WWDC 2015

All the de­tails on OS X 10.11 and iOS 9 from Ap­ple’s devel­oper con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco

Mac Format - - CONTENTS - Words: Alex Blake, Chris­tian Hall, Craig Grannell, Alan Stone­bridge Im­ages: Ap­ple

XThe next ver­sion of OS X shares its name with a fa­mous rock for­ma­tion within Yosemite na­tional park. Think of El Cap­i­tan be­ing to Yosemite as Snow Leop­ard was to Leop­ard: sim­i­lar on the sur­face, but with a strong fo­cus on im­prov­ing the per­for­mance of your Mac (El Cap­i­tan will run on the same hard­ware as its pre­de­ces­sor). How­ever, per­for­mance hasn’t been Ap­ple’s sole fo­cus for this ver­sion. It also says that your ex­pe­ri­ence of us­ing a Mac to get things done will im­prove. In fact, there’s much cause for ex­cite­ment, es­pe­cially if your Mac is more than three years old at this point, in which case you might have been dis­ap­pointed that ma­jor fea­tures of Yosemite – Hand­off and cross-plat­form Air­Drop with iOS – aren’t avail­able to you. The fea­tures demon­strated at WWDC in­cluded many small, use­ful tweaks that should re­duce, or even re­move, long-stand­ing fric­tions of work­ing with a Mac.

Chief among the im­prove­ments is a dra­matic sim­pli­fi­ca­tion for work­ing with two apps side-by-side, which we talk about on page 22. Be­tween that and Sa­fari’s new fea­tures, it feels like Ap­ple is fi­nally get­ting around to deal­ing with very real frus­tra­tions in OS X. The Sa­fari web browser at last gives you the power to mute noisy pages, and to do so se­lec­tively so you don’t miss out on cues from web apps. When a site is emit­ting sound, its tab and the Smart Search Field both dis­play a speaker icon. The one in the Smart Search Field serves as a master vol­ume con­trol for all tabs, with op­tions to mute all tabs or spe­cific ones – a use­ful de­gree of con­trol if you use web apps that use sound to in­form you of things like the ar­rival of new mes­sages or a meet­ing re­quest.

It’s eas­ier to keep web­sites and web apps you de­pend upon to hand. All you need to do is drag a tab to the left of the tab bar, which re­duces it to a smaller tab bear­ing just the site’s icon. Pinned sites re­main in place even af­ter you close and then re­open Sa­fari.

Sa­fari also works bet­ter with Air­Play in those mo­ments when you want to stream a video – handy at home on the sofa and es­pe­cially in pre­sen­ta­tions where you might not want peo­ple to

It feels like Ap­ple is fi­nally get­ting around to deal­ing with very real frus­tra­tions in OS X

see ev­ery­thing else that’s on your screen. Ap­ple says you only need to click the Air­Play icon that ap­pears on com­pat­i­ble videos, by which we ex­pect it means of the HTML5 va­ri­ety; don’t ex­pect to use this on sites that haven’t moved with the times. Rel­e­gated to a bullet point in Ap­ple’s key­note, the font used by the el­e­gant Sa­fari Reader fea­ture is now cus­tomis­able.

In re­cent ver­sions, OS X has adopted el­e­ments of iOS – the Share menu, No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­ter and the Photos app among them. El Cap­i­tan’s ver­sion of Mail con­tin­ues this shift to­wards con­sis­tent be­hav­iour so that you can easily move be­tween Macs and iOS de­vices. Rather than hav­ing to get into the mind­set to use key­board short­cuts, or move the pointer be­tween the mes­sage list and the tool­bar, you can sim­ply swipe right­wards on a mes­sage to mark it as un­read, or left­wards to trash it. This ap­pears to make triag­ing your mail much quicker, though there’s still the is­sue of build­ing up mus­cle mem­ory to swipe us­ing more fin­gers when do­ing this on a Mac.

Ap­ple’s mak­ing a big deal about new fonts and in­put meth­ods for its cus­tomers in China and Ja­pan, but our cousins in the east aren’t alone in get­ting ty­po­graphic treats. One of El Cap­i­tan’s sub­tler changes is a new sys­tem font, just one year af­ter Hel­vetica Neue ousted Lu­cida Grande. In fact, iOS and watchOS will also fea­ture vari­a­tions of the San Fran­cisco font fam­ily found in OS X. Cur­rently, Ap­ple has made beta ver­sions of them avail­able only for de­vel­op­ers. In the mean­time, you can watch a WWDC video that ex­plains the new font’s de­sign: http://bit.ly/mfwwd­c­fonttalk.

With Sa­fari in El Cap­i­tan you can, at last, mute those an­noy­ing noisy web pages.

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