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Apple unveils OS X Yosemite at WWDC 2014, complete with Today view and expanded iOS convergence

Apple has unwrapped OS X Yosemite with the promise that it will bring a new design, powerful apps and new continuity features into the operating system arena.

Related: Fresh Apple OS X 10.10 image leaks before WWDC 2014

Among the features is the new Today view in the Notification Center that is compatible with a variety of widgets and enhanced continuity features allow interaction with other iOS devices like never before.

“Yosemite is the future of OS X with its incredible new design and amazing new apps, all engineered to work beautifully with iOS,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We engineer our platforms, services and devices together, so we are able to create a seamless experience for our users across all our products that is unparalleled in the industry. It’s something only Apple can deliver.”

Today includes widgets such as Calendar, Weather, Stock, Reminders, World Clock and those from social networks in order to make sure you are completely on top of everything, and new widgets can easily be downloaded from the Mac App Store. It means that Spotlight has now moved to the front and centre position of the desktop and has a range of new categories of results thanks to rich suggestions from a variety of popular web services.

The new continuity features build on the links between OS X and iOS devices by adding Handoff, which allows an activity to be started on an iPad or iPhone that is nearby a Mac and then passed over to the other device to be continued on there. It also includes deeper integration with Messages across devices with SMS and MMS now appearing on the Mac and able to be sent directly from the computer, as you would on an iPhone. iPhone users can also use a Mac as a speakerphone.

For developers, Apple has updated various features including SpriteKit, Storyboards and SceneKit to make it easier to create apps, and developers can use new APIs to include Handoff within apps and build Today view widgets.

Mail and Safari have also been given a refresh with a handful of enhanced features and new looks that will be noticeable at first glance, and iCloud Drive has been inserted into Finder to provide easier access to files stored in the cloud across all devices.

In terms of a release date, the developer preview is available to members of the Mac Developer Program now and Apple is also introducing the OS X Beta Program to gather feedback from customers about Yosemite before it is released. Mac users that successfully sign up and participate in the program will then be able to download the final version free-of-charge when it gets its release in the fall.