OS X Yosemite Features Explained and Ranked

| Editorial

Yosemite Features #4 Through #8


4. iCloud Drive (A). It's about time Apple made iCloud more useful and transparent as a storage medium, not just a sync service. Aside from being mindful of potential privacy issues, I think this is going to really take off. Unlike iDisk, however, this time Apple will have to stay the course. This will be too important for Apple to someday say, "Sorry. iCloud drive is shutting down."

5. SpotLight & Search (A+). This will probably be the major, signature feature of Yosemite. For some background, see "Apple Lays Groundwork for Disrupting Google’s Search Business."

Apple appears to be focusing on the idea that data is not branded. You don't go to the Weather Channel to get weather. You don't go to Google to search for an article on red wines. Instead, you go to Yosemite search, and it figures out what you want and how to get the information. That means that search (and Siri) don't have to be forever tied to a capricious data source. This is a game changer and an overt shot at Google because Apple isn't trying to monetize Yosemite search. So far anyway.

6. Mail attachments (A). It's about time Apple took ownership of this problem. If an attachment is too large for your ISP's email service, the Mail App will send it through iCloud. If the recipient is using Apple Mail, it's transparently attached. If not, they'll get a URL to click on and download the attachment. This is going to eliminate an email headache average users have had for years.

7. Mail markup (B). Annotating attached images is something I do fairly often, but I can't see that its going to really pick up steam. It's one of those features that'll be forgotten until you need it, then use it casually, appreciative that it's there.

8. AirDrop with OS X and iOS (A). I can't wait. The business of having to use iTunes App sharing or emailing photos from my iPhone to my Mac is, frankly, obscene. While Apple says, "So with just a few clicks on your Mac, you can take a file from any folder and use AirDrop to send it to a nearby Mac or iOS device." While that doesn't mention iOS to Mac, I know someone who has tried it, and it (almost) works in Beta.

There are more features, like Notification widgets, some Safari changes, and a visual facelift. But I'm out of space, and these items are subjects for another day.

The bottom line is that I'm very excited about Yosemite. The new features look to be things I'm going to be using all the time — in contrast to some things in Mavericks that I've never gotten around to a dedicated exploitation of, like Tags. This feature list, more than ever, shows that Apple is attacking our modern day, fundamental problems, making life with Macs and iOS-devices better and more integrated, yet preserving the fundamental character of this fabulous Unix operating System that we all have come to love.

Best of all? OS X Yosemite will be free.



With regard to #5, John: I agree that Apple is slowly and steadily chipping away at Google’s search presence, and with this release they’re continuing that trend while simultaneously providing a win-win solution for the customer base.

I’ll also add: there’s an awesome new search feature in mobile Safari. Apparently you can now do shorthand searches (ie. “wiki george washington”, or “amazon nas”) that will let you bypass a search engine and go directly to the content you’re looking for on websites. I haven’t seen whether or not this will make it to the desktop, but I hope so. And it’s literally a dream come true for me! I’ve been pondering the possibility of browsers taking search directly to websites for at least the last few years… leave it to Apple to carve that path.


#3 Handoff could be huge, but if it has to use iCloud I’ll pass (it should use peer to peer wifi & bluetooth, privacy!!!). I’d love to be listening to an audio book/podcast walk out the door hop in my car and pick right up where I left off.


I’m not thrilled with #5.  If it was limited to Safari I wouldn’t mind, but the idea that Spotlight the tool I use for LOCAL TO MY SYSTEM searches will now run off to the internet every time I look for a local document or application feels creepy.

I’m not sure why everyone is so excited about it.  Will Apple give me Wikipedia or WebMD links if I happen to search for a document “Cold” or will it bring up HR block if I search for “Tax Documents” ?


@mouring good point, lots of potential creepiness there. A private search option by adding “local” to the beginning or a check box would be good.

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