Avatar was a great movie when it came out. And aside from the killer 3-d filming and hot special effects, the highlight for me was the computer interface they used on the spaceship. Apple has released a new OS for their laptops and desktops. (Yosemite 10.10) And while the difference might seem a bit cosmetic at the first run, the heart of the advances are in the way you’re going to work with your pc in concert with your phone and tablet (if you still need one).
In Avatar the User Interface for controlling the ship and exploring the alien world was done with a very pretty and complex heads-up display. But the coolest part, was when they were ready to go outside and they “threw” the control of the ship to a small hand-held device. This is the metaphor that Apple has been shooting for with their incremental updates to iOS and iMessenger integration. Well, Yosemite brings the heart of your ecosystem fully on to your desktop.
Before Yosemite, with iMessage, you’re phone and computer had a new symbiotic relationship with texting. It really made me disappointed when someone didn’t have an iPhone and couldn’t use the iCloud messaging integration. Quick example: You’re working on a presentation for a meeting. A colleague texts you a quick update, the meeting has been moved back 30-minutes. The message pops up in a notification window on your Mac. You get the update and respond with, “Okay. Thanks. See you there.” And in seconds you are back to your presentation, with an additional 30 minutes to refine your numbers and the charts.
If your colleague isn’t on iMessage it only comes to your phone. And if you’re really focused on your presentation, like I tend to hyper-focus leading up to an important meeting, then you might miss the message.
With the new Mac OS the phone calls them selves can now be answered on your laptop as well. The same integration just got a lot more interesting. And I don’t think the caller has to have iCloud or an iPhone. Now it’s all handled between your Mac and your iPhone. That convenience and integration alone is worth the upgrade. Oh, but of course, it’s free. (Note: MSFT is releasing their “holy grail” Windows “threshold” for Free for the first time. They OWE it to the PC industry which their awful Windows 8 has derailed over the last two years. (Oops.)
AN ASIDE ABOUT WINDOWS: And Apple hasn’t made the “let’s innovated this thing into a new dimension” mistake in a long time. Where Ballmer and Co. forced a touch-screen interface on all of us, because it was innovative, they damaged the entire win-tel business in ways that have had serious impact on all companies in the space. Just go check Dell or HP now and notice the number of “We’ve still got Windows 7” banners.
BACK TO YOSEMITE
There are a lot of other changes to the User Experience, but they are subtle. (I’m not a huge fan of the “flattening of the design,” but I’ll get used to it, like I did with iOS 7. Okay, so it’s a flat-flat world now. I think the idea is simplification over design and “pretty.” That’s usually a good trade-off.
But here’s the BIGGEST win of the Mac OS 10.10 upgrade: Your learning curve is nil. There are some new features and functionality in other areas of the OS, but for the most part my first hour with Yosemite has been just getting my work done. Nice little things keep appearing when I open a new Apple app, but for the most part I’m just getting my work done.
And somehow, Apple has also managed to make Yosemite feel faster. And that’s a HUGE plus. I don’t think the software or OS is running faster, but I think the simplification of the design has created a more streamlined experience. Using my phone call example, Apple is now interested in making the entire Apple platform (all of your A-enabled devices) work better together. And I can see how this new upgrade is going to cause more Mac users to switch from Android to a new iPhone.
In my first hour with Yosemite, there is a lot to love. And plenty more tricks and efficiencies to uncover. (If you want a more thorough overview: The Verge: Yosemite Overview) But I’m not all that enamored with a OS upgrade if it’s going to slow me down or break things. Imagine clicking on a [Click to Upgrade Windows] button in the middle of a Thursday afternoon, when you’ve still got deliverables for the day. Um… No, don’t imagine that. It’s not rational.
Thanks Apple for not overturning my work/life apple cart with this new upgrade. May the rest of the tech industry continue to take a page from your playbook.
My least favorite change so far: They changed the color of the iTunes icon to RED. Why? (Here’s how to switch your iTunes Icon back to blue.)
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