For years now, OS X has been Apple's core operating system. It's powered everything from iMacs to the MacBook Air, and it's been one of the most reliable operating systems for nearly 15 years.
The latest version, OS X Yosemite, was released to near-universal acclaim. It's fast, it's stable and it's easy to use — basically, if you're using an Mac computer, it's the easiest way to get things done. Actually, as far as statistics go, you're probably already using it: Apple revealed that Yosemite has seen a 55 percent adoption rate, giving it the fastest adoption rate of any operating system on any platform ever.
However, for Apple, Yosemite was just the start. It was a huge step forward in usability, but there's still more work to be done. Apple is already hard at work on its next operating system, titled OS X El Capitan — and its showing at WWDC 2015 wasn't just about all of the new features but when users will actually be able to get their hands on it.
First and foremost, the updates to OS X are all about ease of use. Yosemite made some huge progress in that regard, but it wasn't perfect: some features felt a bit rigid, and certain apps could take a big toll on CPU power. El Capitan aims to fix those issues in some surprisingly simple ways, starting with Spotlight.
Previous versions of Spotlight were great for finding files and folders ... if you knew their exact names. Unfortunately, if you forgot what you named the file, you were basically out of luck — but El Capitan is set to change that. Spotlight now recognizes more complex phrasing, so typing in "files from Wednesday" will actually show files from Wednesday. Spotlight's range has also been greatly expanded, meaning that users will be able to search for things like weather reports and sports scores without switching to a separate app.
Of course, making Spotlight more powerful doesn't make sense if the rest of the system can't keep up. Thankfully, Apple is making some big changes to how El Capitan works with Mission Control, multiple desktops and organizing windows. Everything can be controlled with simple swipes and gestures: working in two apps side-by-side is as easy as dragging and dropping two windows onto each other, and a simple swipe will show you every open window on your desktop.
You won't have to worry about performance, either: El Capitan is a far more efficient system and is already showing huge improvements over OS X Yosemite. Opening emails, switching between apps and even opening certain file types are all much, much faster, meaning that having multiple windows open won't slow everything to a crawl.
Apple is also changing how it approaches its gaming architecture. A long time ago, Apple was the place to go for gaming ... in the subsequent years, however, gamers made the switch to Windows PCs. While it wasn't the main cause of this, many claim that OpenGL didn't exactly help: Apple's system was powerful, but it was far from the most efficient or easy to work with. Metal, which acts as both OpenGL's successor and a fusion between OpenGL and OpenCL, is a core piece of El Capitan's systems — and it could change how gamers look at Apple.
Metal is all about simplifying how apps and games work on El Capitan. Instead of running programs through OpenGL, developers are able to run apps and games natively in Metal, and the effects are immediately noticeable. Unreal Engine 4, which was demoed on-stage, saw a 70 percent increase in rendering efficiency when running on Metal — and Epic Games isn't the only team working with the platform. Apple is working with studios like Blizzard, 2K and Unity (among others) to bring their apps to Metal.
Don't worry — you'll be able to see the benefits of Metal regardless of whether or not you're a gamer. App developers have also seen a massive jump in efficiency, with Adobe's Creative Suite showing huge improvements while running on Metal. Basically, Metal makes running apps on El Capitan easier and smoother — which means you get a faster computer and longer battery life.
While the improvements of El Capitan all sound great, it won't matter much if you're not able to use it. Thankfully, the wait for OS X El Capitan won't be long at all: Apple announced that a private developer beta for the system is launching today and will be followed up by a public beta in July.
Finally, the full OS X El Capitan will be available — as a free upgrade for absolutely everyone — later this year! For even more info on Apple's newest operating system, head on over to their official site.