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

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.

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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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Welcome to your new Mac — the new user interface. (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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The new flatter, iOS 8-inspired dock (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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Wider, rounder font throughout the system (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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Translucent effects in the Finder window (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

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15 comments
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  • OS X 10.10 marks a significant turning point for the platform....

    To begin with I can only think Apple at the WWDC must have displayed a different build of OS X 10.10 because in the Developer Preview release there is no 'Dark Mode' option which was demonstrated in the presentation and some of the icons remain unchanged like iTunes which was shown to be a flat red. Perhaps these will appear in the Developer Preview 2 update.

    The new style Dock is smart and with its transparency oozes quality for want of a better description and somewhat strangely is not unlike the old OS X 10.4 Tiger Dock. I fired up a Tiger virtual machine on VMWare Fusion and did a comparison and there are definitely similarities.

    Integration with iOS started with OS X 10.7 Lion and it would seem as though this process is complete. For the OS X purists OS X 10.10 will no doubt be controversial not only for the iOS integration but also the radical change in appearance. Having said that Apple has had plenty of critics for not refreshing the appearance from as far back as OS X 10.5 Leopard so it will most likely be welcomed by many.

    The most crucial thing it is essentially the same OS X underneath all the visible changes. I am currently typing this on OS X 10.10 installed on a separate partition from my 2012 iMac. Overall I am impressed. Desperately need the the Dark Mode option as its just too bright.

    OS X 10.10 has an awful long way to go until its release therefore its far to soon to pass any sort of judgement.
    5735guy
    • Dock

      that was the first thing I though when I saw the images, the dock screamed Tiger at me...

      Retro is in, again.
      wright_is
  • Yup, the dock looks a lot like the pre-Leopard dock

    I've gotten rather fond of the old 3D tray.... going to miss that!
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • Only used by iFools who don't understand computing.

    The rest of the world don't care.
    Owl:Net
    • For sure

      Yes, only iFools use a certified Unix OS like OS X. He-men use Windows.
      deasys
    • WTF has this got to do with Windows ????

      .
      5735guy
      • windows?

        So many windows guys reading about osX...why is that? And then making some guy of immature comment. I am grateful for windows as this lowered the price of macs overall over time. I am respectful of windows because of the wide implementations in business. Conversely, all you Windows guys should be thankful for osX because it created competition in the computer universe. With competition, everyone wins. No competition, think of what Russia used to put out for cars..... the Lada.....yuck.
        I got one more.... Apple could make a computer that gives BJ's....but some would complain that the lips were too big.......
        osXCanada
  • So the big improvements

    Are a new Font, new design on buttons and notifications. Yup pretty impressive.
    schultzycom
    • Also

      forgot you can connect to your iPhone and use it like a hot spot. WOW revolutionary.
      schultzycom
      • Also

        making and taking calls / SMS from your computer using your phone as a bridge over wifi. Annotating images in email. Background syncing of documents between different computers (fantastic for those of us who alternate work between a desktop and a laptop), attachment markup within mail, voice messages in iMessage, group messaging without having to start a chatroom.

        And it's a no-cost upgrade. Really no downside to this. But, then, again, Apple could build a direct-neural interface, and folks like you would complain that it was a wired connection or that it was just a cheap ripoff of Google Glass.
        baggins_z
    • too small

      What they need is a way to scale fonts system-wide. On high resolution screens, the fonts on Safari, and Chrome browsers are way too tiny. It is like micro-sized! Some the tweaks to the OS look impressive -- nothing to make a load of hoopla about.
      mytake4this
    • No

      No, those aren't the big improvements, schultzycom.

      Watch the keynote to get a better idea.
      deasys
  • iOS inspired Dock?

    Looks more like the Dock from Tiger...
    wright_is
  • the wait

    lots of cool improvements. Can’t wait for it to drop this fall.
    jyudzevich
  • Personal Hotspot

    Previously this feature was controlled by the carrier and would work with any Wi-Fi connectable device, not just a Mac so I'm curious to see how it will work come Sept.
    MajorlyCool