OS X gets a facelift, and iOS sees added functionality.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is typically used as a launching pad for new Apple hardware and software, and WWDC 14 was no different.
First revealed was the next version of Apple’s PC operating system, called OS X 10.10, or “Yosemite.” The next major OS X update, which will be free to users in the Fall, borrows heavily from the UX and UI introduced in iOS 7 last year, from font choices to the color palette. Yosemite also touts a translucent window effect, changing the color hues of the selected window to whatever color is behind it. Many of the OS X apps have been updated, including Maps, the Notification Center, Safari, and iMessage.
OS X Yosemite is available to eligible developers today, and a public beta will follow this summer.
iOS 8 is the other large software update today, as the next iDevice operating system was detailed on stage. The overall look and feel of iOS 8 is largely the same as iOS 7, with updates coming in new apps and notification enhancements. Similar to what Android users can do in the newer versions of Google’s OS, iOS 8 users will be able to interact with notifications directly. Responding to iMessages in the notification wirhout opening the app, or liking a Facebook comment, and so on.
One of the most important new apps is HealthKit, which is a “composite profile of your activity and health,” according to Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering. HealthKit will have its own feature set, but third-party health apps (Nike+, etc.) will be looped in as well.
Apple also announced HomeKit, which is a new API for home automation certification. Developers and manufacturers will now be able to integrate iOS in with smart home products (smart locks, thermostats, garage doors).
Other APIs include the aforementioned HealthKit, CloudKit, and programs for camera software, and custom keyboards (think SwiftKey).
Most important, however, is how Apple is bridging the gap between OS X and iOS, starting with AirDrop. With AirDrop, Apple is gunning for a Continous Client future, allowing users to seamlessly transition from phone to tablet to PC, without losing elements of the experience. If you’re using an iPhone, iPad, and/or Mac PC on the same network, the opened apps, messages, and services will carry over from one device to another. Put differently: When you get home from work and sit down in front of your iMac, whatever apps or emails you had open while sitting on the train, will open automatically on your computer.
So, for those who scrolled to the bottom: OS X now looks like iOS, iOS gives developers access to all the things, and there’s another legitimate continuous client on the horizon.