Apple unveiled the latest iteration of its operating system software for Macs today, calling it OS X Yosemite. A major theme of the announcement is a feature Apple calls Continuity, which aims to make your Mac and your iPhone and iPad work more seamlessly together.
The feature aims to make it easier to start an email on your iPad, for example, and finish it on your Mac (or vice versa). Your MacBook will automatically connect to your iPhone, letting you use it as a speakerphone to place and receive calls while your phone stays in your pocket. SMS texts will now appear in Apple's messaging software. (On a Mac, iMessage currently only shows message conversations with other Apple devices.)
The upgrade will be free, and a public beta will be available this summer. More details are coming later today on Apple's website.
Other new Apple stuff announced today included iOS 8 (new operating software to run Apple's iPhones, iPads and iPods) and new features of interest to software developers. Here's the Associated Press's breakdown of today's consumer-oriented announcements:
Changes for Mac computers
The next Mac system will be named Yosemite, after the national park, now that Apple is naming it after California locales rather than cats.
You'll be able to search for content on the computer and on the Internet at once, similar to a feature available with Microsoft's Windows 8.
Apple is expanding its iCloud storage service so that you can store and sync files of any type, not just the ones designed specifically for iCloud. It's similar to how services such as Dropbox let you work with the same files on multiple devices more easily.
A Mail Drop feature will make it easier to send large files. Instead of pushing the entire file by email and overloading mail servers, the Mac will create a link that the recipient can click for the full file.
The Mac's Safari Web browser will have more privacy controls and ways to share links more easily.
Changes for iPhones and iPads
Like the new Mac OS, the iOS 8 system will have a universal search tool, to cover both your device and the Internet. It will also get the iCloud Drive service.
The new software will sport interactive notifications, so you can respond to a message without having to leave another app. It will have new gestures, such as double tapping to see a list of frequent contacts.
A "quick type" feature promises predictive typing suggestions. For example, if you start typing, "Do you want to go to," the phone will suggest "dinner" or "movie" as the next word. Currently, the suggestions are limited to spelling corrections.
iOS 8 will have a built-in health-management tool to help people track their vital signs, diet and sleeping habits. Apple's chief rival, Samsung Electronics Co., incorporated fitness-related features in its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5.
Apple announced new technology for controlling garage doors, thermostats and other home systems, although the company didn't say how all the pieces will be linked together through what it calls HomeKit.
For developers, Apple announced the ability to sell app bundles at discounted prices. The fingerprint security system on the iPhone 5s also will be accessible to apps written by outside parties, not just Apple functions such as unlocking the phone.
Although the Mac and iOS systems are separate, Apple CEO Time Cook says the two have been engineered to work seamlessly together.
Apple's AirDrop feature, which has let you share files with other devices of the same type, will now let iPhones and Macs share directly with each other.
A new "handoff" feature will let you switch devices more easily, so you can start writing an email on a phone and finish on a Mac. And when a call comes in on your iPhone, you can get caller ID information on your Mac.
The iMessage chat service will now let you communicate with devices that aren't running iOS, such as those running the rival Android system from Google.
Read the AP's full article here.