The new iMacs announced yesterday will ship with special ‘Hello’ screen saver that pays tribute to the original Macintosh and the color schemes of the new iMac models. On 9to5Mac, Jeff Benjamin has a walkthrough of the new screen saver, its options, and instructions on how to enable it on other Macs.
As Benjamin explains, you don’t need to have the new iMac to run the screen saver, although you need to jump through some hoops. The Hello screen saver is in the macOS 11.3 RC beta that was just released and can be copied and installed on other M1 Macs running the 11.3 beta by following the steps in Benjamin’s video. I haven’t tried to install the screen saver on an Intel-based Mac, but I plan to give it a go once I update my Mac mini to 11.3.
The screen saver includes several settings and three themes. I’ve set up the screen saver on my M1 MacBook Air and selected the ‘All’ theme option to get a mixture of all three themes when my screen saver is enabled. In addition to the themes, you can choose whether the screen saver shows multiple languages and whether it follows your light or dark mode settings.
I’ve enjoyed the Drift screen saver on my Macs lately, but the switch to Hello on my MacBook Air has been nice. The bold, vibrant colors are lovely.
Update: It turns out that the same process for adding the Hello screen saver to an M1 Mac works on an Intel-based Mac running the macOS 11.3 beta too.
Developer adoption of new macOS features is often a little slower than it is on iOS and iPadOS. However, that hasn’t been the case with Big Sur widgets. Apple wisely took the same SwiftUI-based system used for creating widgets on the iPhone and iPad and implemented it on the Mac, providing a relatively simple approach for developers to bring their existing widgets to the Mac. The result has been an immediate explosion of widget options for Mac users.
Over the course of the summer and fall, I tried several different widgets as I ran the Big Sur betas. A few of those widgets — which have been in development the longest and were highlighted in my Big Sur review — remain some of my favorites and are recapped below. However, many more terrific widgets have been released since and deserve consideration as well, so let’s dig in.
In the years since iOS 7 ushered in flat, minimalistic design, Michael Flarup has consistently pushed back, insisting that the trend had gone too far and there was still room for fun and expression in design. With the redesign of macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple surprised the design world by introducing a design that harmonizes macOS with the company’s other OSes, while providing room for expressiveness.
As Flarup explains:
Materials and dimensionality has made its way back into the interface —and every single app icon for every application and utility that Apple ships with macOS has been redesigned with depth, textures and lighting. This is a big deal. Probably bigger than what most people realise.
The post is a fantastic overview of where design stands on Apple’s platforms today and the influence that the company’s choices have on the design community. Whether intended or not, the unexpected design shift on macOS is one that Flarup expects to see radiate out to affect the design of iOS and iPadOS too:
With this approach Apple is legalising a visual design expressiveness that we haven’t seen from them in almost a decade. It’s like a ban has been lifted on fun. This will severely loosen the grip of minimalistic visual design and raise the bar for pixel pushers everywhere. Your glyph on a colored background is about to get some serious visual competition.
It’s interesting to consider where this new direction will lead. Big Sur’s iconography is part of a broad redesign on macOS that runs far deeper than the design changes made to iOS or iPadOS this year. Whether those platforms will follow the Mac’s lead in the future or take their own paths is something I expect to see debated a lot in the months to come. However it plays out, though, I’m glad to see the Mac retain character in its design as it heads into what promises to be a new era for the Mac.