APPLE HAS LAUNCHED its latest Mac OS X Yosemite operating system, which brings the user interface closer to the flat look and feel of its iOS mobile platform, and also offers closer integration between the firm’s desktop and mobile products.
Mac OS X Yosemite has the similar translucent design of iOS, so the desktop takes on the look of the background images, and adds a translucent sidebar and dock. App icons have also lost their 3D look and feel, following the look of iOS 7, while Apple has added a 'dark mode' to let users minimise the translucent effect and go for a darker colour palette.
Notification Center offers a Today mode, again following the iOS product, giving an overview of apps like Calendar, Weather, social networks or other custom apps users choose to add.
Apple has also updated the search feature. The search bar now appears in the middle of the screen, and when users start typing a few characters, for 'cal', they can launch the Calendar app quickly straight from the search bar.
The Mail client in Yosemite also has an "elegant new UI", according to Apple, and supports fast switching between mailboxes and quick fetching of new mail.
A new Mail Drop features mimics services like Dropbox, letting users send large files of up to 5GB in size via the Apple iCloud. Users can download these encrypted files securely from the cloud, rather than from sender's server.
Markup is a handy looking addition that lets you edit an image via the Mail client. You can use your Mac trackpad to draw an arrow onto an image, for example, and add a comment onto the picture directly from the email client rather than having to use image-editing software.
Apple has also improved integration between its different devices via iCloud Drive. If a user has been working on a document on their Macbook, for example, and then switches to an iPad, they will see a small prompt in the bottom corner of the iPad screen with the document icon. They can then swipe up on that icon from the iPad screen and can carry on working on that file.
The Continuity improvements also let you integrate messages across devices, so if users receive a message from a non-iPhone user, it will now appear in the Messages Mac client. This has also been extended to phone calls. If a user receives a phone call on their iPhone, the caller ID will appear on their Mac and they can receive that call on their desktop rather than mobile.
Safari now offers a Favorites view to access users’ most popular websites, and a Tabs view, which shows a birds eye view of all open webpages stacked up in one window. For those concerned about privacy, there is built-in support for DuckDuckGo, a search engine that does not track users. Apple also demoed how users can smoothly scroll through tabs in Safari rather than jumping from one to another.
Apple said that the developer preview of Yosemite is available to Mac Developer Program members now. An OS X Beta Program gives customers early access to Yosemite to submit their feedback from this summer. The final version will be available for free from the Mac App Store in autumn. µ