Apple’s newest release of OS X, their Mac operating system, has been available to the public for a few days now. I’ve been using it since that release, having held off on using the public beta and developer releases that were released back in the summer. Here’s what I think.
I’ve only been a Mac user for four years – despite this relatively short space of time, Yosemite is the fifth major OS that my 2010 iMac has run. As those updates have come through, I’ve been increasingly impressed by Apple’s continuous innovation; updates generally bring a collection of minor improvements and refinement, as well as a few ‘big’ features that make every update feel satisfactory. The fact that the price of updates has gone from about £20 in 2011 to free in 2013 and 2014 is just a bonus. But OS X Yosemite is the biggest update to OS X since OS X Leopard was released back in 2007, and now is even more integrated with Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS.
The most obvious change in OS X Yosemite is the new design. While the OS maintains its core structure, it has been revamped with new icons, fonts and animations. To me, Yosemite’s new user interface is smooth and sleek, and is just what the Mac needed to get a fresh breath of life.
Core applications have been updated graphically, and now look almost identical to their iOS counterparts. This is no bad thing – OS X Yosemite retains the powerful capabilities that make the pro-users happy, but now makes the process of computing an even-more pleasant, simple experience for those casual users out there.
I’ve been testing OS X Yosemite on my 2010 iMac. It’s getting on in age now, and I was worried that the new graphics would slow down my machine; thankfully, my iMac’s performance has improved marginally – everything seems to be a bit snappier. This is really a testament to Apple’s determination to support older hardware – in fact, OS X Yosemite can, impressively, run on all iMac models that have been released since 2007.
With OS X Yosemite comes iCloud Drive – Apple’s better-late-than-never answer to Dropbox and Google Drive. iCloud Drive is a welcome addition to the online cloud service, making it a more usable alternative to Google Drive and its online office suite.
Notification Centre is now more useful, with the addition of widgets (much like in iOS 8). Third-party developers are also able to release such widgets.
The new Spotlight Search is a much more powerful tool, with the ability to search the web straight from it. Previously, Spotlight could only be used to search local files stored on your computer.
Continuity is one of the biggest aspects of OS X Yosemite. You can now take and make iPhone calls and send and receive SMS messages using your Mac. There is also Instant Hotspot, which makes it quicker and easier to share your iPhone or iPad’s 3G/4G internet connection with your computer. Handoff allows you to start a document on your Mac, and go over and finish it on your iPad – what’s particularly special about this is that your Mac will know that you’ve been writing a document in Pages on your iPad or iPhone, and will prompt you to finish it when you go back to it.
OS X Yosemite is a very nice update to Apple’s formidable desktop operating system. The new features are genuinely-useful additions, and the new user interface is a welcome visual change. There is nothing to complain about, and plenty to be happy about, not least the price – free!