Today at WWDC, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced the latest update to its desktop operating system, which is called Yosemite. Last year, we started seeing more integration between iOS and OS X through the launch of Mavericks. It is even more apparent with Yosemite. Craig Federighi demoed the operating system at the event and emphasized that the new operating system has a flatter look with a clear font type throughout each program. The Finder window menus are translucent to match the image backgrounds on the desktop.
The dock has been refreshed with a new set of flatter icons and a new trash can design. The new operating system also has a “dark mode” with dark grey toolbars if people are too sensitive to the brightness.
The Notification Center in Yosemite shows the full day’s schedule along with regular notifications from each app. Apple added tabs at the top to let users minimize the information. The are weather, stock, and calculator widgets in the Notification Center to quickly access those tools.
Spotlight is now put at the front and center. When you tap on the Spotlight icon, it will appear at the center of the screen just like the way Google does it on Android devices. This lets users quickly index and surface content, apps, and documents. If you search for certain subjects, it will show a rich snippet from Wikipedia that is related to those terms. The new Spotlight can show full contact information along with data related to that person like e-mails or meetings. Spotlight also supports movie times, restaurants nearby, and measurement conversions.
Spotlight has been added into the address bar of the new version of Safari to give users a one-stop place for searching local files and on the web. Sharing links through the new version Safari is as simple as clicking a couple of buttons. There is a one-click process for subscribing to RSS feeds and sharing bookmarks through the sidebar of the browser.
The AirDrop feature in Yosemite works with iOS so that iPhone owners can transfer files to the Mac and back. There is also a new program called Hand-Off, which can recognize work being done on iOS and can hand-off that task to the computer or vice-versa. This could include e-mail drafts. After an action is detected on iOS, Yosemite creates an icon on the desktop to remind the user to complete the task. The ability for the Mac computer and iPhone to detect each other also extends to setting up a tethered connection. The iPhone will appear in the WiFi dropdown menu.
One of the features I’m most excited about is the ability to make and receive calls from laptops. When your iPhone is connected, Yosemite will prompt users with notifications to answer or ignore incoming calls — audio and video. Craig tested this feature with new Apple employee Dr. Dre.
Yosemite is available as a download starting today for developers. The non-developer beta will be released later this summer. The full version for everyone will not be available until this fall. And there’s one more thing… it will be free.