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Some new features, some old bugs

by Kyle Meranda

The recent release of macOS Sonoma may not be as impressive as previous updates like Big Sur or High Sierra. While it does come with a new Lock Screen and a variety of new wallpapers, it falls short in terms of fixing old bugs and lacking significant new features.

One of the notable changes in Sonoma is the redesigned Lock Screen, which is similar to iPadOS 17 but without the widgets. Additionally, Apple has introduced new slow-motion screen savers from different locations around the world, giving users a fresh look each time they wake up their Mac. However, some users may not be satisfied with the new wallpapers as they fail to accurately represent the locations they are meant to depict.

In terms of functionality, Sonoma introduces the ability to add widgets to the Mac’s desktop, a concept that Windows users have been familiar with for years. This allows users to personalize their desktop with shortcuts, weather updates, photos, and more. Another useful tweak is the ability to tap the wallpaper on the desktop to make all apps vanish temporarily, making it easier to access items on the desktop.

When it comes to video conferencing, Apple has focused on improving FaceTime features, including the ability to react with hand gestures. However, FaceTime has not been widely used for work purposes, and its integration into the macOS ecosystem remains limited. Similarly, iMessage lacks proper integration with iOS 17 features, and Live Stickers appear inconsistent when sent from different devices.

One of the major critiques of Sonoma is its Safari browser, which continues to have performance issues. Safari consumes a significant amount of memory and often causes pages to become unresponsive. Users may find themselves having to reload pages frequently, which is not an issue experienced with other browsers like Microsoft Edge.

Despite its flaws, Safari does introduce some new features, such as the ability to create profiles and integrate them with Focus Mode, enhancing privacy and customization. Additionally, Safari allows users to use any website like an app, bridging the gap between websites and dedicated applications. Private browsing has also been enhanced with the ability to remove trackers and identifying tracking from URLs.

Exclusive to Apple Silicon Macs, Sonoma introduces a Game Mode that prioritizes CPU and GPU resources for gaming, reducing latency with wireless accessories like AirPods and game controllers. This feature has the potential to transform Macs into gaming consoles, providing a more immersive gaming experience.

Lastly, the Music app, formerly known as iTunes, has not seen significant improvements with Sonoma. It remains consistent with the old iTunes design and lacks key features such as animated covers and credit information for songs. There are hopes that Apple will revamp the Music app in a future macOS version to make it more user-friendly and integrated with the overall macOS experience.

Overall, macOS Sonoma may not live up to the hype of previous updates but introduces some new features and improvements. Apple still has room for refinement and bug fixes to make the macOS experience more seamless and enjoyable for users.

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