Apple’s WWDC has been more software-focused over the last few years. For roughly half a decade, Apple used to use the event to show off the newest model of iPhone, which tended to soak up a lot of the WWDC press. Since the company shifted the iPhone refreshes to September, we’ve seen the focus return to iOS and OS X in recent years, which is arguably how it should be since it is a developer conference.
Today, Apple introduced us to the latest version of Mac OS X, the company’s desktop operation system. Codenamed Yosemite, this version brings with it a few key changes. The developer preview is already available and customers can join the OS X Beta Program to get a look at the new stuff (in exchange for providing Apple with feedback, obviously). Here’s what you can expect with OS X Yosemite:
First of all, Apple is giving Yosemite a fresh, new look with streamlined toolbars, translucent elements, cleaner, more consistent app icons, and an updated system font. While these cosmetic changes might not seem like much, the idea is that this new aesthetic will make the operating system clearer and more intuitive for users.
Today view in the Notification Center that gives you access to Calendar, Weather, Stocks, Reminders, World Clock and updates from your social networks in one place. Apple says you’ll also be able to customize with widgets from the Mac App Store.
iCloud Drive is an iCloud-based folder which is built into Finder and allows you to store any kind of file in iCloud. You drag and drop files into this new folder in Finder and they’ll be searchable via Spotlight. Not only that, but they’ll be accessible from Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Windows machines.
Mail is getting a few new and interesting tweaks and Messages, SMS and MMS will see some upgrades. too. A new feature called Markup allows you to fill out forms and annotate images any PDFs from within the Mail app itself, and Mail Drop lets you send files (including images and video) up to 5 GB in size. Meanwhile, Messages will allow you to name message threads, add people to existing conversations, leave conversations that are no longer relevant and send audio via Soundbites. A new feature called Handoff will take you from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad and back again by making SMS and MMS messages appear on your iPhone as well as in Messages on your other Apple devices.
Apple hasn’t forgotten about developers. During today’s conference, the company introduced devs to SpriteKit, which will help with the incorporation of realistic motion, physics and lighting into games, and integrates with SceneKit for 3D casual gaming. StoryBoards for Yosemite and Xcode 6 both utilize View Controller APIs in AppKit to help with the production of apps that navigate between multiple views of data. Devs interested in Handoff for their own apps or creating a Today widget will be able to do so thanks to a new set of APIs.