With WWDC exactly one month away, you're probably wondering if Apple is planning to unveil its next operating system update for Macs, and if so, how might the software update change OS X Yosemite.
There's likely a hundred questions you're asking yourself, and so to help you find at least some answers, Pocket-lint has rounded up everything you need to know. That said, since we're still in early-days territory, and because it's too soon to call what OS X 10.11 will definitely feature, there's not much to go on at the moment.
We've therefore included existing bits of information regarding what the software update is called internally, as well as what it might be called when it releases, when it is expected to roll out, etc. We've even included a wish-list of features we'd like to see. As time goes by, we'll add more details as they leak out.
What is OS X 10.11?
First of all: OS X 10.11 is thought to be the next, upcoming version of Apple's OS X operating system for Macs. It'll be a major software update that'll come pre-loaded on new Macs, while existing Mac owners will likely be able to download it directly from the Mac App Store after it releases.
Is Gala the update's actual name?
No. Gala is just a codename for OS X 10.11 (used internally by employees at Apple). Codenames are given to products during development for various reasons, but the primary reason is to maintain secrecy of the project.
From 2001 to 2012, all the codenames were based on big cats, such as Puma (OS X 10.1) and Cheetah (OS X v10.0). And for the last few years, Apple has switched to wine names like Zinfandel (OS X 10.8) and Cabernet (OS X 10.9).
Then what will Apple call the update?
Prior to OS X, Apple labeled the latest versions of Mac OS as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. When Apple reached 10, it adopted the roman numeral X in its naming convention.
Apple also started to release versions of OS X with their internal codenames in 2001. Examples include Jaguar (OS X 10.2) and Panther (OS X 10.3). In 2013, Apple dropped the cat names entire and went with places in California.
Mavericks (OS X 10.9), which is the tenth major release of OS X, debuted in 2013 with a name based on a surfing location. The following year, Apple released Yosemite (OS X 10.10), which was an homage to the national park in California. It's assumed the next version of OS X will also have a California-inspired moniker.
Although a name hasn't been confirmed yet, Apple has trademarked the following major California landmarks and animal names: Big Sur, Condor, Diablo, El Cap, Farallon, Grizzly, Mammoth, Miramar, Mojave, Monterey, Pacific, Redtail, Redwood, Rincon, Sequoia, Shasta, Sierra, Skyline, Tiburon, Ventura, and Sonoma.
It's possible the company has other trademarks, which obviously haven't been uncovered yet, so it's not guaranteed that one of the names from the list above will be chosen for OS X 10.11.
When will the update release?
Apple follows a somewhat strict timeline by releasing updated versions of OS X every year. Mavericks (OS X 10.9), for instance, debuted in June 2013 and became widely available for consumers just three months later. The following year, Apple announced Yosemite (OS X 10.10) in June and released it to consumers in October.
Looking at this pattern, Apple will likely unveil the next version of OS X at the Worldwide Developer Conference, which is kicking off in San Francisco on 8 June with the company's main keynote event. After the keynote, developers will be granted access to OS X 10.11 for testing. From there, Apple has a lengthy beta-testing period that stretches for months.
You won't probably see a public release until autumn 2015, though Apple isn't always consistent with release dates.
Will the update cost anything?
For the last few years, Apple has released major updates to OS X as a free software upgrade, so there's no reason to suggest the company won't do the same this year. However, if the company for whatever reason does slap a price tag on the software, just remember that Mountain Lion cost £13.99 when it launched for consumers.
So, what can you expect from the update?
There's not much known about OS X 10.11 at the moment, though it's rumoured to feature several performance and stability improvements. These types of software changes are also called "under-the-hood" improvements, because consumers won't notice any major changes in the software's general design or functionality.
Rumors have similarly suggested that iOS 9, which is thought to be Apple's next iOS update currently in development, will focus on optimisation and stability (rather than design tweaks and new features), so with that in mind, it's possible that Apple is sticking to some sort of strategy that's all about fixing bugs in software.
If OS X 10.11 focuses on improvements, it wouldn't be the first time Apple took such a route: Snow Leopard notably brought stability optimisations to Mac OS X, where as Leopard from the previous year added new features. Apple even marketed Snow Leopard as "the world's most advanced operating system, finely tuned".
What's on your wishlist?
Pocket-lint has gathered a wishlist of features we'd love to see in OS X 10.11, but feel free let us know in the comments what you'd like the software update to bring.
For some reason we think the best updates come with some sort of significant visual overhaul. The company can continue with the colours and non-skeuomorphic look; we'd just like to see something new or fresh on top of that.
Now that Microsoft is baking Cortana into Windows 10 and the new Microsoft Edge browser, we think it's time for Apple to fully integrate Siri and her smart voice recognition throughout OS X. Imagine being able to control your Mac or a room full of Apple devices with your voice (imagine an always-on Siri as well).
Better Wi-Fi features
Some consumers have complained about Instant Hotspot, a feature in Yosemite that enables a Mac to connect to an iPhone and use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot (without requiring you to change settings). It's not always reliable, much like many of the software's Wi-Fi features, so we'd like to see stability improvements.
New ways to login
The standard way of logging into our Macs is, well, old. We'd love to see OS X 10.11 take advantage of iBeacon, so your nearby iPhone could unlock your Mac. It would be even cooler if your Mac could somehow recognise a fingerprint scan through your iPhone in order to log you in. That's wishful thinking, but hey, this is a wish list.
And finally, there are several Mac apps by Apple that could do with a change or two or several. Mail, for instance, is in dire need of an update. Photo Booth could also be brought up to date. The list goes on, really.
Want to know more?
We plan to update this article over time as more details leak out or are confirmed by Apple, so keep checking back for all the latest and breaking news. You can also go to Pocket-lint's OS X and Apple hubs for more information.
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