APPLE TOOK THE WRAPS OFF the next iteration of its Mac OS X operating system on Monday, dubbed Yosemite, and is now looking for Mac users to try out the beta version.
Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite will ship this autumn, but a select group of users - well, a million of them anyway - will get to download it much sooner than that and offer their feedback to Apple.
"The OS X Beta [Programme] lets you take part in shaping it by test-driving pre-release versions and letting us know what you think," Apple noted. "Your comments will help us make OS X better for all Mac users."
This is a privilege normally restricted to the Apple developer community, so Apple must really want to keep its desktop and laptop users on side, or just encourage them to upgrade to the latest version early. During Monday's WWDC keynote, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that of the 80 million Macs shipped, the current Mavericks release is running on 40 million of them, making it the biggest OS in Apple history. This compares to only 14 percent of Windows machines running the latest version, Cook said.
The Apple chief was also keen to share the news that while PC sales are down by five percent, Mac sales are up by 12 percent.
Apple did not reveal when the Yosemite pre-release will be available to download, saying only "the beta software will be available for you to install soon".
To get one of the million free pre-release copies, you just need to sign up using your Apple ID. Once the software is ready, Apple will send out a code to install the beta from the Mac App Store. However, you'll need to be running Mavericks to take part in the Yosemite testing, which you can also grab free from the App Store.
But don't expect to test out all the new, and some of the more exciting features, once you get hold of your Yosemite beta. Apple advised that phone calls, SMS, Handoff, Instant Hotspot and iCloud Drive won't be available, while Spotlight suggestions will only work in the US.
The firm also gave a disclaimer against any glitches. "We recommend installing OS X Yosemite Beta on a secondary Mac, since it may contain errors or inaccuracies. Please be sure to back up your Mac using Time Machine before you install the beta," Apple said.
Mac OS X Yosemite brings the user interface closer to the 'flat' look and feel of Apple's iOS mobile platform, and offers better integration between the firm's desktop and mobile products.
Key additions are a translucent sidebar and dock, a new Mail Drop mimicking services like Dropbox, the ability to work on documents and files across Mac and iOS devices, and Markup, which lets you edit an image via the Mail client. µ