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Apple’s update to macOS Sierra is called High Sierra

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Apple announced an update to macOS Sierra, in the form of macOS High Sierra. As simple as the name, the update to the world’s most advanced desktop operating system brings​ an all-new file system, update to Metal, refinements to stock Mac apps, and more.

macOS High Sierra uses Apple File System (APFS) which makes common operations such as copying files and directories instantaneous, and helps protect data from power outages and system crashes. The new files system is fully compatible with previously formatted HFS drives and data.

macOS High Sierra Homescreen

Apple also updated Metal, with a refined API and improved performance that help third-party developers to tap into the GPU power more efficiently, to version 2. Metal 2 adds support for machine learning and external graphics. There’s also an External Graphics Developer Kit that provides developers access to all the hardware and software required for optimizing their apps on Mac. For High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), Apple is now moving to H.265 standard from H.264.

With macOS High Sierra and new Mac notebooks and iMac Pro, Apple is focusing more on new experiences such as virtual reality and machine learning. For the first time ever,  developers will be able to create immersive gaming, 3D and VR content on the Mac. Apple is working with Valve to bring SteamVR on macOS — with support for HTC Vive, of course — while Unity and Epic will launch their VR development tools for macOS later this year.

As far as refinements are concerned, Photos, which got a huge update last year with macOS Sierra, has gained more improvements this time. Perhaps the biggest update to Photos in macOS High Sierra is the ability to launch third-party photo-editing tools like Photoshop, Pixelmator from within the app, with changes being synchronized automatically to the Photos library. There’s also an always-on sidebar that curates albums and organization tools. Plus, you can now easily edit Live Photos with fun effects in the app.

macOS High Sierra Storage

Safari can now automatically open articles in Reader, and stop media with audio from automatically playing in the browser with Autoplay Blocking. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention, as the name suggests, protects your web activity from being tracked by advertisers. It uses machine learning to identify and eliminate the tracking data.

To your surprise, Safari on macOS High Sierra is now the world’s fastest desktop browser, according to Apple. A modern Javascript test claims it to be 80 percent faster than Chrome. Mail gets faster and easier with Top Hits, and Siri on macOS now gets a natural and more expressive voice — just like on iOS 11. There are bunch of improvements under-the-hood, which you’ll be experiencing when Apple launches macOS High Sierra later this fall.

Meanwhile, developers can get their hands on the preview build of macOS High Sierra now at developer.apple.com. Public beta program will follow later this month at Apple Beta Software Program.

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Twitter removes its official Mac app from the App Store

Twitter just killed off its official Mac app, ends support in a month.

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Like the Twitter app on your macOS? Well, today’s news isn’t a good one for you, if your answer is yes. Twitter has pulled off the official Twitter for Mac app from the Mac App Store today.

In a tweet pushed from Twitter Support, the micro-blogging site announced that “starting today the Twitter for Mac app will no longer be available for download.” What appears to be the reason for the sudden demise of the Twitter for Mac app is the company’s efforts to provide a great Twitter experience that’s consistent across platforms. Simply put, use Twitter in your browser!

While this is for sure to make many Twitter users feel sad as the macOS client offered way better features over the browser version of Twitter, the move also means that we will be seeing improvements in the web version of the platform. Twitter for Mac will continue to have support for 30 more days, and after that, you won’t be able to use it at all.

“For the full Twitter experience on Mac, visit Twitter on web,” says Twitter.

Alternatives like Tweetbot and Tweeterific from third-party developers are a better option rather than using Twitter on the web. It comes at a cost though, unlike the official Twitter for Mac app.

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Google Maps for iOS adds one-tap access to commute information

The features arrived on Android last year.

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Google Maps for iOS update

Google has updated its Maps app for iOS. The latest release of Google Maps for iOS offers real-time commute information, with a three-sectioned bar at the bottom of the screen. Finding nearby restaurants and hotels, real-time traffic data, and transit information are now easier than ever.

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and you’ll see three different tabs aligned together: Explore, Driving, and Transit. The very first, as the name suggests, helps you find nearby places for restaurants and hotels, while the latter two provide you with real-time traffic details and transit information, respectively.

Whether we like it or not, sometimes life just flies by. And in the moment, every minute counts. Just one minute can be the difference between catching the last train or walking home in the rain. Or getting to that new restaurant in time to snag the last table.

The company brought the same set of features on Android last year. It’s good to see the handy one-tap feature making its way to millions of iOS users, a year later though. Google Maps is available on the App Store for free, grab the latest update now!

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Microsoft Cortana now available on iPad

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Microsoft has released Cortana for iPad. Cortana makes its iPad debut eight months after the smart assistant was available on iPhone last year. The iPad counterpart features a brand-new design for the larger screen with a much faster experience.

The Cortana digital assistant from Microsoft isn’t quite like Alexa or the Google Assistant, much like Siri, but is a Microsoft alternative for Siri — with enough limitations, thanks iOS. You can’t configure to replace Siri with Cortana (or any other assistant) on your iOS device, however.

The human interface is same as the iPhone counterpart, but with an interface optimized for larger screens and looks perfect on the iPad Pro line-up. Furthermore, the app now launches 20 percent faster on iOS devices.

Cortana can help you schedule appointments, set reminders, answer questions, alongside third-party integration with services like Netflix and Spotify. Microsoft Cortana is available on the App Store for free.

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