Apple’s next-gen OS X 10.11: Big changes or small?

“The recent rounds of speculation about OS 10.11 suggest it’ll be a catchup release, in the spirit of OS 10.6 Snow Leopard back in 2009,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Instead of packing in loads of new features, some seemingly barely tested, Apple may focus mainly on stability, performance, and some improved under-the-hood tools for developers. OS 10.6 was considered to be the true reference release of OS X and a true successor is overdue.”

“Well, you just knew that Yosemite would only survive about a year before it was supplanted with a newer OS. OS 10.11 is expected to be demonstrated during the June 8, 2015 WWDC keynote, and Apple VP Philip Schiller is promising new technologies for developers to explore,” Steinberg writes. “That statement creates a contradiction, or maybe not.”

“I can see the wisdom, however, in Apple promising more OS stability at a developer’s event. They can couch it in terms of introducing new technologies that allow the OS to run more efficiently, using less memory, allowing things to behave in a more stable fashion,” Steinberg writes. “Perhaps there could be a Continuity 2.0 that adds to the feature set and refines existing features. That might present a politically correct way to fix what’s wrong but take the glass half-full/half-empty approach of offering it as a better version.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote, in part, back on January 5th in an open letter to Tim Cook:

Apple, while certainly still the best when it comes to desktop and mobile operating systems, needs to do better. Our expectations, some of us as users of Apple products since the early 1980s, are not being met when it comes to the quality and reliability of operating systems, software, and services. Used to be, you could pretty confidently install brand new operating systems from Apple. Recently, we’re more inclined to wait for a few point releases than not. It’s downright Microsoftian. Lately, for the past couple of years, your software seems rushed. Is “rush job” really the impression you want to give your customers?

Slow down! Getting it right is far more important than getting it out.

Frankly, we don’t need a new Mac or iPhone/iPad operating system every year and Apple Inc. doesn’t need it, either. Annual OS releases shouldn’t be mandated. What we all really need, customers and Apple Inc., are operating systems that are rock solid and do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. Why not just add new features/services to existing OSes with continued point releases that refine and extend the experiences and services you want to deliver? Why not just release new operating systems only when they are rock solid and ready?

In other words, take a step back, take a deep breath, and focus on making sure that what you have now just works. Because too much of it doesn’t (Wi-Fi connectivity for one ongoing, glaring, vexing example). Getting it right is far more important than having two “new” free OSes to release each year. Seriously, nobody outside of Cupertino very much cares. We do, however, care very much that Apple’s software and services work as flawlessly as possible.


      1. I agree with MDN take. Apple needs to continue to have rock solid hardware and software. Anything else is not acceptable. Having those 2 things will attract customers long term.

        That being said, I actually like Yosemite better than Mavericks, and iOS7-8 better than iOS6 and below.

        1. I concur with your first paragraph, but completely disagree with your second.

          Both Apples OSes since 2010 have become more like the inferior competition. They have not lived up to Apple’s own prior development standards in performance, stability, intuitiveness, or legibility. While iOS 8 recovers some of what iOS7 lost, it’s still not as good as iOS6 … unless you like swiping at icons like an Android geek and squinting at hard-to-read display elements.

          As for OS X — a fundamentally improved OS XI cannot come soon enough, with user interface options, a more efficient file system, a real help menu, and a much more intuitive interface with less stuff hidden.

  1. I predict that OS X 10.11 will be a technological masterpiece, chock full of features we won’t be able to resist. Aside from the monster memory leak in Mail, which debuted in 10.9.

    Jony Ive does not need anyone’s approval and no one checks his work. He also can’t draw. OS X 10.11 will accordingly get flatter than matzoh bread with stale beer. He will complete the transition, replacing icons with symbols and buttons with words. The colors will be even more garish, and some built-in applications will look like data swimming in bright light without any structure.

    What a strange world we live in when Linux looks more artistic than OS X.

    1. If Ive has complete control over the interface in OSX.11, i will stop updating until he’s gone. The flattening and white-out sucks. Fifth graders draw better icons that this. Where is the fusion of art and science that Jobs and the rest of us loved? The Mac OS is sick and getting worse…

      1. For those looking for a bit of context (assuming you are one of the three remaining people on the planet who have never seen ‘This Is Spinal Tap’):

        Nigel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, — right across the board — eleven, eleven, eleven and…

        Marty: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?

        Nigel: Exactly.

        Marty: Does that mean it’s louder? Is it really any louder?

        Nigel: Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?

        Marty: I don’t know.

        Nigel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

        Marty: Put it up to eleven.

        Nigel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.

        Marty: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?

        Nigel: (contemplative pause) These go to eleven.

  2. Spent more than 24 hours over the weekend trying to use Migration Assistant to move 850 gb of data between a mini and an iMac using a direct ethernet cable between the two. After 2 failed attempts and much reading the Apple discussion boards I tried Migration Assistant from a Time Capsule backup and 14 hours later it worked.

    When using a wired connection between the computers it would hang on “1 minute remaining.” A non tech-savvy user would have been packing up a 27″ iMac for a trip to the Apple Store.

    Imagine a Mac newbie upgrading for the first time and trying to migrate data, only to find a built-in tool doesn’t work. Based on the Apple discussion board threads this has been going on for several years without a fix. This is exactly the kind of stuff Apple needs to pause and get right before piling on more features.

  3. What does Apple really need to do with OS X right now?

    1. Work on fixing bugs that will always be in an OS.

    2. Prepare for new processors from Intel, even if they are early working on it.

    3. Continual enhancement of developers tools. Swift is a great example.

    4. Bringing the  Watch integration to the Mac line as tightly as the iPhone line.

    5. Some hardware upgrades to get us in the local Apple Sores. Larger storage and more memory works when there are no new processors.

  4. I was just dusting off an old MacPro 1,1 to sell on eBay and, after a clean install of 10.6, I couldn’t help thinking just how easily I dropped back into the OS. Let’s hope 10.11 is as intuitive (oh, and stable, stable, stable, etc)

  5. There must surely be a place where Apple supporters and users can lodge feature requests and OS feedback, and where someone will actually listen! But where is such a place?

    1. There is, but after 8 years of submitting bug reports and hearing about other people’s experiences, I have no evidence that it is anything more than a bit bucket.

      1. True, Ken, but much of the functionality that ZFS promised should have been implemented by now into OS X. Right now, Windows has a more efficient file system. What’s taking Apple so long to get up to speed?

      2. The Z File System (ZFS) is an open-source logical volume manager and file system created by Sun Microsystems, originally for its Solaris operating system. It is now used in many operating systems including FreeBSD, NetBSD, Mac OS X Server 10.5 and various Linux distributions through ZFS-FUSE. The most distinguishing feature of ZFS is pooled storage, where multiple storage devices are treated as one big pool rather than as separate devices and logical drives. Storage can be taken from the pool and allocated to other file systems, and the pool can be increased by adding new storage devices to the pool. This is the same method of resource allocation used in a multitenant cloud environment.

  6. First thing they should do is get rid of the ‘flat’ look. The lack of contrast might be fine for those with 20/20 vision, but using it for any length of time gives me a headache due to eyestrain, no matter how much I try tweaking the monitor settings.

    As a result I’ve gone back to Mavericks, but it is the first time in 20+ years as a Mac user that I’ve started looking seriously at Windows.

  7. I get a little sad when I think back to when I had a G5 Mac Pro. Don’t even remember the version of MacOS I had. In an online debate with some Windows users I made a video with a camcorder of my Mac running 10 movies in 10 separate windows, and then navigating through a few Finder windows. Not one nanosecond of stuttering. And today, with two 2.8 GHz Quad Core Xeon processors in my Mac Pro, it can’t even run two windows with movies and allow navigating one Finder window without skipping and stuttering. The blame lies squarely on the tasks WindowServer and discoveryd. Fix it, Apple.

  8. Apple needs to focus on making sure everything works and that it works as fast as possible. NEXT:

    OSX 10.11 needs additional user interface options.

    The Mac market is growing and therefore the needs are also growing. I know several iMac users who are over 50 years old. They are really having problems with the smaller fonts introduced in Yosemite.

    The current accessibility options to Increase Contrast and Reduce Transparency turn everything an ugly gray.

    A better solution is to create a personalization section in System Preferences. Where colors and font sizes can be changed to meet the needs of various Mac owners.

    The user should have controls similar to Windows 7 and Windows 10 where the following items can be configured for maximum accessibility and productivity:

    Transparency on or off without increasing contrast.

    Finder Sidebar Color If Transparency is off – currently everything is gray, gray, gray.

    Change Dock Color if Transparency is off. I purchased a computer with a color screen, I’d like to set the colors that are best for me.

    Font and Font Size for the Window and the Menu (Some fonts are tiny on a 27 inch iMac.)

    Titlebar Color and Titlebar Font Color

    App Store Font Size (Very small on a 27 inch iMac)

    Window placement controls (See Better Snap Tool from the Apple App Store.)

    Option to set the default function of the Green Zoom Maximize button – Max for content, full window, full screen.

    Ability to set whether an App opens Windowed, Full Screen or Full Window I get tired of having to adjust the app to the right size and position each and every time I open it. Third party add-ons help, however, they often have compatibility issues. Greater control over program defaults should be built into the operating system.

    These options improve accessibility and productivity.

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