Apple Debuts OS X Yosemite, Hand-Off at WWDC 14
During today’s keynote presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, unveiled the newest version of the company’s operating system, OS X Yosemite.
One of the big pushes for OS X Yosemite is the idea of Continuity, exemplified in a feature called Hand-Off. In short, it’s a whole host of features that allow for deeper integration between your mobile devices and your Mac. If you start composing an email on your iPhone or iPad, your Mac will know what you’re doing and give you the option of picking up where you left off on your computer. That also works in the other direction if you have to leave your desk and hit the road – you’ll be able to pick up your work right on your mobile device.
This isn’t just for email, but for all programs that are shared between OS X and iOS. Moreover, you’ll be able to accept or decline phone calls coming in to your iPhone right on your Mac. You’ll also be able to use your Mac like a speakerphone. Federighi even called new Apple employee Dr. Dre in front of the WWDC audience of 6,000.
It was by far the most hip-hop moment at WWDC ever.
Another big feature of OS X Yosemite is the revamped Spotlight feature, which allows users to search through their computers quickly and easily, while also searching the Internet without having to open their web browsers. From what we could tell in the on-stage demo, it works a lot like Windows 8’s Bing search, but with a much nicer user interface.
When using Spotlight, a huge, clean-looking search bar appears in the center of the screen. The search results that come back seem easy to navigate, and to decipher between what’s on your computer, and what’s coming from the web. Since Safari’s search is currently powered by Google, you’ll be more likely to get search results you’re more familiar with if you are a typical Google-user. Spotlight has also been integrated into the newest version of Safari, so if you search in the browser bar, you’ll get suggestions for your computer’s internal storage as well.
Another new feature that seems more substantive than stylish is the announcement of Mail Drop. The new feature will be a part of OS X Yosemite’s mail app, and gives users the ability to send encrypted attachments of up to 5 GB. This would seem to be partially in response to the recent security issues plaguing the tech community.
As for more general changes to OS X with Yosemite, the new UI offers translucent window borders and bars that react to the background on-screen. There are also a whole host of new icons and a cleaner-looking dock. Federighi also talked about Dark Mode, which will make the UI a little easier on folks using their Macs in a dark environment.
OS X Yosemite will be heading for users’ Macs this Fall, and it’ll be free. But a public beta program is launching this summer for non-developers, and you can sign up right here: apple.com/osx/preview.
Overall, OS X Yosemite sounds like a lot of great new features to help Apple users get even more out of their devices. It’s the kind of feature-rich release that Google’s looking to do across multiple devices, despite being hampered by Windows being the predominant desktop OS.
More to come as WWDC continues…
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