Apple's presentation was ugly. But it hid something very useful

The smallest new feature can sometimes be the one that you find invaluable. That may be the case with Apple's new MacOS.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer on

What is all that?

Screenshot by ZDNet

Jony Ive took one look, cursed very quietly and grabbed a perfectly designed wine glass.

"What has happened to those people?" he whispered, as the first molecules of chilled Sauvignon Blanc slid into his throat.

This, of course, happened in my imagination.

I can't conceive that Ive would have actually watched Apple's WWDC event. He was surely too busy hiring more designers from Cupertino.

I'm sure they, too, looked at some of the slides Apple presented during the WWDC and wondered where, oh, the design excellence had gone.

There was a lot of imbalanced mess plastered all over a slide. Some of it was legible. Some of it, well, we need to talk about the colors.

I was especially entranced -- not, perhaps, in a perfectly positive way -- at the MacOS slide.

It appeared Apple has added a wealth of new elements with MacOS Monterey. There wasn't much time to digest it. Especially as some of the bright yellows weren't too distinct on my now ancient (more than a year old) MacBook Air screen.

Thankfully, Apple has now released a page where you -- well, those who are too deep into the Mac ecosystem to ever emerge -- can examine everything you'll shortly upload onto your Mac.

You'll have your own particular emotional uplift, I'm sure. Perhaps it's Safari's redesigned, more rounded tabs -- wait, where have I heard a similar notion before?

It could be the Universal Control feature that allows you to shape-shift your cursor across devices.

For me, though, it was a tiny item presented just to the left of Craig Federighi's muscular right shoulder -- in bright yellow, naturally.

Welcome to my MacBook Air, Low Power Mode. In Apple's words, this "reduces system clock speed and display brightness to extend battery life."

In my words, it's been a savior on many occasions when I've forgotten to charge my phone or the battery has been suddenly sucked of its strength by an iOS software update.

Should you not be familiar with this modest little thing, your battery icon turns yellow -- a very, very muted yellow. Your screen becomes more muted too. But the feature allows you to carry on using your device for some time longer, likely at the very time when you actually need it most.

When I work, I tend to untether my Air and move around the house. I do the same when a Zoom or Teams meeting has gone on a little too long. It's a subconscious signal that it'd be nice if it ended.

Occasionally, my battery dips into the danger zone and I find myself rushing back to my power cord like a three-legged vole sent back to his hole.

Now, I can dip into Low Power Mode and make-believe the meeting is slowly fading away.

Many might wonder, of course, why this hasn't been available on MacBooks for years. Perhaps it's something to do with the relatively poor state of MacBook batteries for far too long.

Finally, though, here it is.

And I, for one, am excited. Well, pleased. Well, relieved.

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