Among the announcements at WWDC 2014, the unveiling of OS X Yosemite probably made the most noise. The open beta version is available for free now, and we here take you through some of Yosemite’s key new features.
A week back, the third Developer Preview of Mac OS X Yosemite was seeded by Apple. Since the initial version was unveiled at the WWDC event, the latest Mac OS platform has been in the news – garnering plenty of applause from techies worldwide for its host of new, upgraded features. In what follows, we will do a round-up of the best features of OS X Yosemite:
- Near Networking option – The new platform will integrate iOS and Mac desktop systems more closely than ever before. Mobile handsets can be paired (and their functionality shared) with OS X Yosemite-powered systems, either via wi-fi or through Bluetooth. The seamless networking would enhance the usability of iPhone/iPad apps as well.
- Notification Center – Yes, it sort of looks like the side panel on that horror show called Windows Vista – but its utility is nothing to scoff at. You will get real-time app notifications, messages and other important data from it. The Today view in the notification center is yet another feature that makes Yosemite seem an extension of the iOS platform.
- More powerful Spotlight – Not a new Mac feature, but the developers at Apple Inc. have definitely given it a facelift. A vast range of stuff related to the topic being searched (ranging from Wiki articles and relevant links to even local place details) will be displayed via Spotlight – ensuring greater convenience to users. The inline preview option is cool, and reviews published on Yelp can also be viewed.
- Finally, a font change – That’s right, Lucia Grande will no longer be the default font on OS X Yosemite. Instead, we will see Helvetica Neue being used on the platform. Of course, those who use iOS 7-powered smartphones or tablets would already be familiar with the new font. Interestingly, this is the first ever font change since the launch of the initial OS X version.
- Continuity – iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite were the two biggest announcements at WWDC ‘14 (particularly since there was no mention of the iPhone 6 or iWatch). Software developers and experts from mobile app development companies have given their thumbs-up to the ‘Handoff’ feature, which would allow users to keep their mobiles and Mac systems in sync. In addition to being able to start a task on an iPhone and completing it on an iMac (and the other way round), you can take calls from the latter too – provided that it is paired with your mobile device.
- Flatter, translucent interface – Jonathan Ive and his team have given an interesting makeover to the interface of OS X Yosemite. Since the sidebar and the toolbars are translucent, users will be able to view the programs that are running under the active window. The two-dimension (2D) styled Dock is also geared for a richer Mac-experience. The overall design theme has a fairly close resemblance to that of iOS 7.
- iCloud accessibility – You will no longer need to provide your user-account credentials to log on to the iCloud network on the Mac OS. On Yosemite, you get the option of using a separate, unique iCloud password. In essence, this means that you can access iCloud from practically any device, anywhere.
- Mail Markup – Another lingering problem that Apple has addressed in Yosemite is the email setup on Mac systems. The all-new Markup feature would let people make sketches and draw doodles in their emails, put their signature on PDF documents, and organize other drawing options. In case you are sending heavy attachments (size in excess of 5 GB), recipients would get a download link – which would make the entire process faster.
- Airdrop – With OS X Yosemite, you can think beyond sharing files and folders between Mac systems and between iOS devices only. By activating Airdrop, you have the option of pairing your mobile device with desktop system(s), and transfer files seamlessly across them. In case you do not have wi-fi access at any place, all that you will have to do is activate the Instant Hotspot feature on your phone.
- iCloud Drive with cross-platform compatibility – It’s a welcome alternative to Dropbox – particularly since it is compatible with iOS 8 and even Windows. iCloud Drive will be a paid feature – and users can opt for the monthly-20GB or the monthly-200 GB option, depending on their data storage and sharing requirements. A note of disappointment for Android fans though – iCloud Drive won’t be supporting that platform.
- Energy saving – OS X 10.10 places greater emphasis on energy conservation than its predecessor, OS X Mavericks. Gone is the fluorescent bulb in the ‘System Preferences’ – and a small LED bulb has been included in its place. The new energy saver icon would let you derive a bit more juice from your Apple desktop.
- Setting the transparency level – Any experienced mobile app developer would tell you that Apple has not cared much for customization features till now. However, things are changing – and the option of personalizing system transparency on Yosemite is a classic example of that. From the Display tab under System Preferences, users can set the transparency level to what they are most comfortable working with. It’s your Mac, you get to decide how it would look like!
- Short Messaging Service support – Not only receiving calls on Mac, OS X Yosemite will have enhanced support for SMSes being sent to your iPhone as well. All messages can be synced real-time between iOS 8 and Yosemite systems. People will be able to send images and/or video clips with the messages sent via iMacs.
- Additional space-saving – One of the best things about Apple’s new desktop platform is that it cares about how your disk space is being used. For instance, the installer can detect whether you are a regular user of the Dashboard feature. If you are not, it would be automatically removed – to save unnecessary consumption of space.
Contrary to rumors, Siri – the digital voice assistant on iPhones – will not be making its debut on OS X Yosemite. Surveys among early testers have revealed that the new platform is about 4 times faster than OS X Mavericks. Yosemite will be commercially released this fall, and it should offer a superior Mac-experience to users than ever before.
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