The latest and greatest version of Apple OS X is official, and Apple is calling it OS X Yosemite. It brings a host of upgrades that include improvements to the user interface and better iOS integration.
Apple unveiled a cleaner UI, with translucent windows, a “dark mode” with screen dimming, refined icons, and updated apps. The app icons will feature rounded edges, with flat designs that ring similar to iOS 7. The dock is still there at the bottom of the screen, but it has received a facelift to mirror the new icon designs.
Notification center will boast a simpler design that will be easier to customize using widgets downloaded from the App Store for Mac. Users will be able to drag and drop apps and other content to quickly reorganize the notification center on Mac.
Spotlight will also be updated, with stronger functionality and performance. In OS X Yosemite, clicking on the search icon in the upper right hand corner will bring up a search bar in the middle of the screen. Users will then be able to search through apps, contacts, documents, folders, events, reminders, Wikipedia, news entries (powered by Bing), and even Apple Maps.
Apple introduced iCloud Drive, which will be integrated with OS X Yosemite, and will work across platforms. Apple iCloud Drive will allow users to quickly access content across devices, and organize it by tags and folders. Users will also be able to access files on their Mac that are saved in iOS apps. Users will also be able to automatically sync this content automatically across all devices, including Windows.
Mail received a small face lift, but most of the updates are under the hood and will include faster syncing, fetching, and switching between accounts. Users will also be able to send larger attachments with a new feature called Mail Drop. By dragging and dropping large photos or documents “up to 5GB” into Mail Drop, OS X Yosemite will encrypt the content and send it directly to the recipient via iCloud; users who are not on a Mac will receive a link to download the attachment.
Markup is a new feature in OS X Yosemite that will allow users to draw and type directly on mail messages as well as PDFs. With Markup, users can easily make or suggest changes as well as sign documents using their trackpad or iSight camera.
Safari will be simplified further, with a new search bar boasting a streamlined design. The search bar will now feature Smart Search, which will bring up a user’s history, bookmarks, and favorite websites automatically when the user starts typing in the search bar. Users will also be able to bring up private browsing windows separately from regular Safari windows, without interfering with regular browsing.
As with previous OS X releases, Apple states that this update will bring better browser efficiency and increased performance. The addition of Spdy will also allow users to stream Netflix without a plugin, which will bring a reported 2 hours of extra battery life to the Macbook Air while streaming in 1080p.
Safari will also feature updated share functions, allowing users to quickly share content via iMessage, social media, mail, and more. It will also populate a user’s recent and favorite contacts for quick sharing to friends, family, and coworkers.
Apple pushed continuity in its WWDC 2014 conference, and introduced a number of features that will make it easier for users to pick up one iDevice where they left off on another. One major update with OS X 10 is that Air Drop will now work between iOS and Mac, so users can quickly share photos and other files between devices.
Devices will now have “proximity awareness,” according to Apple, which means a user’s iPad, Mac, and iPhone will be able to sense when they are near one another. For instance, if a user is composing an email on their iPhone or iPad, and switches to their Mac during the process, the Mail app will prompt the user to pick back up on the email. Users will also be able to make, accept and decline iPhone calls on their Mac. Caller ID will display on a user’s Mac and give the users the option to accept the call and use their Mac as a speaker, or decline the call.
Mac users will also be able to instantly use their iPhone as a hotspot, without any prior configuration. If a user has their iPhone near their Mac, it will show up as available Wi-Fi, allowing users to instantly connect.
OS X Yosemite will be available to developers starting today, and will be released to the public as a free download this Fall. For the first time, Apple is also opening its beta program up to non-developers this summer.