June 24, 2014 at 7:03 p.m. PST
Apple introduced OS X 10.10 Yosemite at their annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The revised Macintosh operating system offers new features such as Continuity. Yosemite also enhances many features and apps like Spotlight, Notification Center, Safari, Mail and more. OS X 10.10 features a new, flat look resembling iOS.
Since its introduction in 1984, the Macintosh revolutionized computing. Although it borrowed ideas from the Xerox PARC Alto, Apple created the first personal computer featuring an easy-to-use graphical user interface. This is something we now take for granted. After three decades, the Macintosh remains peerless when it comes to usability, design and functionality. As the PC industry is in decline, the Macintosh continues to increase in market share. Let’s take a look at OS X 10.10 Yosemite and the amazing new features it has to offer.
New User Interface
OS X Yosemite has finally adopted the same look and feel as iOS. The app dock features a flat, translucent appearance, and the overall design incorporates many aspects of iOS 7. This was inevitable and we’re likely to see this same look come to Apple TV soon.
The user interface isn’t a direct copy of iOS. After all, the Mac has windows which can be resized and moved. The three multi-colored window buttons have changed in both appearance and functionality. In Yosemite, the green “zoom” button now puts the application in full screen mode.
Prior to this advancement, this button confused some Mac users, particularly those migrating from Windows. Previously, the button would “right size” the window, based on its contents. This is a confusing concept for some former Windows users. With Yosemite, users can still invoke the old behavior by holding down the Option key while clicking on the green button. Since OS X Mavericks made full screen applications much more manageable, it makes sense to change the behavior of the green button in Yosemite.
OS X Yosemite’s movable windows also make for a much more pervasive translucency effect. With OS X 10.10, the sidebars and headers of most windows adjust to match the background wallpaper or the content of the app. Furthermore, you can put the entire user interface into “dark mode”, which minimizes the visual impact of the menu bar.
Much like iOS 7, OS X 10.10 introduces a new font — Helvetica Neue. The new font improves legibility. It also unifies the look and feel of iOS and OS X. The icons bear resemblance to iOS 7 and 8, to a certain extent. OS X still has applications that are unique to the Macintosh, making it impossible to match iOS. Even the Trash Can has been redesigned. It has a translucent effect, which hints at the contents of the virtual refuse bin.
Notification Center once again borrows from iOS 7, bringing the “Today View” to the Macintosh. This seems like a replacement for the Dashboard, as it is the new home for widgets on the Mac. For those who are unfamiliar with the Mac, OS X has featured widgets for over a decade. It is not copied from another mobile operating system.
Spotlight is one of the most-used features on a Mac. It’s easy to launch an application with the dock, however, it is even easier using Spotlight. Simply hold the Command key and press the space bar, and Spotlight is ready to use. By typing in the first few letters of an app and pressing the Return key, you can easily launch an app without having to move the pointer.
With Yosemite, Spotlight has been redesigned to resemble iOS. Once launched, the search field appears in the top-middle of the screen. Typing in search criteria produces a list of apps and rich search results. Documents are presented with inline previews. When searching for an app, related documents are also displayed.
OS X 10.10 expands on Spotlight search results. One can now obtain results from Wikipedia, news feeds, Maps, and other Internet sources. Searching for people will find related emails, documents, events, reminders and other information related to that person. Spotlight is much more useful in Yosemite. Whether you want to search the web, launch an app, or find a contact, Spotlight is great place to start.
The theme of merging iOS with OS X is consistent in OS X Yosemite. The Calendar borrows much of its design from iOS 7. Of course, with a bigger screen, Calendar for the Mac can present more information. Yosemite’s Calendar has an amazing day view, featuring a side panel with related information. If you have a meeting, it will show information such as addresses, attendees and even a map.
Most of us don’t use just one device. We have a notebook, a smart phone and maybe even a tablet. OS X 10.10 expands on iCloud to share even more information across devices. It is now possible to access documents from the iPhone or iPad, such as a SketchBook Pro project. iOS devices can also access documents on the Mac. iCloud now allows storage of any type of file. Files can be organized just like a physical drive, with folders and tags. Files stored in iCloud are synchronized across all of your devices — it even works with Windows.
Mail for OS X 10.10 has undergone a revolutionary change. It is now possible to send large attachments, up to 5 GB, directly through email. This will work even if you or your recipient’s ISP has a limit on attachments. MailDrop is like AirDrop for email. Using iCloud, large email attachments are stripped from the email, stored on iCloud, and are rejoined with the message on the recipient’s email. The process is seamless — it works just like an attachment. If the recipient isn’t using an Apple email client, they are presented with a link to download the attachment.
With Markup, intelligent graphics tools have been integrated into Mail. Users can now annotate emails with quick notes, circles, arrows and freehand graphics. Freehand drawing of an arrow will automatically render a professional-looking arrow. This also works with cartoon bubbles and other shapes. Markup’s user experience is seamless. Users don’t have to leave the message window. Markup will even work with PDFs. One can easily sign a document using an iSight camera or Magic Trackpad, without leaving the email window.
Virtually every function of Safari can be operated with the new Smart Search bar. It is still possible to display the favorites bar, however, this functionality has been moved to the Smart Search field. This is similar to Safari on iOS. When you click the Smart Search field, it will display favorites. This new, streamlined look for Safari fits in well with Yosemite’s translucent effects and simple, flat appearance.
Safari for OS X Yosemite also adds new sharing features. RSS subscriptions are accomplished with one click, and show up in the sidebar. One click will also share web pages with recently accessed contacts.
Dealing with multiple tabs is now easier in Safari for OS X. Yosemite borrows the birds-eye-view from iOS. It is now possible to view thumbnails of all open tabs by clicking the tab view button. Tabs from the same website are stacked together, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.
Yosemite also offers a better multimedia experience for Safari users. HTML 5 Premium Video is now supported. Major players such as Netflix are already using this technology. You no longer need to use the bloated Silverlight plugin and upgrade it every few months. This new video technology is extremely efficient. HTML 5 Premium Video will provide up to 2 hours more playback time on a MacBook. Overall, Safari is the most energy-efficient web browser. It’s a compelling reason to upgrade. With Yosemite, you will get a lot more battery life out of your MacBook.
Apple’s ecosystem provides a platform where devices work together seamlessly. OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 take this a step further with Continuity. Continuity encompasses a suite of features, such as AirDrop, Handoff, Instant Hotspot and more.
Handoff is a new ecosystem-wide feature which allows users to resume using an app on a different device. For example, if you are working on a spreadsheet in Numbers on your Mac, you can pick up your iPad and continue working on it. Simply swipe up on the Numbers icon on the lock screen, and your spreadsheet is right there. Handoff works in both directions. You could be writing an email on your iPhone and then seamlessly switch over to your Mac. OS X Yosemite displays an iPhone icon on the left of the dock. Clicking on the icon hands off the activity to your Mac.
Continuity can do more than resume the state of apps. AirDrop now allows users to transfer files between iOS and OS X. This could be done previously using iTunes and WiFi sync, but it was a clumsy process compared to AirDrop.
Instant Hotspot is a new, easy way to use your iPhone or iPad as a WiFi hotspot. This was always possible, but the process involved picking up your iPhone, setting up the hotspot, and then connecting your Mac. Instant Hotspot works without touching your iPhone or iPad. One simply clicks the WiFi icon on the top menu bar, and the network-connected iPhone or iPad is listed as an option. You can connect to your iOS device’s WiFi hotspot instantly, even if it is in another room.
Continuity also allows non-Apple users to send iMessages to the Mac or iPad. Previously, these users would show up on your iPhone only. Continuity allows your iPhone to relay these non-Apple users’ messages to your other devices. This means you can now accept SMS messages on your Mac or iPad.
The coolest Continuity feature is the ability to pick up phone calls on your Mac. When you receive a call on your iPhone, a notification will show up on your Mac. You can take the call directly on your Mac, using it as a speakerphone. Similar systems have existed on other platforms, however, they were never integrated so elegantly and seamlessly, and without any additional configuration. Yosemite also brings calling capabilities to the Mac. You can make phone calls from Contacts and web pages, directly on your Mac, using your iPhone (as a relay) or FaceTime Audio.
OS X 10.10 Yosemite is a huge leap forward. Building on Mavericks, the new Mac operating system tightens the Apple ecosystem’s integration. It’s amazing to see how all of the devices work together seamlessly. The new Mac operating system will be released in the fall of 2014. OS X Yosemite is compatible with any Mac that can run Mavericks:
- iMac (mid-2007 or later)
- Mac Mini (early 2009 or later)
- Mac Pro (early 2008 or later)
- MacBook (13″ aluminum, late 2008), (13″, early 2009 or later)
- MacBook Air (late 2008 or later)
- MacBook Pro (13″, mid-2009 or later), (15″, mid 2007 or later), (17″, late 2007 or later)
- Xserve (early 2009)