For those of you that haven’t heard yet, Apple previewed two new great operating system upgrades at their World Wide Developer Conference this week. They showcased all-new and more powerful than ever versions of their operating systems for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.  For iPhone and iPad, they showcased iOS8 and for the Mac they previewed OSX Yosemite. Each time there are upgrades to the operating systems, we wait with bated breath to see if they offer any significant improvements and this time they have not disappointed.

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  1. A redesigned interface. There are now translucent windows and refined toolbars and subtle changes to the buttons and icons. The font has changed throughout the operating system too. Even the dock icons have changed and look more refined. I wonder how many designers will adopt the new look for their own apps? The notification centre has been improved, again, with a translucent background, which you can now customise and even have a day view, including: events, reminders, birthdays, calendar, weather, stocks, clock and calculator.  You can also add widgets from the app store to the notification centre. Spotlight has been redesigned too.  It now opens front and centre when it’s opened, so that it’s easier to view information.  It now provides a richer preview of information, providing previews of your results, allowing you to read a document, send an email or make a phone call by clicking on a result.
  2. Safari is now sporting a new streamlined toolbar allowing more real estate for what you are viewing.  It also has a performance boost and has more control over your privacy.
  3. Mail has had some great improvements too. Mail now lets you send large attachments using Apple’s new service Mail Drop, which allows you to send video, documents, images or even folders of content. Mail Drop automatically uploads the attachments to iCloud allowing a Mac Mail user to automatically receive the attachments as they would normally.  Other mail clients will receive a link to download the attachments. Using Mail Drop, it allows you to send attachments up to 5GB, meaning that you can now email large video attachments too. One other great improvement is the ability to mark up the attachments, which is great for proofing documents – it even allows you to mark up PDF attachments.
  4. Messages has been improved with the ability to now send and receive both iMessage and SMS messages from your Mac. You can also add people to group conversations and remove yourself when you want.
  5. iCloud Drive is a completely new service.  This allows you to store any type of file in iCloud and access it on any of your Apple devices. You can organise your files in iCloud any way you want, similar to DropBox and Live Drive.  Essentially it provides you with cloud storage for all of your files. You are not restricted to Apples software either – you can add files to the cloud from any software packages, such as Adobe or Microsoft. With iCloud Drive you can create as many folders as you wish and add tags to them for ease of finding the files or folders you use more frequently.  Air Drop has also improved with iCloud Drive, allowing you to share files between Mac and iOS devices. iCloud Drive sounds an amazing service and one i’m sure most Mac users will use. However, what isn’t clear at present is the pricing structure and how it will work for individuals and businesses. We look forward to hearing more information about this in due course.


The most advanced mobile operating system now allows you to add your voice to a text message and see every photo you take on all your devices. Your health and fitness apps can now communicate with each other and even with your doctor.

  1. Photos now stores all your images in your iCloud Photo Library making them easily viewable across your devices. Photo also includes improved and more powerful editing tools.
  2. Messages now allows you to add your voice to any conversation, send a video of what you are seeing at the moment and share your location.
  3. Shortcuts on the Notification Centre allows you to get access to the people you talk to more frequently.
  4. The Keyboard has a bit of an upgrade too, suggesting contextually appropriate words to complete your sentences. It will even recognise who your typing to and in what application as the tone may be different depending on whether you are in Mail or Messages.
  5. Family Sharing is a completely new and welcomed addition to iOS8. It allows up to six people in your family to share each other’s iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases. This will now allow you to share songs, movies or apps. You can even share family photos, family calendars and locations.
  6. iCloud Drive allows you to now access all of your PDF, image and document files from your Mac or other iOS devices so you can work on them anywhere. There’s no escaping the office now!
  7. Health is a completely new addition. This new service allows your health and fitness apps to talk to each other and capture your health data. This could be useful information for you to monitor your own health and fitness, but it can now go one step further should you wish, sending information automatically to your fitness coach or doctor. For instance, if you suffer from high blood pressure, your iOS device could submit your blood pressure readings directly to your doctor at given intervals so your doctor can monitor your condition. This service could prove to be revolutionary. Well done Apple!
  8. Seamless connection to your other devices has been improved. You can now start an email on one device and continue writing it on another.
  9. Spotlights new additions are suggestions from Wikipedia, places nearby, trending news and more, when your looking for answers. It will even recognise the context and location to offer you the most relevant information.

All in all there are some great improvements to all of the above, but there are still some unanswered questions. Apple are due to release these new operating systems in the Autumn 2014, so hopefully we’ll get to find out more nearer the launch date.

Please let us know your thoughts on what you have read.

Paul Mabin.