Will Apple’s OS X Yosemite Spotlight Search be used by the masses? Will dark mode be the default go-to look and feel? Will Continuity be a must users simply won’t be able to live without? Like test driving a car, once purchased, the owners continued long term use reveals the gimmicky sales tools versus what features are truly useful. In many respects new OS releases are much the same. Widgets once seemed like a great default tool to quickly discover weather, stock prices and flight times. Fast forward a few years and OS X Widgets are rarely developed for or used. Sherlock seemed a sure bet, then morphed into Spotlight, but was limited in only finding things on your local drive. Now Spotlight has been given a rebirth in Yosemite under its new name, Spotlight Search. Long term value of such tools will be discovered over time, thus, here are some initial impressions of Apple’s newly minted OS.
When Apple showed off OS X Yosemite (aka 10.10), the Moscone crowd’s excitement grew at the turn of each new slide. OS X Yosemite promises to polish off some rough edges that Mavericks attempted — away from skeuomorphic design and to a more simple, elegant (aka flat) user experience. In addition Yosemite will deliver a host of new features and connectivity with iOS devices.
The AppleTV is a nice device for the living room. Right now, it can play music and movies from a number of sources like iTunes, YouTube, Netflix, or an iOS device through Airplay. Through Airplay, the AppleTV can also mirror the display of an iOS device and a Mac Computer.
Mirroring a Mac display on the AppleTV is nice, but it is limiting. Users can’t watch an Internet movie on the AppleTV and still use their Mac at the same time. This limits the usefulness of not only the AppleTV , but also the Mac. This is all going to change this Fall.
After watching the Keynote presentation live via AppleTV and then re-watching it again later that day, one application Apple did not feature was Mail. While Craig Federighi showed forthcoming versions of an updated Safari, a modern Finder, a much improved multiple display management system and an enhanced Notification Center, what was lacking was any mention of Mail.
Mail along with Safari and the Finder are arguably the three most used apps on any Mac. Not bringing any improvements to Mail tell us that Apple either thinks Mail is fine the way it is in Mountain Lion or the updates were not ready for the demo.
OS X Mountain Lion took away something very dear to many Mac users: RSS Feeds (sometimes also called Atom feeds). RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication) is a technology used by websites and social media to notify subscribers when content has been updated. For example, on this website you can subscribe to an RSS Feed that will notify you every time a new article is posted.
The Mail application was one of the first apps that Apple wrote for OS X. Those who remember the first official release, OS X 10.0 (Cheetah), know that Mail.app was there from the beginning, as it was to be an example for developers on how to write an app for the OS X platform. However, Mail.app soon was adopted by many and Apple started improving it with each release of the OS.
That said, there are several things Mail.app doesn't do very well or could do better. Below is a list of improvements we would like to see in the OS X 10.9 release:
The Mac OS is a mature operating system. It is a good looking and clean interface that stays out of the way so users can focus on their work. The gradient gray interface minimizes distractions while shadows create depth for better window separation, but with all these great features, there is still room for improvement.
There still are many ways Apple can improve how the OS interacts with the user. One of those areas is spotlight. Spotlight is great for searching for items on the computer in real-time, and it is lightening fast with solid state storage, yet Apple could make it so much better.
Apple added Siri to the iOS, creating an easy way for users to search and perform tasks without the need for an on screen keyboard. With Siri, Apple basically created a smart operating system. While Siri is still limited, it shows the direction for the future of operating systems beyond mobile. For Apple, this means Siri is likely to be headed towards Macs and OS X.
The rest of the industry has already taken notice. Google has Google Now, and in April Amazon purchased a Siri competitor Evi. The industry sees voice control as the future, and the major players are working hard to integrate it into their Operating Systems. Apple will be announcing their next Mac OS (10.9) in June at WWDC. Developers are expecting Siri to be one of the main new features. Can Apple just drop in Siri as is, or do they need to improve it for the Mac?
Apple has been on roller-coaster ride for the past several years. Most of the thrills have been watching the stock price and market share climb to unforeseeable heights. But as the song says, “What goes up, must come down...” — or does it? While the stock has hit a bottom of just south of 400, Apple still maintains a strong set of market share numbers whether looking at iOS sales, smart phone sales or tablet sales. Even its Mac desktop/laptop division is posting growth numbers PC rivals would die for.
During this time Operating System software has been continually upgraded. Every year there seems to be another version of Mac OS X or iOS — sometimes both. This is quite amazing considering Microsoft takes 3-5 years before releasing a major new version of anything. While Google is not this bad, they are slower than Apple with major revs to their Android platform. But in all of this, where is the “other” software from Apple?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is already discounting Windows 8 in an effort to spur sales. Microsoft's price breaks appear to target those developing "small, touch-enabled laptop computers" with screens 10.8" or smaller. The idea is encourage developers to create ample supply in the marketplace, creating more competition, while pushing costs down for consumers. Slow sales and steep discounts wasn't exactly in Microsoft's Windows 8 roadmap.