Apple took the wraps off Mac OS X 10.10, dubbed "Yosemite", at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today. It will feature a new interface with elements of iOS 7's "flat" design and colour scheme, new interface, updates to iCloud and Mail, and extra features to sync iOS and Mac devices.
An Updated, Flat, Translucent Interface
Yosemite is full of cosmetic changes. The dock, system-wide typeface, native OS X app icons, windows, and more all borrow from iOS 7's flat design. Windows are either white or shaded black, and semi-translucent. If you enjoy iOS 7's approach to flat visual design, you'll like what you see in Yosemite.
A More Informative Notification Center
The new Notification Center also borrows from the iOS 7 notifications drop down, with a translucent black look with notifications organised over the top. You can also switch to an agenda-like day view, which shows you your appointments and reminders for the day. You can now extend Notification Center with an extra bar, so you can see both your agenda and your notifications at the same time. Notification Center also now supports widgets that bring additional information into the sidebar.
An Improved, Application-Launching Spotlight
Spotlight is both a search tool and an application and document launcher now. A key command brings up a large search bar in the centre of the screen you can use to navigate to files, open documents in preview, and launch applications quickly, without taking your hands off the keyboard.
A Cross-Platform Dropbox-Like iCloud Drive
iCloud Drive is a new feature in Yosemite that syncs documents, music, files, and other app data across OS X, iOS and Windows. Sound familiar? It works a lot like Dropbox, and Apple is clearly trying to get more people to use iCloud the way most of us use Dropbox now. Each app you use with iCloud Drive can sync and save information like open tabs and documents so you can pick up where you left off on another device.
A Faster, iCloud-Powered Mail
Mail in Yosemite borrows from the new user interface and offers speed improvements on the previous version, but also introduces a new service that automatically encrypts your message attachments, stores them in iCloud (up to 5GB), and adds a link to your outgoing message so your recipient can download them. Other Mail users will see those attachments in-line as normal, but people using webmail or other clients will get a link to download the attachment to their computer. Mail's new Markup feature allows you to annotate images and documents and do light editing before you send an image or attachment to someone else.
A Faster, Streamlined Safari
Continuity Makes Your Work, Text Messages And Phone Calls Available On All Devices
Apple introduced a number of features and updates to old services that make it easier to work across multiple devices, share documents and data across devices. You can work on your Mac then stop and pick up on your iPad or iPhone. For example, Airdrop now works between iOS and OS X.
Handoff is a new feature in Yosemite (and presumably coming to iOS) that prompts you to pick up your work on your iPhone or iPad, whether you're composing an email message or editing a document.
Instant Hotspot is a new feature that allows you to share your iPhone's internet connection easily with your Mac -- as soon as your device is in range, your phone will appear in the Wi-Fi menu and let you connect directly to it and share its internet connection.
iMessage now supports syncing SMS messages from other mobile OSes across all of your devices, and as long as your phone is in range, it will sync and can read all of your text messages on your Mac as well as on your phone and tablet. Similarly, the new iMessage will show you incoming calls on your Mac, act as a caller ID so you can decide whether you want to answer. If you do answer, you can take the call right on your Mac, and use it as a speakerphone that routes your call back through to your phone. The same works for outgoing calls as well -- you can select a phone number in Safari on your Mac, and select "call on iPhone" and place the call on your Mac or pick it up on your phone.
The Price: Free For All Users
OS X Yosemite is available to developers from today. A beta version will come out within the next three months, with the final version later this year. As with other recent Mac OS X updates, there won't be a charge.