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OS X IOS Operating Systems Apple

OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review 305

An anonymous reader writes: With the release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Ars Technica has posted one of their extremely thorough reviews of the OS's new features and design changes. John Siracusa writes that Yosemite is particularly notable because it's the biggest step yet in Apple's efforts to bring OS X and iOS together — new technologies are now being added to Apple's two operating systems simultaneously. "The political and technical battles inherent in the former two-track development strategy for OS X and iOS left both products with uncomfortable feature disparities. Apple now correctly views this as damage and has set forth to repair it." Yosemite's look and feel has undergone significant changes as well, generally moving toward the flat and compact design present in iOS 7 & 8. Spotlight and the Notifications Center have gotten some needed improvements, as did many tab and toolbar interfaces.

Siracusa also takes a look a Swift, Apple's new programming language: "Swift is an attempt to create a low-level language with high-level syntax and semantics. It tackles the myth of the Sufficiently Smart Compiler by signing up to create that compiler as part of the language design process." He concludes: "Viewed in isolation, Yosemite provides a graphical refresh accompanied by a few interesting features and several new technologies whose benefits are mostly speculative, depending heavily on how eagerly they're adopted by third-party developers. But Apple no longer views the Mac in isolation, and neither should you. OS X is finally a full-fledged peer to iOS; all aspects of sibling rivalry have been banished."
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OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

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  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Friday October 17, 2014 @10:21AM (#48168517)

    From the summary:

    OS X is finally a full-fledged peer to iOS; all aspects of sibling rivalry have been banished."

    Excuse me, but the only way for OS X to become a "peer" to iOS would be for iOS to become a whole lot better (e.g. to gain better multitasking and multiuser support, the ability to freely install software without a walled garden, a command line, etc.) or for OS X to become a whole lot worse!

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      OS X server, a $20 purchase, lets you manage iOS devices and install whatever apps you want on them. Yes, without having to obtain App Store blessing. I don't think that the walled garden concept can be reasonably still thought applicable. Given that you get a reasonable device management capability for $20, I'd tend to think of it as a bargain, actually.

      • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Informative)

        by bailey34 ( 589016 ) on Friday October 17, 2014 @10:48AM (#48168749) Homepage Journal

        Not sure that's correct. I think the apps you distribute via OS X Server to mobile devices have to be signed with a enterprise dev certificate, which will cost you $299/year

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Friday October 17, 2014 @11:06AM (#48168893)

      If you look at Apple's profit statements, the iOS App Store is break-even for them and they're not pushing profitability in that area.

      So I really don't think that's why they don't let users break down the walled garden. I think it's because the nature of modern computing, breaking down the walled garden also means breaking down things about iOS that make it so nice. Thread safety, sandboxing, etc kind of break when you've got free reign to run whatever you want on the phone.

      Also, who would really want a command line on their *phone*? Are you upset that iOS doesn't support CP/M apps too?

      • Also, who would really want a command line on their *phone*?

        I was using "command line" as a proxy for "scripting." An iOS version of Automator might be good enough*, but of course even Automator would include a call-a-shell-script Action, so it amounts to the same thing.

        If you can't understand why scripting is important, then you don't understand what computers are to begin with (and an iPhone is a computer; it just happens to have a modem, microphone and speaker too).

        (* On a Mac, Automator scripts are more

        • The necessary foundation to make scripting work would break process and application isolation.

          Making portable OSes more and more like desktop OSes would make them worse, not better.

          I've yet looked at my phone and went, "Gee, I wish I could just do this with curl instead of safari."

          The only thing that would make iOS even better would be some way to add media from inside apps. Apps can already write to the available movies. Just wish they could add podcasts and music.

          (Which is odd because movies are DRMed on

          • The necessary foundation to make scripting work would break process and application isolation.

            BS. OS X applications prove this isn't true. The point is not to be able to twiddle with an application's state arbitrarily; the point is for the application to expose a scripting API.

            I've yet looked at my phone and went, "Gee, I wish I could just do this with curl instead of safari."

            You've never looked at your phone and went, "Gee, I wish I could script the damn captive portal to this Wi-Fi hotspot so I wouldn't h

            • not really? There's IFTTT and all sorts of apps that'll automate based on geofencing. You can tell siri to set up various tasks for you based on geofencing too...

              But having a script trigger when a captive portal comes up would mean the script would have to know what's going on in the browser thread when the capture portal detection runs. Plus it's super fiddly and awful UX.

        • If you can't understand why scripting is important, then you don't understand what computers are to begin with (and an iPhone is a computer; it just happens to have a modem, microphone and speaker too).

          You seem to have got a warped idea of what a smartphone is. Just because it has a CPU does not make it a desktop substitute. There's no mandate for end user programability. And there's no demand for it in a mobile phone either. A few hackers who are stuck in the 1970s Unix concept of computing does not make a market for a mainstream device. Essentially no one buys a phone for scripting or CLI. And even if every single person on Slashdot said they do, that still wouldn't make it a market.

          A phone is a communi

  • by nucrash ( 549705 ) on Friday October 17, 2014 @10:29AM (#48168583)

    I really wish this sad trend of minimalism would go away.

    In a way, I feel minimalism reflects the decline of our society because let's face it, we aren't putting all that much effort into our designs at this point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by slapout ( 93640 )

      Thank you! Apple keeps trying to take things away, but they've gotten to the point where it hurts functionality.

    • Adding chrome to a design is only more effort in the sense that you have to spend a lot of time adding that chrome. Otherwise, minimalism is at least just as hard because your intent and functionality can't hide behind the pretty blinking lights.

      How does Fallingwater [fallingwater.org] reflect a decline in society when compared to Versailles [chateauversailles.fr]?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Minimalisim requires *more* effort, not less. Which is more of a design challenge: 1) expose every setting for every aspect of a system, pick reasonable defaults, and trust the user to learn enough to figure out how to adjust every setting, or 2) greatly narrow the choices, pick a very few settings to expose, get it right at design time.

      You may personally prefer one or the other, but minimalism puts a lot more work on the designer than the kitchen sink approach does.

  • Sibling Rivalry? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slapout ( 93640 )

    Siblings should not be the same. Are you and your siblings exactly alike? You're better and some things and they are better at others.

    A desktop and a mobile OS should not be exactly alike. Sure, they can share similarities, just like you share traits with your siblings. But even twins are not exactly the same. Nor should they be.

    A desktop OS should be designed for different jobs than a mobile one.

    • Out of context... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <kenshin@lunarwo[ ].ca ['rks' in gap]> on Friday October 17, 2014 @10:48AM (#48168757) Homepage

      Everyone's taking that snippet waaaay out of context.

      OS X and iOS work better together now, they don't work the same.

      As in, for example, you start typing a document on your desktop, like you normally would, and you can continue it on your phone seamlessly and automatically if you have to go out. Both with different, and appropriate, interfaces.

      This isn't about making your desktop work LIKE a phone. It's about making your desktop work WITH your phone.

      • As in, for example, you start typing a document on your desktop, like you normally would, and you can continue it on your phone seamlessly and automatically if you have to go out.

        I've been able to do that for years with and desktop and smartphone OS combination, via Google Docs and Office 360, amongst other solutions. It's nothing new, and I'd argue that Apples way is no different, and certainly not better. I don't do it often because I generally don't like the interfaces for any of the apps that have the capability, so I tend to only use one of said apps (in my case Google Docs) when I know, in advance, that I'm going to be editing a document on the go. Beyond that, the ability to

        • by Kenshin ( 43036 )

          The difference between this and Google Docs is that it's baked right into the OS, and has hooks for third parties to implement it in their applications.

          So that is some sort of standardization. At least, on Apple devices.

          • Right, like I pointed out there's a desktop app with this solution. As for "hooks for third parties to implement it in their applications", yes, the cloud side of things; you know, like DropBox, or Google Docs, or any other cloud provider with both a mobile and desktop cloud sync app the provides a filesystem-based interface. When they start using interchangeable file formats that are compatible with other software, then I'll be impressed.

            Don't get me wrong, TextEdit is great for taking notes, and I use i
        • I'd argue that Apples way is no different, and certainly not better. I don't do it often because I generally don't like the interfaces for any of the apps that have the capability

          The difference is, as you then go on to acknowledge, that Google Docs is a web app, and Apple's apps are native. And the reason why the Google Docs are so bad you don't like them is they are limited by the fact that they are web apps.

          What are you missing here?

          As to it needing Apple devices on both ends, Apple has always been a "whole widget" company. One of the reason there products work so well is because they retain total control of hardware and software.

          If there was a quality existing standard for handing off between different Office apps on different apps/OSs, then Apple might use it. But there's not.

          Furthermore, there have been major growing pains with iCloud over the years even with it just being used from Apple's own APIs. Making it generic would introduce more problems.

          • And the reason why the Google Docs are so bad you don't like them is they are limited by the fact that they are web apps.

            So now you're qualified to tell me what I do and don't like? then, please, Mr. Psychic, tell me what I don't like about the interface of Apple's native document editing apps. I'm sure it's nothing to do with them being web based, since, you know, they're not. In short, you're wrong for reason I'm sure you'll never be able understand.

            If there was a quality existing standard for handing off between different Office apps on different apps/OSs, then Apple might use it. But there's not.

            ODF is pretty damn standard. Hell, even Microsoft has an open standard in use, currently. In fact, I can exchange documents between OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Star Office, and Mic

            • So now you're qualified to tell me what I do and don't like?

              I'm qualified to say that the reason Google Docs sucks is because it's a web app.

              ODF is pretty damn standard. Hell, even Microsoft has an open standard in use, currently. In fact, I can exchange documents between OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Star Office, and Microsoft Office in either format.

              They are file formats. They are not methods of handing off open documents between different devices without first saving them somewhere. Completely different thing.

              And even they are fucked. Documents moved between different office apps tend to break. Still. In 2014.

              iCloud is nothing more than an online storage service. It takes data from one device and makes that data available to other devices. If they can't get that right, that's not growing pains, that's incompetence.

              It's a sync service, that works on open files. And that's hard. Very hard. Always has been. And if you don't know that, that's your incompetence.

              And yes, I'm a devel

  • by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Friday October 17, 2014 @10:32AM (#48168617) Journal
    Look, Apple couldn't have developed this technology themselves. This came from the UFOs they have at Area 51 and the alien flying saucer technology from the Roswell crash. Do some basic research before you post these stories.
    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      As if Apple building a new headquarters in the shape of flying saucer wasn't a dead giveaway of their technology's extraterrestial origins.
  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Friday October 17, 2014 @10:32AM (#48168623)

    Swift must be really in demand. In the past few weeks, I've gotten at least five recruiters with positions open, but with requirements of at least five years work with the language.

  • iOS has touch screens. Windows has touch screens. ChromeOS has touch screens. <alluring whisper>Come ooooonnnn, Tim, you know you want toooooo!</alluring whisper>
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday October 17, 2014 @10:52AM (#48168799)

    These Ars OSX reviews have always been really impressive things, full of technical examination and as you can see, very long to write...

    It made more sense to me back when you had to pay for an upgrade though, so you could see if it was worth getting. Now that it's free, the need for long technical examination seems to diminish...

    That said I hope they keep doing them because it is nice to have a deep technical examination of what is new.

    • The cost of the upgrade was pretty much insignificant compared to the hassle and the pain of ensuring that all your installed software packages were compatible.
    • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday October 17, 2014 @11:46AM (#48169281) Homepage

      Now that it's free, the need for long technical examination seems to diminish...

      I dunno about that. These reviews always show me features I've never known were in the OS and some of the thinking and history behind them. Do you need to read these? Of course not, my wife uses OSX and wouldn't understand every fifth word, nor would she care. I look forward to his disassemblies. Just takes me a while to get through them ....

      I don't spend a whole lot of time dithering with the OS. I use a computer for it's applications. But the more you know, the more work you can get out of the machines. Still and all, I can't get too wound up about missing a few pixels here and there. Glad somebody does.

    • These Ars OSX reviews have always been really impressive things, full of technical examination and as you can see, very long to write...

      It made more sense to me back when you had to pay for an upgrade though, so you could see if it was worth getting. Now that it's free, the need for long technical examination seems to diminish...

      That said I hope they keep doing them because it is nice to have a deep technical examination of what is new.

      Apple makes it very difficult for the average person to downgrade after you upgrade OS. If you try and run, for instance, the Mavericks installer after having upgraded to Yosemite, it will fail and tell you to install a newer version of OS X. There may or may not be a way around this, I've never tried.

      • Downgrading an OS by a major version is asking to break it. The upgrade scripts will normally change various datafile formats and contents. That's not a reversible process unless there are equivalent scripts to go the other way. And what OS developer is going to put the same development and testing effort into going backwards?

        Thats not to say that you can't in GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux lets you tinker with most things. But it generally offers no protection from breaking everything when you do so.

        Of course the ri

        • Downgrading an OS by a major version is asking to break it. The upgrade scripts will normally change various datafile formats and contents. That's not a reversible process unless there are equivalent scripts to go the other way. And what OS developer is going to put the same development and testing effort into going backwards?

          Thats not to say that you can't in GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux lets you tinker with most things. But it generally offers no protection from breaking everything when you do so.

          Of course the right thing to do regardless of platform is to make sure you do a complete backup before upgrading, so you can go back to that if you want to.

          Go ahead and try to wipe the entire drive and then install an older version of MacOS. Put in a new drive and try to install an older version. They change something - I don't know if its in the SMC or something, but it will give you an error. I do not mean downgrading the OS on top of an existing install. I mean a fresh install of an older OS.

          • Search the web, and you'll see instructions for downgrading Mavericks to Mountain Lion using a Time Machine backup. And certainly during the beta testing phase you could downgrade Yosemite to Mavericks.

            The release of Yosemite has only just come out, and I haven't tried it myself so I can't guarantee it. But it would be very surprising if you can't restore from a backup that's a previous OS.

            I mean a fresh install of an older OS.

            No, you can't do that. But what's the use case? You're going to throw away all your data and apps?

  • Upgraded yesterday. I can't comment on the internal changes, but IMHO the new look is ugly. It even looks like the 'X' in the close button isn't centered. I want my old look back.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I recently started a new role, where we predominately use Macs. As a long-term Linux user, I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out Macs, in case one day I decided to switch. Initially, I was very impressed, but after a few days, I find the whole thing to be dumbed down, unnecessarily.

    • Compared to Dolphin, I find Finder far too limited, especially the inability to show hidden files. I've got no idea why there is no such menu toggle built into it. What are Apple afraid of? This is especially anno
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2014 @11:46AM (#48169277)

      Compared to Dolphin, I find Finder far too limited, especially the inability to show hidden files. I've got no idea why there is no such menu toggle built into it. What are Apple afraid of? This is especially annoying when I have to look for .m2 and .git files. Sure, I can use the command line, but it's not as intuitive.

      defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
      killall finder

      The mouse scrolling was odd; the whole concept of "accelerating" while operating the wheel doesn't feel as natural as moving 2-3 lines with each movement. I had to download an app to get it the way I wanted (or, the same as it works in Windows and KDE).

      The scrolling behaviour is designed to work with touch pads, because they're the primary analog interaction device on OS X, I'd strongly suggest you grab one.

      It took me ages to realise that Command-Tab cycles through open applications, but not the windows. I found several windows all hidden behind one another that had been there for days, because OS X's window manager didn't present them to me. Apparently, I have to use Expose or something like that to see all of them.

      Correct, exposé is the right tool for this job. You can also use cmnd-` to cycle through windows within an application.

      Oddly, most things on Mac are Command+. However, on the command line, Ctrl+C is still used to break a program.

      That would be because there are well established unixisms at the terminal. This has the substantial advantage that even in a terminal window, you can still use cmnd-c to copy things without losing ctrl-c to kill applications. Note, a lot of common terminal shortcuts like ctrl-a and ctrl-e for start and end of the line work throughout the OS.

      My Mac has been set up to be case insensitive. LS, GrEp, cAT, TAIl all behave as if they had been typed lowercase.

      So? Why is this an issue?

      Pressing home and end take me to the top and bottom of the document, rather than the line I'm edit, making me have to do some finger gymnastics when I want to highlight an entire line I'm working on. That's probably just personal preference, though.

      As I said above ctrl-a and ctrl-e. Also cmmd-left arrow and cmnd-right arrow.

      I'm not entirely sure why, when I click on the green plus, some windows will resize to fill the whole screen, while others will just get a little larger.

      This was changed in Yosemite, the green plus now full screens all apps. The reason for the odd behaviour is because of a lot of windows devs failing to understand what that button was meant to do. The original behaviour in Mac OS was to make the window exactly big enough to hold the content in it, and no bigger. Lots of people implemented it as maximise though.

      Maybe KDE has spoiled me, with its lashings of customisation options, but I can see if I were to switch to a Mac, I'd spend a lot of time downloading hacks and scripts to bring back the features I like to work with, and other scripts to do away with those that I don't. Can't see myself switching to a Mac any time soon, if I'm being totally fair.

      So what you're saying is that on Linux you're willing to install the appropriate software to make the machine behave like you want it, but on Mac OS, having to install software is unreasonable?

      • My Mac has been set up to be case insensitive. LS, GrEp, cAT, TAIl all behave as if they had been typed lowercase.

        So? Why is this an issue?

        Linux filesystems are, by default, case sensitive. I can have Foo.bar and foo.bar in the same directory. If my source control is set up properly, I can see and work with both files properly on Linux but not on Mac OS. You can use a case-sensitive filesystem in MacOS, but last time I tried the OS itself was very buggy and unpredictable when dealing with files. Perhaps this has been fixed since 10.8, I don't know, but the general rule of thumb is to NOT use a case-sensitive FS on MacOS.

        • It's a shame they differ. But let's face it, actually having Foo.bar and foo.bar, or worse still Foo.bar and Foo.BAR in the same directory is a silly thing to do.

    • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Friday October 17, 2014 @11:54AM (#48169369)

      Cycle through windows: Command + `

      Move cursor to beginning/end of line: Command + Left/Right

      Case insensitivity: You can enable this, but there might be repercussions

      Green plus: Only maximizes windows in Yosemite. Schizophrenic behavior is gone. The original idea was that it would resize the window to be exactly as large as it needed to be in order to show all its content, but it was often confusing.

      • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

        Green plus: Only maximizes windows in Yosemite. Schizophrenic behavior is gone.

        The review disagrees [arstechnica.com]. In windows that don't support full screen, the green + still does whatever it is that it does, and if for some reason you want to do that on windows with real fullscreen support, you can Option-click the green dot.

        Which means that in Yosemite, clicking on the green dot will either take you into fullscreen mode or do who even knows when it's a plus and not a pair of arrows. I'm not sure that's really an improvement if you want to remove "schizophrenic behavior."

    • You may want to look into uBar (ubarapp.com)--I've heard good things about it. I'm considering it myself, though I've never had problems with the dock.

      Different systems have different control paradigms. The fact that things don't work the way you expect doesn't mean they're bad, just that they're different.

      For instance, cycling through open applications makes a lot more sense to me. I really like that I can raise a single window without bringing the entire application to the front. This is something that co

    • I recently started a new role, where we predominately use Macs. As a long-term Linux user, I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out Macs, in case one day I decided to switch. Initially, I was very impressed, but after a few days, I find the whole thing to be dumbed down, unnecessarily.

      • Compared to Dolphin, I find Finder far too limited, especially the inability to show hidden files. I've got no idea why there is no such menu toggle built into it. What are Apple afraid of? This is especially annoying when I have to look for .m2 and .git files. Sure, I can use the command line, but it's not as intuitive.

      A little googling would help you with all these issues.

      defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES

    • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

      Compared to Dolphin, I find Finder far too limited, especially the inability to show hidden files. I've got no idea why there is no such menu toggle built into it. What are Apple afraid of? This is especially annoying when I have to look for .m2 and .git files. Sure, I can use the command line, but it's not as intuitive.

      Others have pointed out the hidden preference to change this, but since that's incredibly unintuitive and very annoying, I'll offer a different method.

      If you only want to descend into a hidden directory that you know exists, you can use Shift-Command-G and enter the path directly. This will open the Finder window inside that path. You won't see any hidden files (other than the specific directory you're in) but it's the "quick and easy" way of entering hidden directories.

      But I agree, there really, really sho

    • I'm also a linux user that's ended up on OSX due to management.

      Totalfinder is less essential than it used to be, but it's still damn useful for fixing most of the flaws in finder, not least because it adds a shortcut to toggle hidden files/folders, shift-cmd-.

      Like you, I've got an acceleration fix to make it work linearly - just what I'm used to, and I use windows + linux at home, so it makes more sense to change OSX.

      I've found having a magic trackpad pretty handy for the gesture support. It works fine as y

    • especially the inability to show hidden files.

      It's a power user option. Open terminal., and type the following:

      defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
      killall Finder

      The rest of your points are simply a matter of you being used to something different. If and when you get used to the Mac way, and you go use a Windows or Linux computer, you'll think they are odd.

      Maybe KDE has spoiled me, with its lashings of customisation options, but I can see if I were to switch to a Mac, I'd spend a lot of time downloading hacks and scripts to bring back the features I like to work with, and other scripts to do away with those that I don't.

      That's not the way to go. OSX is not KDE, trying to make it so is pointless. Just as trying to make KDE like Windows would be.

    • I'm not trying to convince you to like OSX, but just to attempt to give an explanation:

      Compared to Dolphin, I find Finder far too limited, especially the inability to show hidden files. I've got no idea why there is no such menu toggle built into it. What are Apple afraid of? This is especially annoying when I have to look for .m2 and .git files. Sure, I can use the command line, but it's not as intuitive.

      As someone who provides support for general users, I think Apple has handled this reasonably well. There are a lot of hidden files that a lot of people would find confusing. There are .DS_Store files and .Trash folders, along with the /etc directory in the root. If they had a little button on the Finder to "show hidden files", I have no doubt that there would be a lot of users who would hit it, see all the "Junk" in pl

    • by jafac ( 1449 )

      You seem to have nailed on the head, pretty much all the "big problems" in OS X. Where I work, there was a huge migration from PC's to OS X, probably starting around 2003-2004-ish. The hardware (macbook pro) is actually among the best in the industry. Especially right now (omitting the 2011 models that had the NVidia defect, and Apple's appallingly bad handling of that). (Yeah - apple is really bad at acknowledging hardware defects, for a company that charges exceedingly "premium" price-points). Many of

      • I prefer the OS X method of window/application switching. But more to the point, I think expose is a better method than the alt-tab method, straight up. You can do it for all windows or just the application you're in. I've always found it faster. It's something I miss when I'm on other systems. (I've tried the Windows versions, but I've yet to find one that's nearly as good.)

  • With the recent announcement, I'm so relieved my favorite object store [openstack.org] is now integrated with with OSX.

  • I need to look deeper but so far there's been 12 pages of "these buttons look different" and "the window titles are now vibrant!" but nothing about how applications actually work the way they should now ... So far I still don't see any real advantage to moving up from 10.6.8...

    Unless I missed them fixing some of my nits:

    - When you move a mail message out of your inbox, one option needs to be "move this to the same folder you previously moved messages _from_this_sender_"
    - When I switch desktops, it should l

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