WWDC 2016: Apple brings Siri to new MacOS Sierra

Sierra brings Apple's personal assistant Siri to the Mac desktop as well as support for Apple Pay.


Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team of executives took to the stage at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Monday to show off the latest version of the Mac operating system.

As expected, the new operating system is now called MacOS, with the latest iteration dubbed MacOS Sierra. The name change puts all of Apple's operating systems into a common naming scheme (i.e. watchOS, tvOS, etc.).

Most notable among the updates, Sierra brings Apple's personal assistant Siri to the Mac desktop, where the platform will perform many of the same tasks it can on iOS devices, like conducting web searches, sending text messages, creating calendar events and playing music from iTunes. Siri will also be able to search through files and save searches to the Mac's Notification Center.

Siri on Mac can be activated through an icon in the MacOS menu bar, the dock, or through the Hey Siri voice command.

In describing the rest of Sierra's features, Apple's Craig Federighi said the OS has a big focus on Continuity, iCloud and other fundamentals of the Mac experience.

In terms of Continuity, MacOS will feature Auto Unlock, which allows an iPhone to unlock a Mac when it's in close proximity instead of having to enter a password on a password-protected machine.

The unlocking function is also tied to a new Apple Pay integration in web browsers, which enables users to make purchases online using Safari. Because there's still no Touch ID on Mac (although it's now almost certainly in the pipeline) purchases are securely authenticated from an iPhone's Touch ID when linked to a Mac.

"So now when you're shopping online, you'll have a Pay with Apple Pay button available to you," Federighi said.

As for iCloud, Sierra has a new feature that lets users sync desktops between multiple devices, including an iPhone. iCloud Drive will also optimize storage by automatically moving older Mac files to the cloud.

Apple also updated versions of its iOS, tvOS, and watchOS operating systems. Sierra is available to developers today and to everyone else in the fall. A public beta of Sierra is scheduled for this July.