Alongside design and user interface changes that include an updated system font, more streamlined toolbars and a revamped Spotlight search function, OS X Yosemite will also include several features aimed at the business user.
Improvements to Mail and Safari accompany broader changes that make it simpler to move work from one Apple device to another.
Yosemite will be released as a free upgrade this fall, though Apple has opened a public beta to interested users who want to preview the changes. Here are five features Apple users in the enterprise should watch out for.
1. Handle email documents more easily.
Markup lets users annotate attachments through Apple’s Mail app, such as images, PDFs, forms, and other documents. To use Markup, users click Reply to make changes directly on the document, without leaving Mail. Markup allows people to draw on documents using the trackpad, or add a signature by signing directly onto the trackpad or by taking a photo with the Mac camera.
2. Send files up to 5GB without Dropbox.
Sending large files, such as videos or high-resolution images, has often required users to use a service such as Dropbox or Hightail. Mail Drop, a new feature for the Mac Mail app, lets users send files up to 5GB, no matter what attachment size limitations may exist for the email service used.
Users who are signed into iCloud will be able to send large files automatically by uploading the file to the storage service. Apple users will receive the attachment as per usual, while non-Apple users will receive a link to download the file. In Yosemite, these files can be found in a new folder called the iCloud Drive (located in the Finder window), which allows people to save files to the iCloud just by dragging them into the folder.
3. Get Wi-Fi access anywhere with the automatic hotspot.
Apple’s iPhones are already capable of generating a Wi-Fi hotspot, but the company has improved the feature to integrate more fully into the Mac ecosystem. Now, the hotspot will automatically appear in the Wi-Fi menu, with information about the iPhone’s signal and battery life, without any additional action required on the phone itself. To save battery life, the hotspot will turn off automatically if the Mac isn’t using the iPhone’s network.
4. Start work on your MacBook, finish on your iPhone.
OS X Yosemite’s Handoff feature syncs apps between Mac and iOS devices that are located near each other, including Mail, Safari, Apple’s productivity suite, Messages, Reminders, Calendar and Contacts. With Handoff, users can begin creating a presentation on their Mac and pick up on their iPad where they left off.
And, since Apple has made it possible for developers to program Handoff into future apps, more programs could soon have the functionality. Additionally, AirDrop now works between iOS and Mac devices, so that users can quickly share files between devices.
OS X Yosemite could convert enterprise users to Apple.
5. Talk and message with your computer.
Users will also be able to make and receive phone calls across both iOS and OS X Yosemite devices. When the user receives a call on the iPhone, the same call notification will pop up on any nearby Mac on the same Wi-Fi network. Answering the call from the Mac will turn the Mac into a speakerphone, though users can decline the call or send an iMessage in response, just as they would on an iPhone. One nifty trick? When a user dials into a conference call from a Calendar event using a Mac, the Mac automatically enters the passcode.
With an iPhone running the new iOS 8, users can also send and receive SMS messages with their Mac devices. All text messages that the iPhone receives, the Mac will also receive, even if the senders are not Apple device owners. Participants can also be added to conversations at any point, even if they weren’t originally on the list.
The Mac still has a long way to go before it can displace Windows PCs in the enterprise, but upgrades like Yosemite give it a boost in that direction.
Amy Lee is a business and technology reporter for CruxialCIO. She has written on technology for the Huffington Post and is a 2010 graduate of Yale University in English and writing.