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Tim Cook went back shortly on Mavericks and pointed out that to date, 40M copies of OS X Mavericks were installed to date, which represent a 51% user adoption for Apple. Tim Cook was quick to show a chart that shows Windows 8 adoption rate to be at a paltry 14%.

But rapidly, the presentation went to the real interesting bit: Mac OS X Yosemite was introduced by Apple, and new user-interface elements were presented. Among them, the user interface becomes more translucent which makes them blend with the background image. This change affects nearly all System menus, which will show a subtle translucent and blurred version of the background.

User Interface and Search

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A Dark Mode has been introduced to make the menus less distracting for professionals, especially those who work in the imaging industry. This one was received with a good round of applause.

The Notification bar has had some updates as well: it gets more data than before and can now be extended to about 30% of the screen to show a large view of the calendar. All widgets in the notification bar are interactive, and I sure could use a few of them like the Calendar and Calculator just to name a few. It is also possible to add 3rd party widgets, in case there is a cool service you use often.

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Spotlight’s search bar now comes front and center in the middle of the screen. Mac OS X now uses a unified search where local machine and Internet results are blended into a single view. It is possible to launch an app from Spotlight, which is faster than finding the icon sometime.

When searching for Contacts, Spotlight now displays a lot of contextual information, like calendar events associated with that particular person. Spotlight can also do little things like unit conversions etc. In some ways, it does a lot of what we would do with Google Search today. Restaurants and mapping are also part of what Spotlight can search, and it is clear that Apple will add more options over time.

Apple Mail and Safari

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gets better at sending attachments, thanks to Maildrop, which is basically an upload service to iCloud which replaces the in-mail attachment system. This has been used competitors for a while, but it’s a welcome addition to Apple Mail, no question about this. It is now easy to include things like a signature, directly from the email as well.

Apple also showed how easy it is to edit images and add comments in an email. This is great for adding notes etc. Markup is an OS feature that recognizes hand-drawn shapes, and makes them pretty. This is pretty cool because the 3rd party apps that do this aren’t so good at it, and they are often paid programs.

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The Safari web browser gets more sharing options, and keeps track of who you’re sharing with the most. Performance has been improved as well, with speedups in WebGL, SPDY protocol support, and a short list of other new features. More importantly, Apple claims that Safari extends its lead over other browsers in terms of power-efficiency. It also says that the Javascript performance is 1.25X to 6.5X superior to competitors.

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Safari now provides snippets of information from Wikipedia and other sources. It’s interesting to see how Apple has integrated that information at the OS-level, which is what Google has been doing in their top page snippets. From there, you can head directly to Wikipedia, instead of doing one stop on Google.com — This will have a small impact on Google’s traffic, but if Microsoft and others start doing this, that could become significant. That is exactly why Google built Android.

Placing a call from Safari has never been easier, and you can do it with your own number, without requiring additional plug-ins or VOIP software. I would not be surprised if Android/Chrome gets something like this in the near future.

Next-Gen Mobile Devices Integration

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Mac OS X Yosemite is also better integrated with mobile devices. Apple calls this the Continuity Feature and to do that, Airdrop now works between IOS and Mac OS X. It couldn’t’ come one minute too early because this is what a lot of users have been hoping for. This is a genuinely welcome addition to the OS X feature set.

What’s even better is that the Mac can now sense what you are doing on your phone when the two are in close proximity. For example, the Mac can setup a hotspot with the iPhone automatically, or it can allow you to finish an iPhone email on your Mac.

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Messages and Phone call will be sent and received in real-time. If you get a phone call, the mac will show the call, and you can accept/reject it. It is even possible to use the Mac as a speaker phone right there. The iPhone has basically become a communication accessory for the Mac – this is handy!

IOS devices will be aware of what pages you were reading on the Mac, and you can re-open those tabs with a single swipe.

Conclusion

apple-wwdc-2014__202While not introducing “revolutionary” features, the next revision of the Mac OS X brings good user interface improvements and excellent communication features. Since it is free, it is fair to say that OS X Yosemite should enjoy the same level of adoption as Mavericks did.

Mac OS X Yosemite will be released “in the fall” (for free, of course), but there is going to be a public beta program on apple.com/osx/preview/ which is great for power users since they won’t have to ask one of their developer friends or use some hacks to get it installed.

Filed in Apple >Breaking..

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