Another year brings another OS X release, and plenty of new productivity-boosting features with it. This week Apple debuted OS X Yosemite, the latest iteration of the desktop-operating system, which succeeds last year's OS X Mavericks. The upgraded OS is jam-packed with perks for business users, including an improved notification center, a new way to search from the desktop, and a totally revamped way to connect your MacBook to your iPhone or iPad. OS X Yosemite is currently available only in beta form, with a wider release to come later this year. Here are five features that will make it good for business.
OS X Yosemite helps your MacBook or iMac work together with any iPhone or iPad. That's because mobile iOS devices and Mac computers are now automatically linked when they connect to the same network – and that enables handy new functionality.
For starters, iPhone owners can now make phone calls from any Mac computer running OS X Yosemite – even when the smartphone is charging in another room. Your computer can now leverage the connection from your iPhone, letting you use your its microphone and speaker to place a phone call. And when you receive an incoming call, you'll receive an alert on your desktop, and have the option to answer it right there. The functionality benefits business users since it ensures you'll never miss an important call while working, even if you accidentally leave your phone in another room.
The second way OS X connects to your iPhone or iPad is through a feature called Handoff, which lets you send an in-progress email message or document from your Mac to your mobile device – or vice versa – with one tap. When you're working on your mobile device, an icon will automatically appear on your Mac computer showing the connection; just click to make the switch. And when you're working on your MacBook or iMac, you can simply swipe up on your iOS device to switch over and keep working on the go.
The Notification Center in OS X is a good spot to view your email and iMessage alerts, as well as calendar notifications. Now, the Notification Center is more useful, thanks to a new Today view that offers a closer look at your calendar, weather, stocks and more. You can also download a variety of widgets to customize your Today view with reminders, social networking alerts and more. The new functionality helps put everything you need to know in a single spot, so you can view it all at a glance.
A good cloud storage platform ensures you'll never be caught without an important file. Apple's iCloud already lets you sync your contacts, calendars, photos, music, apps and more in the cloud so you can access them across all your devices. Now iCloud Drive will let you easily sync files and documents across devices with a simple drag-and-drop interface. The feature is built right into the Finder in OS X Yosemite. You can drag documents into it, organize them with folder and tags, and search for them using Spotlight. In other words, it works a lot like existing cloud storage platforms such as DropBox, Box or Google Drive. With the release of OS X Yosemite, iCloud Drive will become available for Mac, iPhone, iPad and even Windows PCs.
Spotlight is a handy feature in OS X since it helps you find exactly the file you need, right when you need it. Yosemite introduces a redesigned Spotlight app that offers a redesigned interface and better search results. Just click the magnifying glass icon at the top right-hand corner of the desktop to launch a new, bigger search bar in the center of your screen, then type a couple of characters to find files or apps. If you type the name of an app such as the Numbers spreadsheet editor or the Pages word processor, you'll see the most recent documents viewed using that app. If you search for a business contact, Spotlight will display phone numbers, email addresses and related calendar reminders in a sidebar. You can also search for information on the Web, and even search through your Internet history using the new Spotlight.
Apple has revamped the Mail app in OS X Yosemite with a fresh interface and speedier performance. Apple says the email app has more reliable syncing and is quicker to fetch new mail, but the biggest change for business users is the ability to send very large files via email using a feature called Mail Drop. Most email services limit the size of email attachments to 25mb or less, but Mail Drop allows for the transfer of files up to 5GB in size. When you send an attachment that's too large, the recipient will receive a link to a Web page where they can download the file. That's a plus for business users who need to exchange large documents on the fly.