OS X Yosemite and iOS 8

With the new OS updated due in the next month or two I thought it would be worth talking a little about them. There's some pretty cool stuff involved, and I'm more excited for these releases than I was for Mavericks and iOS 7. The majority of changes revolve around seamless integration of iOS and OS X, improving the way that files and workflows are shared between devices, and I have a few standout features that I'm looking forward to. I don't even have to split most of these points by OS, thanks to the feature parity this year's updates bring. These are really just my top things, and this list is far from an exhaustive review.

  • The OS X redesign: visually OS X is becoming much more like the iOS 7 redesign of last year. It's flatter, has a lot more white, and makes use of transparency to accentuate window panes and menus. I really love the look, and from a function and operation perspective most things behave the same as they always did.
  • Messages — A number of conversation management features are being added, which I think will be particularly usefull. I use iMessage a whole lot, and these improvements will be of particular benefit with multi-recipient conversations. Audio and media attachment features have also been improved and aesthetically media is more dominant in the conversation view which looks great.
  • iCloud Drive adds long awaited file system support to documents stored in the cloud. I don't think this will be a huge deal for me, the way documents have been handled historically has worked well enough, but it will be a huge improvement for documents that need to be accessed by different applications in your workflow.
  • Spotlight is significantly different, at least in appearance. It now occupies the centre of the screen (on OS X) and is a more graphical experience that pulls results from more sources and offers previews and details on results that would previously have just been a text list. It's very similar to popular app launchers, and is something I want to get into the habit of using more.
  • It will now be possible (on more recent hardware) to answer an incoming phone call to your iPhone using your Mac. This is essentially a wireless speakerphone deal, and I'm not sure it will be practical all the time. I think it's cool as hell and has definite utility, especially if you spend time at your mac through the day and have the privacy or a headset.
  • Air Drop is now cross platform, as the Mac version is updated to operate on huge same principles as the iOS version. This is awesome for passing files between machines and will eliminate a lot of self-emailing and thumb-drive usage. I've always thought that this feature was inspired since it first appeared on the Mac years ago — it's only now really come into it's own.


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