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WWDC 2014 - OS X

June 4, 2014 - Dave Hecei

Monday has come and gone and so has this year's WWDC keynote event. Held every year around this time, WWDC is where Apple celebrates the people and industry that creates the software and hardware for Apple products. This year the show was very developer oriented, but there were lots of previews of the next OS X and iOS.

For any developer, you can probably go back to work. For the Apple consumer, here's a quick overview of what Apple is up to.

Later this year, sometime in the fall, Apple will release the eleventh version of OS X, the Macintosh operating system. They will also release iOS 8 around the same time - likely when the next iPhone and iPad is released.

The next OS X, 10.10, will be called Yosemite. Starting with version 10.9, called Mavericks, Apple had dropped the 'big cats' naming scheme in favor of beautiful California locations. This release looks to be fairly impressive with plenty of new features and a whole new look. While this release is not the 'iOS'-ification of the Mac, the user interface (UI) has been changed with a new look inspired by iOS.

OS X Yosemite brings several new 'Appleism'. One of them is something they call Continuity. Essentially, it is the ability to have your Macs, iPhones, and iPad (all running the new operating systems) share and interact in ways we've only dreamed of. One of the more impresive features is the ability to answer your iPhone, which supposedly is way over on the other side of the room, using your Mac or iPad.

Along with answering calls, you will also be able to make a call on these devices working through your iPhone. This feature will be part of Yosemite in that you just highlight a phone number, say in your email or on a web page, and it gives you a place to click to dial that number. It was a very cool demo - and of course they did it by calling Dr. Dre, one of Apple's newest employee.

One updated feature that impressed me was the new Spotlight. This is Apple's built in search tool. The new Spotlight will find things on your Mac but also stuff on the web along with several other suggestions that can include music and video from Apple.

The Notification Center is also much improved. Here you can flip out a list of things you need to know about for the day or upcoming events. The big thing about the new Notification Center is the ability to add Widgets to it. Having certain Widgets here makes more sense than having them all piled up in the Dashboard. I'll have to wait and try this feature out, but I think I will use it regularly.

The other big thing that will help me out is the new Mail Drop. With Mail Drop you will be able to send a huge file to practically anyone and have it actually work. Apple handles the problem of email size limitations by sending the huge attachment to a special cloud server and then sending the email body along to the recipient. If they are running OS X Yosemite, they won't even know anything has happened. Other users will get the email with a link in it to allow them to easily download the attachment and save it to their PC. This is quite an elegant solution - I hope it works out of the box.

Apple says they will have a public beta of OS X Yosemite soon, but sign up now, it will be limited. If you use your Mac for important work, I'd steer clear of any Beta OS release. If you are the type who likes to tinker and experiment, then have at it.

Check out all the other new features and improvements in OS X Yosemite by going to the Apple web site. As with the last OS X versions, OS X 10.10 Yosemite will be available on the Mac App Store this fall. Price is free.


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