Every year at WWDC, Apple showcases their latest products for the benefit of developers. Due to the hype it commands, it went from being a simple developer’s showcase to a global event. Steve Jobs’ presentations are still held at a very high pedestal, especially his now revered Columbo-esque “oh, and one more thing” revelations. Last year, we discussed the release of the OS X Mavericks, 10.9 and later covered it in depth. OS X 10.10, originally codenamed “Syrah”, has been subject to speculation since Mavericks was set to release. The 11th version of OS X was finally unveiled at WWDC 2014, it is named Mac OS Yosemite, continuing the naming convention based on places in California.
This year’s WWDC was a showcase for software, hardware wasn’t a large part of the equation. Last year’s release of Mavericks was designed to help optimize the next generation of Macs, so there was not much in terms of UI overhauling, just logical functional upgrades. Mavericks has had a 50% install rate, which is a colossal number next to Windows 8’s 14%. Mavericks has been around for a year while Windows has had a considerable head start. This rapid adoption rate suggests that newer versions will happily be adopted.
The most obvious upgrade is the UI, which is subject to major redesign with a flat motif featuring bright, vibrant colors; favoring translucent menus (ala iOS 7) building towards a unified UX for all Apple products.
This year, not to pass up any marketing opportunities, iCloud’s storage was rebranded as iCloud Drive, to compete with the likes of Dropbox and whatnot. Being that it is system wide, you can share content directly, very much like Dropbox.
Smartphone Feature + Handoff
Perhaps the most unique feature of Yosemite is the smartphone feature. When your iPhone will be in proximity of your Mac, it will be able to make and receive phone calls directly from your desktop, much like HandsFree, only built in. Additionally, you will be able to text non-apple devices directly from your computer as well. There will be a handoff feature that will let you carry tasks from your iOS device to your Mac whenever you are in proximity of each other.
There will now be even more power behind the spotlight feature. It will now be front and center in Yosemite. Spotlight will now include search results from search engines and Wikipedia, as well as stored files. The interface of spotlight now allows you to see large, prominent previews, giving users a peek of their files before actually viewing them. Moreso, you can launch applications by simply typing their name in. The Spotlight feature is very similar to Google’s Now feature, right up to the search bar.
If you feel like there is too much empty space in the notification center, since notifications usually don’t go too long before they are addressed, you can now add widgets. The ‘Today’ feature from iOS, is now a staple of Mac OS X too. You can add weather, sports, stocks to it. Suffice to say, it is more than just a notification center, it will now contain actual information.
Most importantly, the issues prevalent in the default Mail.App have been addressed. It can now sync with iCloud to share encrypted attachments and mails. It is said to be more streamlined, faster and essentially worry free. Despite all of the above, this is what I’ve been most looking forward to.
Chrome has been a thorn in the sights of Microsoft as well as Apple, since their default browsers, Internet Explorer and Safari have had an uphill battle competing with Chrome, IE more than Safari. Now, Apple wants to address that by creating a faster, more powerful Safari. Which is what Yosemite will bring. It has been redesigned in conformance to its iOS counterpart. There are a bunch of operations that you can do from within the URL field, such as accessing bookmarks. You can even access your friends’ social feeds and view links directly from within the browser if you want. The private mode is modified to now work like Chrome, functioning independently from other tabs.
Yosemite will available for developers from Monday forth, non-developers can also get quick access using Apple’s Beta program. The official release will be in fall, it will be free, just like Mavericks.