Computers

Apple flattens OS X, takes a road trip to Yosemite

At Apple's WWDC, the company revealed the latest version of its Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite
At Apple's WWDC, the company revealed the latest version of its Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite
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Apple's OS X Yosemite brings a flatter, cleaner look to the Mac operating system
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Apple's OS X Yosemite brings a flatter, cleaner look to the Mac operating system
OS X Yosemite now lets you send and receive calls and SMS from your iPhone – right on your Mac's desktop
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OS X Yosemite now lets you send and receive calls and SMS from your iPhone – right on your Mac's desktop
iCloud Drive moves Apple's cloud platform a step closer to rivals like Dropbox
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iCloud Drive moves Apple's cloud platform a step closer to rivals like Dropbox
Yosemite's new Mail app lets you annotate images and sign PDFs straight from a message
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Yosemite's new Mail app lets you annotate images and sign PDFs straight from a message
Yosemite's new dock has a flatter design, killing the faux shelf look in favor of a clean bar with flat icons
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Yosemite's new dock has a flatter design, killing the faux shelf look in favor of a clean bar with flat icons
At Apple's WWDC, the company revealed the latest version of its Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite
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At Apple's WWDC, the company revealed the latest version of its Mac operating system, OS X Yosemite

The world may not be flat, but Apple's entire world now is. After last year's iOS 7 brought a flatter and cleaner design aesthetic to Apple's mobile operating system, the just-announced OS X Yosemite completes the transition, bringing Jony Ive's software sensibilities to the Mac's software.

OS X 10.10 continues Apple's naming shift from cats to California landmarks, going with "Yosemite," the world-famous national park that sits in the eastern part of the state. As the 10th full version of OS X, 25th anniversary of WWDC and the 30th anniversary of the first Macintosh, it seems appropriate that Yosemite marks one of the biggest cosmetic overhauls in the Mac operating system's history.

Yosemite's new dock has a flatter design, killing the faux shelf look in favor of a clean bar with flat icons
Yosemite's new dock has a flatter design, killing the faux shelf look in favor of a clean bar with flat icons

Gone is the classic shelf theme from the OS X dock (complete with shadows and reflections), replaced with a simpler and flatter dock, that's essentially a row of icons inside an elongated bar. Most of those icons got the flat treatment as well. Many OS X apps, like Messages and Maps, are spitting images of their iOS 7 and 8 counterparts.

But Yosemite isn't all about looks. OS X 10.10 also marks one of the most feature-rich updates in years, including the most synchronicity we've ever seen between OS X and iOS. That's led by Handoff. If you have an iPhone or iPad sitting near your Mac, Handoffs makes tasks like email drafts, iWork projects or Safari web pages instantly accessible between devices.

So if you're drafting a paper in Pages on your Mac, a Pages icon will sit on your iPhone's lock screen. Swipe up and the document from your Mac will instantly open in Pages on your iPhone. Conversely, if you're drafting a text message on your phone, a Messages icon will be waiting in your Mac's dock. Tap on it, and finish up your message on your MacBook.

OS X Yosemite now lets you send and receive calls and SMS from your iPhone – right on your Mac's desktop
OS X Yosemite now lets you send and receive calls and SMS from your iPhone – right on your Mac's desktop

Speaking of messages, OS X Yosemite now automatically syncs calls and SMS between iPhone and Mac. So you can initiate and receive calls or text messages (not just iMessage, but actual SMS to non-iPhone users) right from your OS X desktop. You can highlight any phone number in OS X, and a right-click context menu will give you the option to immediately call it.

Yosemite also has a quick tethering feature that should help make up for the lack of cellular data in MacBooks. If you're on the go without Wi-Fi, just click on the name of your iPhone in the Yosemite menu bar (it will already be waiting there) and a data connection will instantly be set up. No need to mess with the iPhone at all. This obviously won't work with Android or Windows Phones, so it's yet another move by Apple to move you into an iOS-only walled garden.

Another big Yosemite update comes from Spotlight. Apple's system-wide search feature takes a big step forward in the latest version, with a floating search bar that pops up in the middle of your screen (this will look very familiar to users of 3rd-party Mac launchers like Alfred and Quicksilver). Results from not just local apps and documents, but also web sources like Wikipedia will instantly pop up in Spotlight results. For something like a Wikipedia entry, you get a quick summary in the results, but a quick click on it will load the full page. See what Apple is doing here? It's, in some cases, cutting out the Google middleman.

iCloud Drive moves Apple's cloud platform a step closer to rivals like Dropbox
iCloud Drive moves Apple's cloud platform a step closer to rivals like Dropbox

iCloud also takes a big step forward in Yosemite. Up to this point, iCloud left the file system in the background, instead silently syncing each app's documents, without any interaction from the user. Yosemite adds iCloud Drive, which moves Apple's cloud service much closer to rivals like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. Now you can browse the documents saved for each app (iOS or Mac) straight from Finder. You can also add your own personal documents to iCloud Drive. Everything syncs between OS X, iOS and, yes, even Windows.

Apple's Safari web browser also has a cleaner and simpler interface in Yosemite, with most of the information you need condensed into one toolbar. If you need your favorite sites bar, that now lives just a click away, in the search/URL bar. Spotlight results will also load in the Safari bar.

Yosemite's new Mail app lets you annotate images and sign PDFs straight from a message
Yosemite's new Mail app lets you annotate images and sign PDFs straight from a message

Mail wasn't left out of the fun, as Apple gave its email app a long overdue visual overhaul (it now looks a lot more like iOS Mail). The company added a lot of punch to Mail's features as well, as you can now annotate photo and PDF attachments straight from a message. There's also a new iCloud-based email attachment-saving feature that lets you upload files (up to 5 GB) that the recipient can download directly from the link. The idea is to kill the problem of attaching large files that your recipient's email server won't receive.

OS X's Notification Center also got a few tweaks in Yosemite. The "Today" view, familiar from iOS, now lives in the Mac's Notification Center, showing things like upcoming Calendar events and even 3rd-party app widgets. You could say the Today view is evolving into Apple's answer to Google Now (though Siri is still notably absent from OS X).

OS X Yosemite will be available for developers later today. Non-developers will have the opportunity to test-drive the update through a beta program, later this (Northern hemisphere) summer. Yosemite's free public release will land this Northern hemisphere fall. You can read more at the source link below.

Source: Apple

18 comments
Daishi
So far the Swift programming language looks like the coolest feature but I'm kind of surprised to see Apple rather than Google make a push for a new programming language. Oracle owns the Java language through the purchase of Sun Microsystems and is suing Google for copyright infringement for using it in Android. Google won the right to use it in 2012 but the lawsuit was overturned in May of this year. Java syntax is fine but I never liked it as a platform. Part of me always hoped Google would have picked up the pieces of Borland Delphi (based on Object Pascal) and ran with it.
christopher
Swift looks terrible. They started the conference hailing the 13-year-old developer in the audience, and while everyone in the security world grapples with the mistake of writing everything in "low-level" (read: overflow/buffer/etc impossible nightmares everywhere), Apple waste all our time by making yet-another low-level mistake language, complete with mandatory casting, unnecessary datatyping, bitlevel manipulations, and so forth. It's hard to understand, full of pointless extra work for no reason, still unnecessarily verbose, and puts us all back into the security context of 1980, again. We need FEWER languages, not more!
sgdeluxedoc
Flat? It looks atrocious. And goes against all Steve Jobs believed in for appearance. He would roll over in his grave - and worse is that it's Jony who introduced this....."Et Tu, Brutus" ? Then fall.. OSX"
Skywoolf
This is a huge step backwards for me I am living in a third world country where Internet speeds are very slow. I already have huge problems with an outdated OS and Apps that can't be updated because everything depends on having a good internet connection. The problems get worse all the time. And I can't just order a DVD like before. I recently had to reinstall the OS and the only one I have is on a USB stick. I installed the OS and eventually got all my data back but now I can't use iPhoto and other apps because I have a newer version than the OS so I can't access any of my 5,000 plus pictures until I find a way to get the same OS version I had before. It looks like Yosemite will be completely unusable for me and millions of others in a similar situation. That is if I can install it in the first place. Apple has become a computer and OS only for those with fast internet connections. The rest of have a lot of equipment that is rapidly becoming unusable.
Michaelangelo
Still think it is miles ahead of the nightmare of Windows8. My whole work place and the workplaces I deal with can not work with windows8 and all the hoops of fire we have to jump through to make things work and happen. We all had to pay and re-install every single workstation with Windows7 64bit. It was expensive yet.. we still all fight over using the MAC systems that are in place. Whine all you want about Apple, we (and there is a lot of We) still work better with Apple since the big boss started buying them. We have to use the PC's as well unfortunately till we make a complete switch over. As for security.. it's all hackable. Proven in the last competition held in Vegas. p.s Not sold on the look but the features are cool
Nicolas Zart
It makes sense for Apple to rationalize all their products into a coherent platform. I like the calling features from my computer, as well as the texting to non-Apple users. Makes me wonder what took them so long to pull it all together. I agree the flat look is atrocious, and beyond what Jobs had in mind. It actually hurts my eyes. I want smooth design, not flat reality. Still, instead of these pretty tricks and pulling its platform together, I wish they would tighten up the quality control on their MacBook Air and train their "geniuses" better. Apple's customer care isn't what it used to be, and I don't foresee continuing to buy their products or services until they shape up again.
CaptD
FLAT is probably required so that Apple can make it easier to shift into a pre-3D vertial world/workspace; then they can add the 3D back as they add their own software updates... This will also help their iPhone & iPad platforms sync with their vastly more powerful Apple laptops and desktop computers... + I hope they are getting away from the gray font that is hard for many user to read and enable important Apps. like Contacts to display fonts in several sizes instead of having to resort to zooming.
DonGateley
Ive's genius seems limited to 3D shapes. Flat (modern?) is pedestrian at best. Its promoters seem to want to put graphic designers out of work. Any child could design flat UI's and I surmise that that is the real intent behind it. Anything to get more apps developed. Flat is about marketing, not esthetics and anyone who can't see Job's priorities in that is missing the point.
HappyPhil
When I upgraded(?) to Mavericks it behaved so non-Apple, I replaced the hard drive in my MacBook Pro. I reinstalled Mountain Lion on a bigger, faster Hybrid HD and put the Mavericks contaminated one in a drawer. I guess I will dig out the toxic Mavericks hard drive, this Northern hemisphere Fall, and upgrade it to Yosemite. Afterward, I can always put it back in the drawer and happily return to using this superbly designed and elegant performing Apple product called OS-X Mountain Lion.
Justin Lawrence
Instead of going after Google, I'd like to see more focus on Yosemite becoming replacing Windows as the defacto OS. To me, Apple is a product and interface company, not a data and service company. "Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services" - Patrick Gibson (I think).