macOS Big Sur’s Big Secret

Apple announced macOS 11 Big Sur to much surprise this last week at WWDC. Along with the transition to ARM came a bevy of visual changes (we won’t call them upgrades, per se) and the announcement that Apple Silicon Macs would be able to run iOS apps without modification.

Not only that, but that Apple would be placing all iPad and iPhone apps available to download in the Apple Silicon Mac App Store by default unless the developer specifically states that they don’t want it listed.

A bunch of multi-touch apps and games require touch input, however, and we’re as sure as ever that touchscreen Macs are on the horizon despite Apple’s insistence that they’re not coming soon.

We talk about visual indications we’ve found hidden in macOS Big Sur that help argue why macOS Big Sur hidden secrets hint at a touch-capable future.

macOS 11 Big Sur has just been announced at WWDC 2020, and it brings some pretty major improvements to the operating system that powers the best Macs, along with some stability improvements.

macOS Big Sur follows macOS Catalina, but where Catalina only had minor improvements over macOS Mojave, this new version is the biggest change to Apple’s operating system in years.

Chief among them is the migration to Apple-designed silicon. This has been rumored for years, but this, along with macOS Catalyst, will finally bring support for every iOS and iPad app to the Mac operating system. Apple also promises that it will lead to greater efficiency and power – though that remains to be seen.

We also get a massive redesign in the look of native macOS apps, with Apple giving apps like Messages, Mail, Photos, Calendar and even Finder a fresh, much more compact and streamlined design.

Also, we’re finally getting improvements that are more in line with what you get on the iOS, with macOS Big Sur bringing that new widgets feature we’re getting with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, making your whole Apple experience a much more harmonious and unified experience.

We didn’t get an actual release date for macOS 11, but if Apple follows its typical release schedule, as we’re pretty sure it will, we should see the next Mac operating system hit our computers in either September or October 2020. Still, if you want to get your hands on the operating system right now, you can jump into the developer’s beta starting today, though you should keep in mind that it’s not free.

This is the biggest macOS release in years, so there’s a lot to talk about. Be sure to keep this page bookmarked, and we’ll keep it updated with the latest information and features.

Typically Apple releases its software at the same time each year, so it’s reasonable to expect the macOS Big Sur release date to fall somewhere in September or October 2020. Either way, we won’t actually know the exact date the software will be publicly available until the iPhone 12 event later this year.

Still, if you’re eager to get your hands on the software, the beta version is available today if you’re a part of the Apple Developer program, which will cost you $99 (about £79, AU$140). We must urge caution to most folks here, though. Early versions of software are prone to bugs, and aren’t quite as secure as public releases. If you’re OK with the risks, though, the option is open to you.


macOS 11 Big Sur system requirements

If you want to download and install macOS 11 when it becomes publicly available later this year, you’re going to want to make sure your Mac is actually able to run it. And, unfortunately, macOS system requirements have gone up.
We went ahead and listed the macOS Big Sur-compatible Mac systems down below.

  • 12-inch MacBook (2015 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 and later)
  • Mac mini (2014 and later)
  • iMac (2014 and later)
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and later)
  • macOS 11 Big Sur name

This time around, Apple chose Big Sur to symbolize this release of macOS. Much like the unincorporated coastal area in Northern California, this new macOS is supposed to deliver “unmatched levels of power and beauty.”

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