Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite: Everything you need to know

Apple has revealed the latest version of its computer-based operating system named Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

Over 40 million copies of Mavericks have been installed since release - the most in Apple's history. That's over 50 per cent working on the latest operating system. This is the "fastest adoption of any PC OS in history", says Tim Cook.

Unlike previous jumps forward this OS isn't just about new software but a new design too. The plan is to make the computer-based OS more like the mobile-based iOS 7 redesign. iOS 7 was Jony Ive's first software build and saw the platform become much cleaner thanks to the company ditching the old skeuomorphic design. Now Apple aims to help the two platforms not only looks similar, but play nicer too.

Design

The new Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite has added some of the transparent and flat aesthetics of iOS 7.

The toolbars and dock have been refined with "translucent" looks. The side-bars are also translucent so the windows adapt to reflect the page. This allows users to see a hint of what's behind. Consistency was key with a type font the same throughout. Central focus has been added with Dark Mode allowing users to focus on the centre of the screen.

There's also a change to the app window controls. Close, minimise and full-screen is now the order of the day, making it much quicker to go full-screen, without having to dig out the option in a separate menu.

Spotlight

The Spotlight search bar now sits right in the middle of the screen for access to apps and documents with in-line previews. This even pulls in data from the internet too, making it a one-stop-shop for local and online searches, making for a fast more dynamic experience.

Typing in a person's name will pull up all details to do with them like calendar plans you have with them, emails and even maps - at a glance.

Much of this information has been accessible in Spotlight in previous versions, however, Apple is now bubbling it up to the surface, rather than inviting you to click on a contact, for example.

AirDrop

In the move to make mobile and desktop machines more closely linked, Apple has enhanced the AirDrop functionality in OS X.

Currently Macs can share files wirelessly, but can't share with iOS devices. This has now been updated so send a snap from an iPhone to a laptop is easy using direct Wi-Fi.

Continuity and Handoff

Apple wants to make the PC and mobile work closer, with more continuity. A new suite of options make that happen, making your iPhone a bigger part of your desktop experience. Now if a user is writing an email on an iPhone the Mac will recognise them near and allow them to carry on with the email on the computer.

Messages from mobiles now appear on other devices, so even SMS messages will be on your computer. 

Users can even make and take phone calls from their Mac. This will allow users to use the Mac as a speakerphone and will even work if the iPhone is in another room on charge. A great part of this is the ability to make calls directly from a number found on a website.

While searching a site on the desktop a user can move to an iPad and swipe straight up into Safari and continue right there on that site. 

Notification Centre

The Notification Centre in OS X Yosemite now has more options open to it, enhancing that of Mavericks. Not only will you get notifications, but there's a Today view that will give you access to new information.

The Today view gives you calendar and weather, stocks, clock and reminders.

Widgets can be dragged in and out of the feed, meaning it will be faster to get to desktop widgets like weather. This will be available to any apps that use widgets, so you can have your sports news inlcuded from ESPN Sports Center for example.

iCloud Drive

Apple is taking on the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft's OneDrive - with iCloud Drive.

The new iCloud Drive will automatically sync stored files across all Mac devices at once. That means users can dip in and out of files, for example, from multiple devices. Unlike some of the limitations of iCloud previously, this space will let you save any type of file.

This feature will also be available on Windows devices and you'll be able to access those from your iOS devices too.

Apple said that you'll have 5GB of space that's free, with 20GB costing from $0.99 a month, or 200GB for $3.99 a month with tiers up to 1TB.

Better still, iCloud will now be integrated into Finder, so you can browse your cloud files.

Safari

The Safari browser has been updated with a more streamline design. Favourites is a new view that lets users quickly access websites while Tabs is a view for displaying thumbnails of all open web pages in one window. There's also a separate Private Browsing mode for secret searches and browsing.

Safari also supports the latest WebGL, SPDY, HMTL5 and even has the Netflix codecs built-in so it can save battery life by up to two hours of HD video streaming, claims Apple.

Apple says Safari is powered by Nitro JavaScript making it six times faster than Firefox and over five times faster than Chrome.

Searching in Safari is getting better too, with more options being delivered when you start typing in the navigation bar, including bookmarks and favourites.

Photos

Apple demoed a new photo app that's slated for release in 2015, rather than at the Yosemite launch in autumn/fall 2014.

Tying in with changes that are coming to photo handling in iOS, the new desktop Photos app will give you plenty of options. You'll get sliders to quickly make changes to your photos, with the app cleverly identifying the areas that need improving. 

The aim - across the Apple ecosystem and in collaboration with a new approach to iCloud - is to give you better access to your photos from any of your devices, with changes made to enhance your photos in the desktop app being reflected in that photo when you access it on another device.

Mail

There are a number of changes coming to the mail app, with Apple looking to make it easier to do things. There's a new feature called Mail Drop that will get around the problem of not being able to send larger attachments, supporting up to 5GB, so if the person you're sending the attachment to can't receive it, they'll still be able to access that file.

There's also a Markup feature that lets you do some really clever things. Apple used signing an email as an example, saying you'll be able to use your iSight camera or trackpad to interact with Markup. You'll also be able to annotate images using Markup, for example drawing arrows. Your freehand sketches will be recognised and transformed into more elegant shapes, where appropriate. 

Availability

Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite is available from today for developers and will arrive for everyone else in the autumn. For those that can't wait that long there will be a beta programme open to the public.



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