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Yosemite succeeds Mavericks as Apple OS X 10.10

Many people are loyal to a specific operating system. While I mostly use the wonderful Windows 8.1, I also use Linux and OS X too. Apple's operating system works and looks very well, but from a productivity standpoint, Windows still has it beat. Don't get me wrong, OS X is fun to use and rewarding, but it can't even do window-snapping on the edges of the screen. Don't even get me started on the horrible native email client.

Today, Apple showed-off the latest version of OS X (10.10), dubbed "Yosemite". The fruit-logo company has slapped a new coat of paint on the operating system, making it resemble the flatness of iOS 7. However, the appearance is only part of the story. It not only has a new look, but new features and improvements too. In other words, Yosemite looks to be an important update for Mac users.

Apple says that the updated operating system is, "redesigned and refined with a fresh, modern look, powerful new apps and amazing new continuity features that make working across your Mac and iOS devices more fluid than ever. The new Today view in Notification Center gives you a quick look at everything you need to know, all in one place; iCloud Drive is located within the Finder and can store files of any type; and Safari has a new streamlined design that puts the most important controls at your fingertips. Mail makes editing and sending attachments easier than ever; Handoff lets you start an activity on one device and pass it to the other; and Instant Hotspot makes using your iPhone's hotspot as easy as connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Yosemite even gives you the ability to make iPhone calls on your Mac".

Yes, you've read that right. You can make and receive calls using your Mac when it is linked to an iPhone. Sadly, other types of handsets such as Android and Windows Phone are not supported. The coolest usage of this feature is the ability to click on phone numbers in Safari and dial them directly. For instance, search for a pizza place on your iMac, click on the number in the browser and order a pie instantly. Anything that gets pizza to me faster is a good feature in my book.

Speaking of Safari, Apple explains new features, such as "a new Favorites view gives you quick access to your favourite websites, and a powerful new Tabs view displays thumbnails of all your open web pages in one window. Safari also gives you more control over your privacy, with separate Private Browsing windows and built-in support for DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track users. When you search for popular or common terms, new Spotlight Suggestions appear along with the suggestions from your search provider. Safari supports the latest web standards, including WebGL and SPDY, and with support for HTML5 Premium Video Extensions, you can watch Netflix HD videos for up to two hours longer. Powered by the Nitro JavaScript engine, Safari is over six times faster than Firefox and over five times faster than Chrome when executing JavaScript found in typical websites".

That is one of the more exciting improvements for me. Believe it or not, I like the Safari browser quite a bit and wish it was still developed for Windows. Apple is saying all the right things here and supporting DuckDuckGo gains the company and the browser some much-needed geek-cred.

Apple is finally making iCloud more useful as iCloud Drive. This makes the service a worthy competitor for other cloud-storage companies like Dropbox. While it will be tightly integrated with Yosemite, it will be available to Windows too.

The native email client, "Mail", will also be improved. The most notable new feature is Mail Drop. It allows a Mac user to send a file up to 5GB as a link using the cloud. Believe it or not, you can send these attachments to any type of email address, not only iCloud - how very un-Apple!

Currently, Mail is downright terrible, with a poor design and broken Gmail support. I have abandoned it for the well-designed third-party program, Airmail. This may change however, if Apple can fix it in Yosemite.

While Macintosh detractors (haters) will be quick to criticise Yosemite as being nothing more than a fresh coat of paint, this is simply not true. As you can see, there are a plethora of changes that should delight fans of OS X. Sadly, it will not be available until the autumn. However, if you like to live dangerously, you can sign up for the Beta Program here and try it early.

Photo credit: catwalker/Shutterstock