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Bottom line: Should you upgrade to OS X Yosemite?

Christopher Breen | Oct. 23, 2014
Chris Breen considers the advances Yosemite brings to the Mac and what it means in Apple's vision of our computing future.

Notification Center widgets: In earlier versions of the Mac OS, if you wanted to venture outside the Mac and pull in data from the Internet, you turned to Dashboard. (Or you would have if Apple and developers hadn't lost interest in it.) Apple still seems to think this is a good idea but wants to make it more noticeable while, at the same time, not shoving these resources in your face. It does so through Notification Center widgets. Open Notification Center, scroll to the bottom, click on Edit, and you see a collection of widgets available to you, including Calculator, Stocks, Weather, and World Clock. These are a fine start, but like the Dashboard widgets before them, Notification Center widgets can be developed by third parties, which could make some very valuable information available to you with a single click.

iCloud Drive: Perhaps the most important development in regard to opening the OS is taking the shackles off iCloud file sharing. Much as you may have liked the ability to store your Pages, Numbers, and Keynote files in the cloud, if you wanted to sync other kinds of files--Microsoft Office documents, graphics files, and so on--you turned to a third-party service such as Dropbox,, OneDrive, or Google Drive. With iCloud Drive this isn't as necessary as it once was. Now you can store files in the cloud that were created by any app--either by moving them from within the Finder via the iCloud Drive entry that appears in a Finder window's sidebar or through a Save dialog box.

Where iCloud Drive remains incomplete is in its ability to share files with other people (though Mail's Mail Drop feature can serve as a workaround for files up to 5GB in size). For this reason we shouldn't expect Mac users to abandon other syncing services in a rush. But for those who don't need to routinely share files, a file-agnostic iCloud Drive makes for a more open cloud strategy, and a greater convenience for Apple's customers.

The right tool for the job
With the release of iOS 8, Apple introduced the first element of a computing environment that stressed moving appropriate tasks between devices. The idea being that when you have the opportunity to complete a task more easily on a device that has recently become available to you, you should be able to do so without a lot of fuss and bother. This is what drives the Continuity and Handoff features. In one instance you can start working in Pages on your iPad, for example, and then quickly pick it up on your Mac by "handing off" the open document from the tablet to the computer. In another case you can use your Mac to answer incoming calls made to your iPhone.


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