As expected, Apple unveiled the latest versions of its iOS and OS X operating systems Monday morning at the keynote event of its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Led by Chief Executive Tim Cook and Senior Vice President Craig Federighi, the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant unveiled and demoed iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The two platforms won't be released to the general public until this fall, but Apple announced several new features that it previewed. Here are five highlights for each of the upcoming software versions.
OS X Yosemite
- Brand new look -- Yosemite features a new aesthetics for OS X that draw from many of the elements Apple introduced last year with the release of iOS 7. This means OS X will feature a flat design, bright, vibrant colors and an extensive use of translucent menus.
- iCloud Drive -- This will allow users to save any kind of file in special folders on their computers that are accessible through other devices, including iPhones, iPads and even Windows computers. This feature will work very similarly to the Dropbox cloud service.
- Smartphone features for the Mac -- With Yosemite, users will be able to answer and make calls that are relayed through their iPhones using their Mac computers. Additionally, Mac users will be able to send text messages to their friends who don't own Apple devices. And a new Handoff feature will allow users to pass off tasks they start on their iPhones or iPads to their Macs when their devices come within close proximity of each other.
- Spotlight -- Apple is beefing up its Spotlight search feature by placing it front and center in Yosemite and giving it new abilities. Spotlight will be able to display results from search engines and Wikipedia, not just the files users have on their computers. For each result, Spotlight will also show large, prominent previews, giving users a peek at their files before opening them.
- Today -- This feature will appear within the Notification Center and give users a way to quickly check their daily schedules and see information from widgets they can add, such as sports scores from ESPN. Today is a feature that was first introduced for the iPhone and iPad last year. Apple said OS X Yosemite will be released to developers Monday, but non-developers can also sign up for a beta program by going to the company's website. OS X Yosemite will officially be released for free this fall.
- Health -- This new app puts health and fitness data from various mobile apps into one easy-to-digest dashboard.
- Quick Type and third-party keyboards -- The touch-screen keyboard for iOS 8 will be updated to predict what users want to type before they do so. Every time users start tapping, three words will show up as suggestions. Additionally, Apple said it will allow users to install keyboards created by third-party developers, a feature users have begged for for years.
- Revamped Photos -- In iOS 8, the photos users take will be uploaded to their iCloud accounts. This will allow them to access their pictures from any of their devices. Apple also said that the Photos app will feature more editing tools and improved search. Users will be able to search based on when and where a photo was taken or what album it's saved in.
- Family sharing -- Apple is introducing a new Family Sharing feature that will let up to six users share any apps or media content they buy using the same credit card. Users will also be able to share family photo albums, calendars and more. But more importantly, parents will be able to set limits on what their children purchase. This means that if a child tries to buy something with their Apple device, the purchase will not go through until the parent approves a notification they receive on their gadget.
- Improved messaging -- In iOS 8, users will be able to add and remove users from group conversations, mute group threads or leave group chats entirely. They'll also be able to share their locations with others in a conversation and easily see any photos and videos that have been shared in each chat. Additionally, users will be able to respond to text messages with audio and video replies.
- Bonus: Quick response to notifications -- In iOS 8, users will be able to quickly respond to notifications they receive without leaving the app they're in. This means users can respond to a text, like or comment on a Facebook notification or accept an event invitation from the Calendar app without having to actually open up any of those apps.
Apple said iOS 8 will be available for developers today. It will be released for free to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users this fall.