It has been 12 long months since last year’s Apple developer’s conference. People have been speculating about iOS 8 and Mac OS X for a while now and finally the time arrived when Tim Cook took to the stage to inform everyone of Apple’s upcoming new mobile and desktop operating systems.
Cook opened by thanking the developers and reeled off some interesting numbers about first time attendees to the conference and gave a special shout-out to the student scholarship winners. In fact, the youngest developer at the conference was 13 years old! He continued by going into the adoption rates for Mac OS X Mavericks. After mocking Microsoft’s adoption rate for their latest operating system, Windows 8 (14%) compared to Mavericks adoption rate of 51%, Cook then went on to introduce Craig Federighi, who went straight into a few jokes regarding the naming of the latest version of the OS. After that Yosemite was announced.
OS X Yosemite
OS X Yosemite has a brand new interface with big enhancements and a stack of new features. The look of Yosemite is fresh, with new toolbars and new icons. The typography is consistent across the board in this new looking OS. The developer crowd was happy when Federighi announced a new ‘Dark” mode, where notifications are given in an unobtrusive, darkened manner. There were also some changes in the way notification centre operates with a more personalized view. Next up Federighi focussed on the new Spotlight search feature. Spotlight will be centralized in the middle of your screen and will have more searchable UI.
Mail is also given a new and elegant UI. One of the new features of Mail is a new technology called Mail drop. This can enable massive files up to 5gb in size, to be sent encrypted via email. Mark-up is a new annotating feature of Mail. This allows you to annotate anything in a mail document with ease.
Safari gets an overhaul as well. The new look Single-bar search and Spotlight suggestions can give you an Expose style look at your tabs. These tabs are also smooth scrolling and can be seen as stackable as well.
One of the most exiting new tools is Continuity. This new feature allows seamless integration between your iPhone, iPad and Mac. With the new Airdrop iOS/OSX integration there are going to be a lot of happy Apple users out there. The new technology being used to accomplish this is called Handoff. Basically it allows all of your devices to be aware of each other and therefore you can work between your devices with a greater ease.
Next up were the new features of iMessage. You can now send and receive telephone calls via your Mac. The feature is also integrated with Safari, so you will be able to directly dial a number from your iPhone, via your Mac desktop. Federighi smoothly demonstrated this by calling Dr Dre.
iOS 8 has been redefined with a new notification centre. The new features enable you to respond to messages from within apps. You can also use the double tap home button feature to get access to your favourite people now, as well as to open apps.
New Mail features include a great new way to edit while composing messages, also you can flag and mark as unread in a new swiping mode.
The new keyboard was announced next. With iOS 8 there will be a quick type keyboard, which supports numerous language features. Not only that, but it will now be even more personalised. It can now learn how you type and give intelligent suggestions based upon the message content and the responses given. With iMessage in iOS 8 you can show details about the people in the conversation and the attachments in the message. Also you add a do not disturb to threads.
One of the most anticipated features of iOS 8 is the HealthKit. This is a single place to monitor all your healthcare information. It will work with 3rd party apps and have a secure environment. Apple has been working with the Mayo clinic to develop this new feature.
Another new feature is Family Sharing. Now your Apple devices can be setup as a group and once they up and running, they can share calendars and photos and even music. Up to 6 family members who share the use of a credit card can use this feature for purchases. The parental control for this setup seems great; whenever a purchase is requested, the cardholder is notified to allow or deny the request.
We were also presented with new and affordable plans for iCloud; the first 5GB free, 20GB for $0.99 per month, $200 GB for 3.99 per month and further tiers available up to 1TB.
There was a whole lot more information for developers (new code language etc), but I have only skimmed the surface of the 2-hour Keynote presentation here. Finally, just to let you know, OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 will be available to public in fall.
As always, if you would like to leave a sensible comment, then please do so in the comments section below.
[Image via Macworld]