The point during the keynote where Apple announced this was odd - they put up a slide with the question if Apple will ever merge iOS and macOS, followed by a slide that simply said "no". However, they then followed by saying that a large part of all the mac OS Mojave features they just announced were actually ports from iOS, which really takes the wind out of that seemingly definitely "no". We're not merging iOS and macOS, but by the way all the new apps you just saw are iOS apps!
In any event, this is the Marzipan project Mark Gurman scooped late last year, and it will present a massive sea change for Mac and iOS developers alike. With how popular iOS is compared to macOS, all your favourite macOS applications will eventually be iOS applications ported over to run on macOS. It simply makes very little economic sense to have two separate applications fully optimized for each of the two platforms; it's much easier to develop an iOS application that oh-by-the-way also runs on macOS.
So no, iOS and macOS aren't merging in the sense that they're going to be the same operating system, but once most macOS applications are just ported iOS applications, can you really argue that the distinction between the two platforms really matters?
And, as expected, Apple also previewed macOS 10.14, nicknamed Mojave.
Apple today previewed macOS Mojave during its keynote event at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. Version 10.14 of the Mac operating system introduces a slew of new features, including a Dark Mode, Dynamic Desktop wallpapers, Desktop Stacks, a redesigned Mac App Store, and more.
I wasn't particularly overly impressed with what Apple demonstrated regarding Mojave - nice features, sure, but nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary. As with the other previewed operating systems, the first developer preview is available today, and the final release will ship in Autumn.
There's one thing about Mojave we have to talk about, though - but that deserves its own news item.
Developer Steve Troughton Smith today tweeted photos of macOS 10.14 with some very juicy details about Apple's upcoming operating system. The OS is very clearly sporting a fresh new dark theme, presumably a toggle-able setting, with the dark UI affecting all application chrome. You can also see an icon for a Mac News app in the Dock, as well as a first look at Xcode 10.
Smith explains that the API the Mac App Store uses behind-the-scenes is including a video preview for Xcode, something that the current Mac App Store does not support. It represents a pretty big leak on Apple's part ahead of Monday's keynote.
Another major leak because Apple just uploaded a video to a place where everyone can find it. Good work, Apple.
As far as dark modes go - I'm generally not a fan, because they often feel like tacked-on afterthoughts, without designers really taking the implications into consideration. The only time where I saw "dark mode" work well was Windows Phone, because that UI was designed for it from the ground-up. Also, dark modes tend to be "dark", and not black. With today's modern displays with deep blacks, dark mode should really be black mode.
Today, Apple released the latest update for macOS. High Sierra 10.13.5 primarily adds Messages in iCloud support, but it also includes some enterprise and security updates. Users of supported Macs can download and install it from the Mac App Store now.
Get it right before WWDC starts.
Here's a bit of numerology for you. Today marks 17 years, one month, and 29 days since Mac OS X 10.0 was released on March 24, 2001. That's a strangely odd number - 6269 days - but it also happens to be the exactly length of time between January 24, 1984 (the launch of the original Macintosh) and March 24, 2001.
In other words, today the Mac's second operating system era, powered by Mac OS X (now macOS) has been in existence as long as the first era was.
Time is a weird thing, and it truly doesn't feel like OS X is that old.
Because a typeface is not just its pixels, but also its spacing, I wanted to look at the authentic source material for Chicago. That required some technical archaeology: the original Macintosh, released in 1984, was the first widely available computer that used proportional typography on screen and it had an entirely unique way of storing and managing fonts. (Standards like TrueType didn’t appear until later.)
I have some software background in typography, so I managed to extract the genuine 1984 font data using my 2018 computer. (The details of that part are a bit beside the point but are in the footnote at the bottom if you're interested). Having got the font, bitmap and spacing data for Chicago, I used the same little program to extract all the other Macintosh bitmap fonts.
Fun little bit of typography archeology on the old Macintosh.
What do Photoshop, Matlab, Panic Transmit, and Eclipse have in common? They are among the 299 apps for which macOS applies compatibility fixes.
Note that this is just a list of apps Apple has developed compatibility tweaks to make them run on newer macOS versions. As the list demonstrates, even the best apps often needs some tweaks on newer macOS. In addition, most of these patches are only applied to older versions of apps.
Here's how I extracted the list, and some interesting things I found in it.
This is absolutely fascinating, and provides some amazing insight into which applications Apple considers crucial to the macOS user experience and platform. We all know Windows performs various tricks to maintain backwards compatibility, but I had no idea Apple went to decent lengths too for the same reasons.