Hands on with Apple's OS X 10.10 'Yosemite' (pictures)

Summary:ZDNet takes OS X 10.10 'Yosemite', Apple's latest desktop and laptop operating system, for a test drive to show you what's new and improved.

Meet Apple's latest desktop operating system: OS X 10.10 "Yosemite."

Unveiled for the first time on Monday at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California, Apple revealed a number of changes to its desktop platform  — many of which are aesthetic, while others are more functional.

Apple executive Craig Federighi, who heads up the company's software engineering helm, outlined some of the new features, including an improved Notification Center, user interface tweaks and translucency effects, and a redesigned dock.

In many ways, the user experience is now akin to its iOS counterpart, with much of the functionality brought into iOS 8 , and its immediate predecessor iOS 7, into the desktop version for Macs, MacBooks, and iMacs. 

ZDNet explored some of the new features and functionality, and gave it a test-drive following the announcement.

While some of the features highlighted during the keynote are not yet available — with more expected to land in the coming weeks and months before its September-October launch date — we cherry-picked the best features and show you how they work.

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<strong>Welcome to your new Mac — the new user interface.</strong> Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive

The new user interface draws in many similarities from its iOS 7 and iOS 8 counterpart with the translucency and flat design. Although many of the icons remain layered and three-dimensional, these are expected to change in coming updates.

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<strong>The new flatter, iOS 8-inspired dock</strong> Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive

The dock has also been redesigned as flatter, keeping in line with the bottom dock of iOS 7 and iOS 8, which is square with no rounded corners, but keeps the magnification as with the previous version. Some of the icons have also been flattened, which isn't surprising considering Apple design chief Jony Ive has his hands in both the mobile and desktop pies.

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<strong>Wider, rounder font throughout the system</strong> Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive

The fonts in OS X 10.10 have changed, offering a wider, rounder font than previous iterations of the desktop operating system. On a Retina display, these fonts are extremely smooth and pleasant to view.

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<strong>Translucent effects in the Finder window</strong> Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive

You can see from the translucent blending in the sidebar where the wallpaper begins to seep through. This is replicated across the entire operating system, including in other apps, such as Messages and Spotlight Search.

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Hardware

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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