Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems have been inching closer to one another for some time—and with the introduction of OS X Yosemite, they’ve officially merged.
We’ve known OS X was due for visual overhaul since iOS 7’s bright, flat redesign, and now the OS X will match its more stylish mobile sibling. With a focus on “clarity and utility,” OS X Yosemite brings a long overdue visual refresh to Apple’s desktop operating system. In Yosemite, toolbars and windows blend into the wallpaper and open window background colors.
In OS X Yosemite, Notification Center will see major updates. Like iOS, OS X’s new Notification Center will feature a “today” view for realtime weather, calendar notifications, and a more modular system of click-and-drag widgets. Apps like Messages now feature useful translucent sidebars that run top to bottom.
Spotlight, Mac’s system-wide search tool, also gets a major, much-needed boost in OS X Yosemite. While it still lives in the upper-right corner of the desktop, selecting the iconic magnifying glass prompts a center-screen pop-up that indexed local apps and files as well as Wikipedia, the web at large and Apple’s suite of iCloud software including contacts and calendars.
Browser-side, OS X Yosemite updates Safari with WebGL for fast 3D graphics, along side other more obvious improvements like smooth scrolling through open tabs. Apple’s web browser continues to set the bar for battery efficiency compared to notorious energy hogs like Chrome, and with Yosemite Apple claims this trend will continue. Safari will integrate with OS X Yosemite’s reinvented version of Spotlight.
Beyond these major improvements, Airdrop now works between the Mac and iOS, allowing for instant file transfers from mobile to desktop—a feature that curiously wasn’t present from the get-go. Under the umbrella of a new system that Apple calls “continuity,” you can start composing an email on your iPhone and pick it up from where you left off as soon as you’re proximal to your Mac.
All told, with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Apple’s two software systems approach their dream of working seamlessly together—something Apple has historically struggled with.
Ready to opt into the developer preview of OS X Yosemite? You can sign up for the beta here through Apple’s new developer preview program as soon as the early version goes live.