It’s that time of the year again – where Apple fans and techies sit up and take note of the new, upcoming OS X operating system and iOS mobile software.
Yesterday, months of speculation came to an end as Apple officially announced it’s new operating system for Mac as well as the mobile update, iOS 8.
Here, Apple introduced us to Yosemite; the new operating system that promises to make your Mac experience faster, better and smoother. And all in all, we are quite impressed.
Firstly, the name. Apple has continued the tradition started with Mavericks, and named the new OS after another famous Californian landmark. Yosemite (pronounced yoh-zem-e-tee) is popular national park in California.
Naturally, the first thing you notice about Yosemite is the new look. Aesthetically, Yosemite is way more sleek and minimalistic. It is clearly inspired by the flat, smooth lines that we first saw in iOS 7 and that continue in iOS 8.
Your Mac’s notification centre has received an update it was dying for. Everything is now in one place, which of course, makes it simpler and easier to use. Features that you used to to see in widgets are now all together, including essentials like your calendar and weather.
Another update which earned a big hooray from Mac users, is the updated Mail feature. We know very well that Apple’s Mail app has long been criticized by users. The new version offers us a streamlined user interface, eliminating the bulky feeling of the previous Mail version. The have also created a brand new feature called Mail Drop.
What Mail Drop does, is it allows you to send bigger attachments (or attachments that are too big for regular email) by ‘dropping’ them. Then, instead of receiving a return mail saying the file and email bounced, a new message is created with a secure link so that the recipient can then download the attachment.
Another new feature that forms part of Mail, is Skitch. Skitch is an image editor, incorporated in Mail, that allows you to write, draw and add speech bubbles to images. A cool function that many should appreciate.
The popular Spotlight search has also been reworked a bit. Instead of opening in the top right-hand corner, the Spotlight search now opens slap bang in the middle of your screen. What’s more, is that Apple has broadened Spotlight’s horizons, by allowing it to search in other places, rather than just your Mac.
Spotlight now searches in the App Store, iTunes and iBooks, Maps, Bing and even Wikipedia. And of course it also searches all your files on your Mac. This is a great improvement that will definitely come in handy.
While Spotlight can now also search the Internet, that doesn’t mean that Safari is obsolete. Safari also received quite the make over (or rather, make under) as it is way more stripped down and simpler when it comes to design. As for it’s performance, Apple said that they have improved Safari’s speed and also upped the multi-tab support.
A brand new feature rolled out with Yosemite is iCloud Drive. This is basically Apple’s answer to Google Drive – or Dropbox, which ever you prefer. It offers the same features as Google Drive and the (many) similar services out there. It also makes integration between iCloud and your desktop easier; for example, you can now view files stored in iCloud directly in your Finder.
The biggest, recurring ‘theme’ with Yosemite, seems to be the easier integration between all your Apple devices. Handoff is a prominent feature in this OS X, iOS marriage. Handoff will allow you to start an activity, say on your iPad, stop using the iPad, and pick up exactly where you left off on your iMac. It allows for your iPhone, iPad, Macbook, iMac (well, literally everything) to know when you are busy with something and relay that info to the other devices. Pretty clever indeed.
Because of the strong focus on device integration, your iMessage conversations will also appear on all your devices, even those that you have sent – which, previously, wasn’t the case.
But perhaps the biggest (and coolest) new feature focused on device integration, is the fact that you are now able to answer phone calls (read: iPhone calls) on your Mac! You are also able to MAKE phone calls from your Mac. Really, this is too great.
In essence, Yosemite looks great. It is without a doubt one of the bigger updates Apple has done when it comes to OS X updates. The new, sleek, iOS-inspired look is beautiful and the strong focus on device integration makes us smile.
Good on you, Apple. You hit the nail on the head with this one.
Yosemite will be available as a free upgrade during the US “fall” season. For us, that means Spring. So you can expect to upgrade to Yosemite between September and November.