Andrew Cunningham and Lee Hutchinson - Sep 20, 2016 5:00 pm UTC When Mac OS X (as it was then called) first moved to a yearly release cycle in 2011, Apple had trouble defining its scope for each release.
Lion, the first in this cadence and the first release to pull in a significant number of features from iOS, feels like a half-finished version of Mountain Lion in retrospect.
El Capitan and Sierra both designate one or two big "hero" features for Apple to plan its marketing around (window management in El Capitan, Siri in Sierra), a decent range of medium-sized changes, at least one big under-the-hood addition (System Integrity Protection in 10.11, the Gatekeeper stuff in 10.12, and APFS next year if all goes well), and a smattering of minor improvements to the core apps.
Add in the Mac’s stale, aging hardware lineup and Apple’s total lack of communication about it, and there seems to be real problems for the Mac as a platform.
But for all the Mac users already out there, Sierra happily trundles along in the operating system’s quiet and reliable groove.