Today Apple announced new versions of their two operating systems OS X for Mac and iOS for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Of course, you probably already know that both of these systems run the time-tested UNIX operating system under their hoods, so at some level, these operating systems are the same.
The new systems will be released in the fall, but they were announced today at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) so that developers have a chance to write or modify their apps to work with these new systems.
Here are the highlights from my perspective:
OS X Yosemite (OS 10.10). After 10.8 Apple changed from naming OSs after large cats to great places in California. Of course 10.9 was named Mavericks after the famous surfing beach.
Yosemite gets a lot of the look and feel of iOS 7 which most of us have on our iPhones and iPads (89% of us, according to Apple - an amazingly high figure). There was a lot of fanfare around the new look and feel, but I was bored, waiting for the “meat”.
Apple is releasing iCloud Drive this fall. It will sync your files between your devices much like Dropbox does, only it is built into your Apple devices. Also, they are re-thinking iCloud Photos (aka Photo Stream) to make it more of a permanent place to store your photos in the cloud so they are accessible from all your devices.
Speaking of photos, it was announced that iPhoto will be going away, replaced by a new Photos app in the spring of 2015. It is a total re-do on the iPhoto architecture. Not much detail was revealed other than some amazing Mac assisted editing of photos.
The big news for me, and at the heart of Apple’s value since they have been in business, is integration. They announce two major ways in which OS X and iOS will be integrated:
- Handoff - you can work on something on your iPhone, like and email, then seamlessly transfer that work to your Mac and finish the email on your Mac. Same goes for surfing with Safari and other apps.
- With your iPhone connected to the same wifi network as your Mac (like at home on your home wireless network), even with your phone in the other room, your Mac can:
- Receive and send SMS texts (from non-Apple users).
- Answer and make phone calls from your Mac! How cool is that?
Mail - with promises of reliability improvements, it also adds virtually limitless attachment sizes and number of items, to anyone on any email service. Also, you can annotate photos and pdfs right in Mail to mark-up attachments (yours or ones sent to you).
Safari - very cool new approach to searches, tabs and history of browsing.
Read more about Yosemite here: http://www.apple.com/osx/preview/
iOS 8 (no fancy names here)
This is really just a set of enhancements to iOS 7, which was a huge re-make, especially visually. There are a few cool highlights, though:
- You can reply or respond to texts, invitations and emails from the notifications, even in the lock screen.
- Your favorite people are listed along with apps in the App Switcher (double clicking the home button).
- You can also SMS text and make/receive phone calls on your iPad (with an iPhone on the same wifi network, of course).
- Huge enhancements to typing - suggesting words based on what you have written so far, the context of the text/email, etc. Amazing.
- Unreal photo editing - with powerful photo analysis, anyone can make their photos better!
- Health - pull all of your health apps data together in one place (blood pressure, sleep, exercise, etc).
- Home automation - control pretty much everything about your home with your iOS device (lock doors, set alarm, open/close garage, lights, thermostat…) Works with existing home automation from many vendors.
The big one in iOS 8 for me is that they are opening up Touch ID (fingerprint recognition), manual camera controls (focus, exposure and white balance) and Siri to app developers. This may mean that your days of typing passwords on your tiny iPhone keyboard are gone - just swipe your fingerprint for authentication!
I am sure there are more features, I did not mention all of them. There was no new hardware announced, which was a disappointment.
Read more about iOS 8 here: http://www.apple.com/ios/ios8/
People often ask me what makes Apple so great and my standard answer is “integration”; they just make everything work well together and make it easy. They just took integration to the next level. Their competitors can only dream of this stuff.