As part of Apple’s revamped WWDC 2020 experience, the Cupertino-based company has taken the opportunity to introduce the next generation of firmware to power the company’s Macs. Say hello to macOS 11 Big Sur.

Apple’s opening keynote of WWDC has historically always been a packed and exciting affair. The event is not only where Apple’s executive team gets to present to the wider public and show the world exactly what is on the company’s roadmap but it’s also where passionate and enthusiastic developers get to spend time with Apple engineers and get hands-on experience with any new software.

Apple’s announcement of macOS 10.16 Big Sur was obviously expected but the watching world has largely been kept in the dark about macOS 10.11’s features. So, with that in mind, let’s take a dive into the announcement and document exactly what Apple discussed.

UI Redesign and Enhancements

New color pallet, refined window corners, new icons make Big Sur a much needed refresh on the Mac platform. There’s an all-new Control Center, as well as an updated Notification Center.

The customizable menu bar features an all-new Control Center, delivering quick access to controls from the desktop. An updated Notification Center includes more interactive notifications and redesigned widgets that come in different sizes, providing users with more relevant information at a glance. And a new design for core apps brings more organization to multiple open windows and makes interacting with apps even easier.

Safari Improvements

Redesigned tabs now make navigation much more easier, with more tabs being displayed on screen, and a quick preview being available to see if you hover the mouse over a tab. More personalization has also been thrown in for the start page, complete with a custom background as well as featuring secions such Reading List and iCloud Tabs.

Translating a webpage is now one click away! “Safari can detect and translate entire webpages from seven languages with just a click.”

A new Privacy Report in Safari now details how exactly the browser is protecting your activity. “Users can choose when and which websites a Safari extension can work with, and tools like data breach password monitoring never reveal your password information — not even to Apple.”

Messages Improvement

Like iOS / iPadOS 14, the Messages app got a whole lot better on the Mac. Starting off, the pinning feature for a conversation lets you keep your attention to more important conversations. Message effects in iMessage also come to macOS, as well as the ability to create and customize Memoji on the Mac. “With a new photo picker and #images, it’s easy to quickly share images, GIFs, and videos.”

Group conversations just got a whole lot better, with inline replies, and the ability to tag people by simply typing their name. You can create your own custom guide as well to share with friends and family.

Apple Maps Improvements

In line with the improvements found in iOS / iPadOS 14, Maps now features Guides from trusted resources as Apple puts it.

“Get a 360-degree view of a destination with Look Around, and browse detailed indoor maps of major airports and shopping centers. Cycling and electric vehicle trips can now be routed on a Mac, and sent directly to iPhone to have when on the go.”

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