At their annual WWDC (Worldwide Developer’s Conference) presentation today, Apple unveiled both OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, updates to both of their flagship operating systems, along with a host of new capabilites for app developers. From a user’s perspective, the theme of the conference was continuity between Apple devices. Apple continues to lower the walls between iPhones, iPads, and Macs by allowing even more seamless interactions between them. Read on below for a quick overview of what this looks like, as well as other new features for both products.
The Newest OS X: Yosemite
Yosemite takes a cue from OS X Mavericks not only in maintaining the new California-themed naming convention, but also in that it will be available as a free upgrade this fall (and even earlier if you’re interested in participating in a beta program). Yosemite includes a number of cool new features, ranging from UI upgrades like transparent windows to a richer, standalone Spotlight app. And then there’s the new iCloud Drive that takes iCloud a bit closer to cloud syncing services like Box or Dropbox by allowing users to sync all manner of files across devices, including Windows computers.
More important, though, is the set of features Apple calls Continuity. Essentially, Apple wants seamless interaction between users’ iPhones, iPads, and Macs. One way they achieve this is through a feature called Handoff, which coordinates all of your devices to where they each know what you’re doing on one another. For example, if you’re working on an email on your iPhone, your Mac will notify you that a handoff is available, allowing you to click into the Mail app on your Mac—directly to the email you’ve already started—by just clicking the notification.
And, maybe most impressively, your Mac, when in proximity with your iPhone, will now show incoming calls and allow you to answer them from your computer’s speakers. This also means that you can now make calls directly from your Mac—even by clicking on a phone number listed on a website.
Apart from enabling devices to work in continuity with Macs, iOS 8 comes with a host of other new features. Notably, there’s the new Health app that compiles health metrics to create an overall fitness profile, as well as a number of updates to the Messages app. For instance, the new Quicktype feature goes beyond autocorrect by giving you options for next words based on context, recipient, and adaptations to your texting style. Furthermore, there are now more management features for group threads and new in-thread audio and video messages.
Next up, business users get something of an upgrade with iOS’s new Enterprise features. Of note here is the ability to pre-enroll iPhones with your business to come standard with the security controls you need. Plus, there’s also the ability to set security controls like password protection for all apps—including third-party apps—which will help business users maintain data security on the go.
And, finally, iOS 8 includes a set of new features called Family Sharing. Not only does iOS 8 allow sharing photos, calendars, and to-do list with family members, but it also enables families to share apps and iTunes media among up to 6 separate registered family users. And, for parents worried about younger making purchases in the App Store, users can set up notifications that require parents to give permission before a purchase is made.