In Short

OS 10.10 Yosemite for Mac

OS X 10.10, codenamed Syrah and officially named Yosemite, is the 2014 version of the Mac operating system from Apple, released on October 16, 2014. OS X 10.10 was shown off at WWDC 2014 on June 2. In addition to new features, OS X brings interface and experience refinements to Apple's desktop operating system, similar in spirit if not exact execution to the iOS 7 makeover of 2013 — interface depth and translucency effects, textual clarity and other elements to improve the overall user experience.

But that's just scratching the surface. There are a ton of new features under the hood.

OS X 10.10 Yosemite design language

Last year Jony Ive and Apple's design team spent so much time working on iOS 7's new look, OS X mostly got the linen and the leather — if not the felt — stripped out but not much else. The intent was always to go back and give OS X the design attention it deserved as well.

Yosemite employs clearer, smarter and easier-to-understand controls, with streamline toolbars, translucent elements and clean, consistent icon design. An updated system font also improves readability. Depth, deference and clarity are the design guidelines Apple first employed in iOS 7, and now we're seeing that work continue over to Yosemite.

Continuity

Apple doesn't seem compelled to blur the lines between iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 as much as obliterate them, at least where it makes sense to. Continuity is what Apple's calling that — design that enables one device to complement the other. Handoff, for example, lets you start an activity on your iPad or iPhone and continue it on your Mac. And Instant Hotspot lets your Mac use your phone more easily. SMS and MMS messages sent to your phone will automatically appear in Messages on all your devices; you can even make and receive phone calls on your Mac when your iPhone is on the same network.

OS X 10.10 and AirDrop

AirDrop debuted on the Mac but after several initial attempts to bring it to iOS were shot down as overly complex, the version that finally shipped in iOS 7 wasn't even compatible with the Mac.

That changes with OS X 10.10 as the teams at Apple get their protocols back in sync and their cross-platform beaming fully in order.

OS X 10.10 Notification Center

Notification Center gets a rework with the new Today view — a quick look at everything you need to know. Apple's also introducing Notification Center Widgets to help you view your calendar, weather, stocks, reminders and a World Clock, and the API is open for developers to use to create custom Widgets that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.

OS X 10.10 Spotlight

Spotlight's now in the Spotlight. Apple's search feature in OS X has been taken out of the realm of just file search; now it can find applications (making it a potential replacement for Apple's Launchpad app) and content on the Internet (putting it toe to toe with the popular third-party tool Alfred). It will view search results from Wikipedia, the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store and more.

iCloud Drive

Apple's integration with cloud-based storage and services continues with 10.10 and iOS 8 thanks to iCloud, which lets you store any kind of file online. It also works with a Windows PC.

OS X 10.10 bottom line

The Mac's operating system is beyond mature, but there's huge room for improvement. Apple's moving iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 together, forward, for a new era of interdevice and intersystem communication. Stay with us as we provide you with more details.