Nikhil SubramaniamJun 09, 2014 08:44:40 IST
The first big announcements from WWDC 2014 are just rolling in as the keynote continues. Apple began with desktop operating system, OS X. related announcements. OS X 10.10 will be called Yosemite and the follow-up to last year's Mavericks is a lot more like iOS than OS X has ever been before.
If Mavericks was clean, Yosemite is spotless. The translucent, glass-like UI looks great at first glance, with Apple touting the fluid look of its windows and the subtle changes in the colours and animation. The theme this around for Apple is continuity and that's one of the biggest changes in OS X and iOS today.
First let's get the small things out of the way. App icons have also changed to a newer flatter design, with the dock and windows of apps getting sharper corners, losing more of the OS X Mavericks look. There is a new, user-selectable "dark mode" that dims the entire interface for a less distracting work mode. The notifications centre has been cleaned up and Apple has added a Today view, which is also inspired from iOS. One of the biggest changes is in Spotlight, with the new version basically being Spotlight on steroids. Apple has integrated Wikipedia, Bing, iTunes for books, music etc, movie timings, top websites and a lot more within Spotlight, which sits front and centre on the desktop.
Taking on Google and Dropbox, Apple is launching iCloud Drive, which is a cloud-storage service. In a surprising move, the company has made iCloud Drive compatible with Windows too. iCloud Drive sits like a folder within Finder on all your devices.
For the Mail app, Apple has changed the design once again and now the app sports a much cleaner look, with no real flair. It does look very business-like. Apple is announcing a cloud-enabled MailDrop service, which lets you send large attachments over email. Apple creates a secure link which only the recipient can see and they can download the attachment, without users having to resort to third-party services.
Safari has also undergone a massive change and now sports a single bar up top, along with a redesigned tab navigation view. A lot of reliance on layers and depth, which looks kinda cool on the overall flat UI. Apple claims this version of Safari absolutely shatters all web-surfing records. Well asking people to shift browsers is like asking them to change their friends. It rarely happens, but Apple surely is giving it everything.
The biggest change is in how Apple is making its ecosystem seamless and in a way tightening its grip over users. Firstly, AirDrop now works between iOS and Mac, making it easier to share files nearby or in the same network. Secondly, there's Handoff. The concept is simple; just swipe your work from a Mac to an iPad and pick up where you left off. It's literally like palming work from one table to another. Thanks to location awareness, a Mac will understand when you are typing an email on your iPhone and prompt you to finish it off a proper keyboard.
The seamlessness goes further and beyond just things like continuing tasks. You can now basically use a Mac as your primary phone. Because you can answer calls, reply to messages, connect to hotspots for your phone. What's brilliant is that you don't need to have the phone in the same room, as long as it is in the Mac's range, you can perform all this. You can call a restaurant from their website while surfing on your Mac, without having to go to your phone. The call is still placed through your phone, but the convenience is incredible.
Yosemite is available for registered Apple developers today. Apple is opening up a limited public beta for the summer, before a fall release.
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