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Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite review roundup: Here's the verdict

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Apple has finally released its next computer operating system, OS X 10.10 Yosemite, to the public.

Yosemite boasts a number of great new features and a completely new design. It is also much more integrated with iOS 8, the operating system for Apple's mobile devices that was released in September.

Design

OS X 10.10 Yosemite boasts a number of design changes. In fact, Yosemite marks one of the biggest changes in design since the operating system was first released. Almost everything is changed in some way. Even the global font of Yosemite has changed, looking slightly more modern. This is especially true on machines that are able to show higher resolutions, such as those with Retina Displays.

Toolbars and the dock feature a much flatter design, keeping in line with the design that Apple began to introduce in iOS 7. Apple has also concentrated rather heavily on translucency, which allows users to see through system apps such as Mail or Finder. Apart from the aesthetic benefits to translucency, it will also be helpful for those who have a lot of apps open at once.

All of these design changes don't make Yosemite hard to navigate. Yosemite's interface feels extremely familiar and most functions will be the same on the operating system.

Continuity

One of the biggest functional changes to Yosemite is the addition of what Apple calls "Continuity," which is basically the connection that a user's Apple devices now have with one another through Yosemite and iOS 8.1.

Users are now able to do things like take and make calls though their phone using their computer or iPad. This is great for those who might leave their phone somewhere else in the house, for example. Continuity also allows users to be able to start working on a document on their iPad, for example, and then continue working on their computer, with the computer automatically pulling up the document and having it available in the dock.

This level of connectivity should lead the way for other operating systems to emulate -- ahem, Google and Android and Microsoft and Windows Phone and the Surface line.

iCloud Drive

Apple has added iCloud Drive to the Finder, which is great for those who sometimes forget to back up their documents. This also allows users to access those files across multiple devices. Apple has even released a desktop client for iCloud Drive on Windows.

Unfortunately, Apple does not really offer as much free storage as it could on iCloud Drive. Apple's 5 GB is a little weak compared with Google's or Microsoft's 15 GB of free storage with Google Drive or OneDrive, respectively. Despite this, Apple has lowered its prices for extra storage, making them roughly the same as Google Drive.

Spotlight

Spotlight has been changed to offer a much more systemwide search. Not only that but Spotlight also now can search online, showing Wikipedia entries, Bing search results and things in iTunes. One of the great things about the new Spotlight is how clean it looks, which makes searching quite easy.

Conclusions

Apple's OS X 10.10 Yosemite is a great improvement over Mavericks. The design changes make Yosemite look ahead of its time and the functional changes are great. For those on the fence about upgrading, don't walk, run home and install the new operating system.

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