John Siracusa wrote over 26,000 words across 25 pages detailing OS X Yosemite for Ars Technica. Here are a few of the new features that impress me:
Following in the footsteps of venerable quick-access launchers like LaunchBar and Quicksilver as well as (relative) youngsters like Alfred, the Spotlight search field now appears front and center when activated. This may seem like a trivial change, but it transforms the user experience. What was once an awkward, non-standard text field sprouting from a tiny icon in the corner of the screen is now a wide, inviting window with very large text.
In addition to the simple mathematical calculations it already handles, Spotlight in Yosemite now does unit conversions faster than you can type the same query into a Google search box.
Handoff takes aim at the difficulty of transitioning between devices while continuing to work on the same task. Imagine you’re composing an e-mail on your iPhone as you ride to work on the train. You arrive at the office, but the e-mail isn’t complete. You’d like to sit down at your Mac and finish the e-mail on your big, comfortable keyboard.
Upon arriving at your desk in the office, the Apple Mail icon appears in a single-item mini-dock to the left of the real Dock (or on top, if your Dock is on the side of the screen).
A similar icon also appears in the command-tab application switcher. Clicking the icon in the mini-dock or selecting it from the application switcher launches Mail (if it’s not already running) and displays a message composition window containing the exact e-mail message you were just composing on your phone, with the insertion point in the message area at the end of the text you’ve written so far.
If you long to see the green message bubbles on your Mac that denote the shameful use of a legacy SMS/MMS service, then Yosemite is the release for you.
The Mac will use your iPhone as a proxy for SMS communication, sending and receiving non-iMessage text messages through it. Both devices must be signed in to the same iCloud account, and there is a one-time verification process to allow a Mac to use a specific iPhone.