Tech giant Apple is out with the latest version of its desktop operating system and its mobile platform. Yosemite/OS 10.10 and iOS 8 were announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), being held this week in San Francisco.
The OS, which adopts a California landmark for its brand as did its predecessor Mavericks, adds a variety of new features, many of which continue melding the Mac OS with the company's mobile iOS.
There's an iCloud Drive, that enables any content or folders to be stored in Apple's cloud and automatically becomes available across Apple devices. In keeping with that kind of familial relationship among the company's products, a new feature called Handoff lets Macs and iOS devices recognize one another when they are in the same proximity, to make moving tasks between devices easier. This allows someone to begin composing a document on an iOS device and complete it on a Mac because it knows what that person has been working on.
A new capability that lets users visually mark up files, appropriately called Mark-Up, is being compared to Evernote's Skitch. A revised Notifications Center offers a quick view of updates from apps, calendar and even the weather, and there are also enhancements to Spotlight and Calendar. Apple Mail has also been upgraded, with a new feature for uploading attachments that are too large to send using e-mail to a Mail Drop, where recipients can download them via links.
Additionally, the Mac has now become what the company calls "phone savvy." If a mobile phone is in the vicinity of a user's computer, a caller ID for any incoming phone call or SMS text message is displayed on the computer, and the user can then answer the call or text message directly from his computer.
The new features for iOS 8 include the ability for users to respond to messages while they're working in apps, new search capabilities that bring up relevant Web pages automatically, and a new predictive typing tool for text messages.
Healthkit, Home Kit
There's also a new mobile app called Healthkit for capturing and analyzing health data assembled from various health apps already available on the company's mobile devices. An Apple executive told the assembled audience that Healthkit is intended to get a "single comprehensive picture" from data that is now living in silos. The new centralized health app has been created in conjunction with Nike and the Mayo Clinic.
As some have predicted, there is also a new Home Kit platform, intended to control electronics and other connected sections of a smart home.
Also at WWDC, the company previewed a new Photos app for OS X that it said has been built from scratch. Users can zoom into specific albums or zoom out to all albums over several years, and all photos or videos taken on either iOS or OS X devices are stored in their original format and resolution. The Photos app stores content in iCloud and the first 5GB of storage is free. Twenty GB will cost 99 cents monthly, while 200GB will be priced at $3.99 per month.