We are rounding up WWDC on a platform wise basis, telling you which of our predictions (and rumours) came out to be true. So, this will be a three-part series: Mac OS X, iOS, Developers’ stuff.
Note: Hey guys, sorry I could not post as I had to be somewhere yesterday but here goes.
The day before yesterday morning (or night if you are on this side of the globe) Apple kicked off its WWDC 2014 event with its keynote.
Apple CEO Tim Cook started it off, proudly showing off the rapid adoption rate of OS X 10.9 Mavericks, 51%, which was released last year in October and compared it to Microsoft’s Desktop OS’s latest iteration, Windows 8 which had reached a measly 14%, even though it was released over a year ago in October 2012.
One of the key reasons behind Mavericks success was its non-existent price tag of FREE. Another reason being the highly touted performance upgrades on the software side.
After this little announcement, majority of keynote was presented by Apple SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi…
He started off by showing a couple of name suggestions that followed Apple’s switch in OS X naming strategy last year when it named its OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” after a surfing spot in California. This year’s OS X update 10.10 , though internally codenamed “Syrah,” was as per our prediction named “Yosemite” after the Yosemite National Park in California, US.
Just like last year’s update was all about Performance upgrades done under-the-hood, this year’s was about three main things: Interface, Apps and Continuity.
Again, just like the rumours and the screenshots leaked barely a few hours ahead of WWDC by Gizmodo, Apple’s new Mac OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” featured a much flatter and more translucent look which corresponded to the same change in design language which iOS underwent last year.
Craig also jokingly said “You don’t know how many hours we spent designing a trash can” referring to the new icon for Trash which is more inline with the current design aesthetics.
Apple also focused on “precise and consistent” fonts throughout the OS, eschewing their traditional Lucida Grande typeface in favor of a new sans-serif that appears to be a Helvetica variant. Yosemite also comes with a new “dark mode,” which turns the normally-light grey menu bars and dock to a darker grey.
Along with this, Apple has also updated the Notification Center in Yosemite, giving it a new look synonymous with its iOS counterpart. There’s also now a Today section in Notification Center for an at-a-glance look at what you have coming up in your Calendar, Reminders, and the Weather. It also lets you add widgets for weather, stock information, reminders, social networking and a world clock. Third parties will also be able to offer widgets through the Mac App Store. This also means that Apple might remove the Dashboard altogether in future iterations of Mac OS X, though it is present in the first Developer Preview of the Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite.
Next, Apple has brought in a major overhaul in Spotlight after its introduction in OS X 10.4 Tiger.
Spotlight could already do all of the stuff in the above picture and now it can do even more. It can do an instant unit conversion: type in dollars and it gives you euros, for example. It can now also access Maps and the iTunes Store. For example, you want to eat at a McDonald’s, you type it in and it shows you the preview besides the result or you search for a song and it shows a result in the iTunes Store. You can search the web or check for movie showtimes near you also! The additional information is displayed directly in Spotlight, allowing the user to get information without switching applications.
One of the biggest visual change in spotlight is that it is now at the front and centre, not in the top-right corner like it used to be till Mavericks.
Apple has also updated the Mail and Safari applications in OS X 10.10 Yosemite adding new features.
In Mail, Apple has added a feature named Markup which allows users to edit photos with, you guessed it, markup in Mail itself.
Another feature, which seems to be quite useful is Mail Drop. With Mail Drop you can bypass the restrictions set up on the size of attachments, allowing files of size up to 5GB to be sent via Mail. If the recipient is a Mac OS X Yosemite user, the process won’t even be visible to him but if he/she is not a Yosemite user, he/she will get a link to the on iCloud automatically, cutting out services like Dropbox and Box which used to act as middle men, until now.
In Safari Apple has applied the same design language and updated the web browser’s icon. Apple has shifted the Favourites bar up under the Address bar. So, when you click on the Address bar you get all of your Favourites right there (below).
Also new is a smart search field and the Sharing and Tabs buttons. Click on the Tab View button in the top-right corner of a window and all the open tabs will be displayed in an all new way. If you have multiple tabs open from a single site you will see those thumbnails stacked.
Safari has also got extended searching capabilities. Enter a search term in the smart search field and you will see both Google and Bing results, as well as results from Wikipedia, Maps, your news feed, and iTunes.
The new Safari also features a new Window-Only Private Browsing Mode which is very much similar to an Incognito Window in Google Chrome. This allows only the window and its tabs to be in Private Mode rather than all the open windows of the browser, which was the case in previous iterations of the software.
Also, Safari regains the ability to view RSS feeds, a feature which was taken away in Safari 7. The said feeds will appear in the Shared Links in the Side bar.
Continuity is a handful of features that aim to make it easier to work with, and switch between, all your Apple devices, Mac and iOS. Apple intends to make switching between your Mac and your iDevice as seamless as possible, so that you can use the best device for a particular task.
First of all AirDrop now works seamlessly between Mac and iOS, allowing files to be transferred from your iOS device to your Mac wirelessly. While AirDrop for iOS was released last year, it did not allow transfer of files from/to a Mac.
Apple has also introduced Handoff, a kind of tech which allows all of Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite and iOS 8 running devices to be self-aware of each other whenever they are in the vicinity of each other. They will be aware of the tasks being performed on each of the devices. For example, if you started writing an email on your iPhone, but then decided that it would be better to write it in Mail on your Mac, you can switch over to your Mac, click on the Mail icon in the Dock, and Mail will open up the message you were in the middle of composing.
Similarly, if you are viewing a webpage in Safari on your Mac, a Safari icon will appear in your iPad’s lock screen. Simply swipe it and the same webpage will open in iOS.
A few of these new Continuity features bring your iPhone even closer to your Mac. For example, when your iPhone is nearby and a call comes in, your Mac will not only alert you to the call, it will display caller-ID information and allow you to accept the call using the speakerphone on your Mac (or reject the call if necessary). You can even initiate phone calls on your iPhone from your Mac via Contacts, or if you click on a phone number on the web, or in an email. The same will also be doable with an iPad.
You’ll also be able to view and send SMS text messages via your Mac, along with iMessages. You will even be able to view messages sent by your “green bubble friends” (toting an Android smartphone).
Another Continuity feature is Instant Hotspots, whenever your iPhone is near your Mac or iPad, you can connect the Mac (or iPad) to the iPhone’s Cellular Network without any configuration on the iPhone’s side. On the Mac side, you have to just look into your WiFi settings. Your Mac will show your iPhone’s signal strength and battery life, and it will even disconnect from the network when you aren’t using it, so you won’t be needlessly eating up data and battery life on your device.
Apple has also launched iCloud Drive, a feature which allows all of your documents or files, of any format, to be viewed on any of your Apple devices. it basically is a means to replace Dropbox. Some documents associated with a particular app will be stored in app-specific folders, but everything will be visible. Any data in the iCloud folder will be synced and available on all your Macs, and on all your iOS devices, and you will be able to open the documents in your apps of choice.
Apple is even making iCloud Drive available for Windows.
Just like its predecessor, Mac OS X Yosemite will be available to download for free in Fall/ Autumn for FREE.
If you want to try it out in its beta form, without paying any money, you can sign up for the official Public Beta, here.