Ars Technica reviews OS X Yosemite: A great victory for the newly collaborative Apple

“Yosemite and iOS 8 are the first great victories for the newly collaborative Apple,” John Siracusa writes for Ars Technica. “The visual coherence between the products blessedly obsoletes the former one-way mimicry and reflects a deeper technological unity. Features like Handoff that require cooperation in all stages of development, from conceptualization to execution, are evidence of an Apple that puts the needs of its customers ahead of departmental divisions.”

“The political and technical battles inherent in the former two-track development strategy for OS X and iOS left both products with uncomfortable feature disparities. Apple now correctly views this as damage and has set forth to repair it,” Siracusa writes. “Viewed in isolation, Yosemite provides a graphical refresh accompanied by a few interesting features and several new technologies whose benefits are mostly speculative, depending heavily on how eagerly they’re adopted by third-party developers. But Apple no longer views the Mac in isolation, and neither should you. OS X is finally a full-fledged peer to iOS; all aspects of sibling rivalry have been banished.”

“The Mac today is just one part of a conceptually, organizationally, and (increasingly) technologically unified platform that spans from wrist to workstation. The hardware-based platforms of the past remain relevant to developers, but Apple seems determined to make them much less important to its customers,” Siracusa writes. “With Yosemite, the Mac has taken its first step into a larger world.”

Massive amounts more in the full, extremely comprehensive 25-page review – recommended – here.

Related articles:
The Verge reviews Apple’s OS X Yosemite: ‘Turns your Mac into more than just a PC’ – October 18, 2014
Digital Trends reviews Apple’s OS X Yosemite: ‘The perfect desktop operating system’ – October 17, 2014


  1. Well, here is a disparity: try duplicating* a calendar event in iOS. Takes quite a bit of trickery, while this has been possible for ages in OSX. (copy/paste, that’s it. basic osx ui stuff).
    (*) For occasionally reoccurring events at varying times or person’s (e.g., 2 kids’ swimming lessons) with lots of settings, it helps greatly to duplicate an event, then change only one setting.

    1. Scott was and is a genius and we will forever be indebted to his work. The iPhone has changed my life just like the Mac has in numerous ways. I am very grateful for his contribution.

      1. Agreed. I hope my appreciation didn’t get lost. Scott drove the team forward and only now is the Mac team catching up. It’s unclear if the bridge between the two could have been built while Scott was championing the iOS direction. The evidence suggests not, but that shouldn’t diminish in any way the contribution he made nor what the team delivered.

    1. Your iMac may feels brand new because it is pretty new, otherwise Handoff won’t work.

      These new features are only available to Macs and IOS devices that are running the latest versions of OSX and IOS. If one of your devices is no longer supported, then you can’t use it.

      I’m all for greater functionality between devices, but I also want to be able to use my devices for a reasonable number of years. We’re now looking at a situation where you will need to keep replacing your Macs, iPads and iPhone pretty well every two or three years if you want to continue using them together.

      Apple sell quality hardware that is capable of lasting for many years, but it reaches the end of it’s useful life much earlier than that due to lack of software updates which would be needed for continued operation with newer devices and services.

      The cost of replacing the Apple gear on an ongoing basis is just part of the cost. When you get a new version of OS X, there is invariably some software that will no longer function without an upgrade, while on the hardware front, there’s often a peripheral ( printer or scanner ) where the manufacture no longer provides drivers for the new OS, so you need to buy another.

      1. No one snuck into your house and yanked functionality from your devices or computer. Is it sad that new ideas and opportunities are now constantly becoming available and bring implemented in annual refreshes of hardware and software? No.

  2. Very happy with Yosemite, despite the anorexic appearance. Safari has become my favorite browser over the years. Frequent improvements, nothing revolutionary, and nobody else seems to have Reader.

    Would be happier if they fixed the “Other” problem with the iPad. I have the iPad mini with 16 GB, and Other eats it alive. Fireball had an item about it today, I’ve had to live with it for at least a year.

    1. I’m really confused by those who post such concerns. I have in my Accounts list at present 12 accounts, 11 of which are IMAP and one is POP. I haven’t seen syncing problems since Mountain Lion. Gmail, iCloud, Work, and Hosting service all sync fine (it’s only my ISP who doesn’t offer IMAP).

      1. The mail syncing problem is a combination of Mail and the mail server. An email’s status as flagged, read, unread, deleted, and so on, is in an ASCII string (a flag) in the header of the message. Some servers don’t get the flags right. Mail clients can recognize the variants, but only if the developers know about them.

        I have MailMate. My personal email account wasn’t syncing correctly. I gave the developer an account on my server and he discovered that my email server’s software, which I can’t change, is an older version that produces idiosyncratic files. Since others might be effective, he modified MailMate to recognize them. Now everything syncs correctly.

        Put in a bug report to Apple describing the problem and giving the name and version of the mail software on your server. They will quickly fix it in five or six years.

    1. John Siracusa’s work has always been deep and exhaustively detailed. Either that is your thing or it is not. There are plenty of 3 paragraph “fluff pieces” that you can read if you are not that interested in the details.

  3. Just a reminder that not everyone is in love with Yosemite. Personally, I find the iTunes 12 interface so brain-dead and counter-productive that this one app alone may be enough to keep me from ever installing Yosemite on my main machine. Your mileage may vary.

  4. 1- Why did Apple change Safari so that deleting your browser history ALSO deletes all your cookies? In my experience, Safari tends to get unstable after a season if the history is not purged but on previous versions cookies were unaffected. This jacks around your banking, subscribed news sites and others that keep cookies.
    2- What idiot jacked up iTunes? The new interface is awful for editing/adding metadata to added media files or for manual, wired sync of iOS devices of the drag and drop variety.
    The UI looks like it was designed by someone who has never owned an iPod, iPad, iPhone or was determined to eff up the experience.
    Friday night before leaving on a trip I was loading media on my iPad (32GB) and had deleted all local backups and had deleted all media on the device. iTunes kept trying to put deleted media back on the device despite not having a backup to reference. It also liked to double load some media files and was stubborn about removing them. How Microsoftian.
    3- Mail is better but still not ready for prime time.
    4- That white trashcan has GOT to go.
    5- Dark mode should extend to all UI elements so we can protect our eyes from snow blindness.

    There is a lot more, but it is typical Apple Beta ware disguised as a release version of software.

    1. Use a metadata editor such as Meta Z (free) on media files. The big advantage is that the metadata is not in iTunes, but in the file itself.

      System icons are stored in a bundle in /system/library, so you can’t find them by searching, but you can find them by exploring. Copy the Mavericks icons over the Yosemite icons and restart. No more invisible trash can, no more luminescent folders, just the beauty that Apple once was.

      I don’t know a way to make the colors more saturated to prevent the snow blindness. Until someone figures it out, we’ll have to wear ski goggles, I suppose.

      It would be better if Jony Ive hired an artist to fix this rather than leave it to us.

    2. iTunes 12 is too different from previous versions, I’ll agree. It’s taking a lot of effort to figure out where things went. I like to drag audiobooks from the listing over to the device, and was staring at the UI thinking how’s this going to happen? But then I just dragged over to the left and the list of devices magically popped out to where I could drop them. Yes, I’m glad that worked; but if I hadn’t “had no fear” and hadn’t known that devices were in the left hand sidebar on previous versions would I have had success?

      I wish so much important proprietary stuff wasn’t wrapped into iTunes so that third parties could release media management tools that were less bloated and more intuitive.

  5. Yosemite and iOS have a strangely retro UI, reminiscent of flat 60s cartoons. It makes me feel like I’m using a Flintstone phone in public. It leaves me yearning for the days when Apple made beautiful products that were designed for adults. All those wonderful new features aren’t compelling when they are wrapped up in an eye-searing UI with extraterrestrial colors.

    You can fix many of the deficiencies of Yosemite by copying Mavericks icons into the coreservices bundle. Everything will work fine, but you can’t change that Bugs-Bunny-run-over-by-a-steam-roller effect.

    The UI suits many people just fine, especially those who are too young to remember Yogi Bear. However, in the 1990s, Apple had a problem overcoming the “word on the street” that Macs were toys. If Jony Ive had designed the UI back then, there would be no Apple today.

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