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Apple’s OS X Yosemite Available To The Public Today

With OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, Apple is blurring the lines between mobile and desktop.

Apple’s OS X Yosemite Available To The Public Today
[Photo: Apple]

Apple on Thursday publicly released its new Mac operating system Yosemite, which users can download for free.

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The Cupertino, California company first showed off OS X Yosemite in June at its Worldwide Developers Conference and has since released six public betas for early testers.

The new operating system follows the design aesthetic of iOS 8, complete with flatter icons and a redesigned dock. One of the major goals of OS X Yosemite is to blur the distinction between the two platforms and make them operate more seamlessly. Hailing the current line of Apple products as the company’s strongest to date, CEO Tim Cook said “they’ve been designed to work seamlessly together, and it is made possibly by the most advanced operating systems on the planet: iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.”

Continuity and Handoff will let users transfer documents and data between Apple devices. Users can also use iCloud Drive to transfer files among their iPhones, iPads, Macs, and–“if you’re having to work under extreme duress,” joked Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering–also on Windows computers. In addition, AirDrop can now facilitate file sharing between iPhones and Macs. FaceTime and Messages have been updated so users can place and receive calls as well as text messages, in addition to iMessages, on their computer.

Apple also added more robust functionality to its Notification Center, which can be customized with multiple columns, third-party widgets, and minute control over alerts. Spotlight, the search feature on Macs, has also been enhanced so it can search for files, applications, points of interests, songs, movies, and more. Once relegated to the corner of the screen, Spotlight is now front and center on the desktop when activated.

Safari received a major facelift as well, with a streamlined user interface that heavily relies on the address bar. In an attempt to undercut Google’s dominance, Federighi said the Spotlight will also suggest answers in Safari while users are typing in the bar. “Safari is also blazing fast,” he added, noting it renders JavaScript for typical websites six times faster than Chrome and Firefox. Improved efficiency will also prolong battery life by two hours on the 13-inch MacBook Air or by three hours while watching Netflix on the laptop.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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