macOS Sonoma was recently unveiled as Apple's latest desktop operating system update at WWDC 2023. The next version of macOS will bring several UI improvements, options for personalisation, and interactive widgets to eligible Mac models later this year. However, some of these new features like Presenter Overlay, Reactions, and Game Mode are limited to Macs with Apple Silicon. Mac Models with Intel processors under the hood also won't have access to the short "Siri" trigger announced by Apple. Users have to wait until Q3 2023 when the company rolls out the update to their computers.
Apple has designed a few features of macOS Sonoma exclusive for Macs with Apple Silicon, which won't be available on older models that are equipped with Intel CPUs. Here are the features that will require M1 or M2 chips when macOS Sonoma is rolled out later this year.
Presenter Overlay is a fresh feature on macOS Sonoma for video conferencing. This video effect adds your video to the conversation while you are sharing your screen. You can choose from two overlays — large and small. The large overlay keeps the spotlight on the user. Intel-powered Macs will not support the Presenter Overlay functionality.
macOS Sonoma adds a new high-performance mode to the Screen Sharing app and this new feature works on recent Mac models powered by an Apple silicon chip. It uses the advanced media engine on Apple's in-house chips to enable highly responsive remote access over high-bandwidth connections. It delivers low-latency audio, and high frame rates, and supports up to two virtual displays. This feature will not available on Intel-powered Mac models.
React with your hands
During video calls, Reactions allow users to add 3D-augmented reality effects like hearts, confetti, fireworks, and more to the screen. With macOS 14 Sonoma, users can share a reaction with just a hand gesture. This feature will only be available on Mac computers with Apple's chips.
macOS Sonoma's new Game Mode requires an Apple Silicon SoC. This special mode offers consistent frame rates by prioritising gaming tasks for the CPU and GPU. It also lowers audio latency with AirPods and reduces input latency with game controllers like Xbox and PlayStation by doubling the Bluetooth sampling rate. Compatible game controllers work with selected games and are sold separately.
Shortened "Siri" wake word
The newly abbreviated wake word "Siri" can be used with Apple Silicon-equipped Macs and AirPods Pro (2nd generation). Made-for-iPhone hearing devices can pair directly with Apple Silicon Macs such as 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021), 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021), Mac Studio (2022), and Mac computers with M2 chip.
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