Mac OS X Yosemite is set to debut later this year with a flatter look and greater interaction with iOS
Mac OS X Yosemite will be launched as a free update later this year, bringing with it a new flatter design similar to that of iOS, while the operating system will also work closer with Apple’s mobile platform thanks a range of new connectivity features.
The new user interface replaces the familiar ‘aqua’ design featured in recent versions of OS X and includes consistent typography, new tool bars and icons and the use of translucent materials in sidebars so that windows take on the “personality” of a users’ desktop.
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, explained to the audience at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that the new look had been designed with an emphasis on clarity and usability while remaining “fundamentally still Mac.”
New flatter look
Sidebar apps such as iMessage, Facetime and Contacts have also been redesigned while a new dark mode is intended to help pro users avoid distractions. Other iOS-inspired features include new notifications and spotlight search, which searches through local and web-based content as well as frequently used applications.
Emails in the Mail application can be annotated, including images and PDF attachments making it ideal for e-signatures, while attachments can be stored in iCloud if the recipients’ mail server rejects large files.
Safari has been upgraded so that tool bars are included in the title bar, making more room for content. Favourites are stored in the address bar, which also produces spotlight results, while other additions include one click sharing, RSS subscriptions, improved tab scrolling, birds-eye tab view and private browsing windows that are separate to normal windows – although this has been present in other browsers for some time.
A key theme of Apple’s presentation was the interaction between OS X Yosemite and iOS. iCloud Drive allows users to share documents between Apple (and Windows) devices, while Airdrop now works between iOS and Mac.
Macs, iPhones and iPads can now become aware of each other’s’ presence and a new feature called Handoff allows users to continue working on the same document or email on different devices by swiping up when prompted.
This connection can also be used to automatically create a hotspot on the iPhone to make use of a cellular connection when Wi-Fi is available, while Macs can also be used to read SMS messages, pick up calls and even dial numbers themselves.
Federighi demonstrated the functionality by calling a “new Apple employee” – Dr Dre – who is now part of the company following the acquisition of Beats last week.
“It’s a wonderful new release,” crowed Apple CEO Tim Cook, who announced OS X Yosemite would be available immediately for developers, while members of the public can also receive early access by signing up to the OSX beta programme.
Cook will hope that OS X Yosemite enjoys similar success to its predecessor OS X Mavericks, which Apple says is now installed on 51 percent of all Macs after launching last year, while demand for Mac machines grew by 12 percent despite overall demand for PCs falling by five percent last year.
“This is the fastest adoption of any PC operating system in history,” he said, noting that Windows 8 is still only on 14 percent of Windows machines despite launching a year earlier. “Need I say more?”