Apple Mac OS X Yosemite Review and Report
If perhaps you found a phone call unexpectedly ringing on your MacBook, there’s no cause for worry. You haven’t been hacked. It’s merely Apple’s new operating systems, iOS 8 and Yosemite, at work.
With Yosemite and iOS 8, the two operating systems can work together, something Apple calls “Continuity.” Indeed, what Apple now offers is the best realization of what the telecoms industry calls “unified communications.” This term, which has been around since the mid-1990s, attempts to describe the convergence and full integration of instant messaging, presence, video conferencing, data sharing, and basic telephony.
Yosemite is still an upgrade or update of OS X and should be very familiar to users of Mavericks or Mountain Lion, but it brings with it some major design changes, new features, and tweaks that make using a Mac and especially using a Mac in conjunction with an iPhone and/or iPad an integrated and more productive experience.
The first thing users will notice about OS X Yosemite is the redesign of many of its core elements including app toolbars, the system-wide font, and the dock. Another interesting change is the addition of translucency (Apple calls this “vibrancy”) across various system elements, giving the user an inkling of what’s behind on the desktop. Put simply, the system pulls color information from whatever is in the background and adds the leaking color into title bars and controls.
The dock, thanks to vibrancy, will change colors but Apple has introduced a Dark Mode that changes the menu bar and dock background. The Dark Mode makes these elements darker, but it does not affect other translucent parts of the Yosemite interface such as Safari. However, it does make the pull-down menus from the menu bar dark as well.
It can be enabled via System Preferences/General by placing a check mark next to the “Use Dark Menu Bar and Dock” option. I turned it on and off multiple times during testing but finally decided to keep it off as it was too dark for my taste.
The new font, Helvetica Neue, previously Lucida Grande, is particularly suited to high-resolution (i.e. Retina) displays, providing improved legibility that should reduce eyestrain. Yosemite presents a crisper overall look, with Apple having moved away from flashiness to more conservative shapes with fine lines and fewer shadows. The traffic-light icons in the menu bar are an excellent example. In Yosemite, they are flat circles, more elegant and less flashy than in Mavericks.
There’s additional functionality there, too. Clicking on the green button opens any app (including the Finder) in full-screen mode, although it can be changed to the original maximize-window mode if desired.