Apple released to the public the beta version of its OS X 10.10 Yosemite operating system on Thursday. The beta had already been released to developers, but is now open to a limited number of Apple users, marking the first time since 2000 that Apple has made a Mac OS open to the public prior to its completion.
Yosemite, which is set to launch this fall, is the successor to Apple's Mavericks OS, which has been plagued with problems since it launched last October. Complaints from users include problems with installation, the Mail app and support for multiple monitors, as well as numerous other issues.
Yosemite was announced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco in June, and is said to support increased integration with Apple's iOS for mobile devices. The company released the fourth preview version of the OS to developers on July 21.
A Million Guinea Pigs
The public beta is limited to the first million users who sign up. Although Apple fans will have the opportunity to check out Yosemite's new look, some functionality such as making iPhone calls from your Mac or turning your iPhone into a hotspot for your Mac, will remain unavailable for now.
For those willing to brave the possible bugs in an unfinished piece of software, the beta can be installed on any Mac running Mavericks. The beta is free to download, as will be the full update in the fall. Users can sign up for the beta program using their Apple IDs.
Included among the improvements are a flatter look inspired by the current iOS design, an enhanced toolbar, changes to the way notifications work, and file-sharing with mobile devices through the AirDrop program, similar to the way Dropbox works.
Party Like It's 1999
Opening the latest OS beta to the public may give Apple a better shot at avoiding the problems and bad press that plagued Mavericks and the much derided iOS 7 update. However, the company appears to be looking to further integrate the styling of the two operating systems, with screenshots from Yosemite indicating that icons in 10.10 will sport the flatter look of recent iOS updates.
Apple hasn't released a public beta of an operating system since the introduction of OS X in 2000. Then, eager users could have a copy of the beta version mailed to them on a CD-ROM for $30. The company's latest move comes amidst allegations that security backdoors in iOS could allow surveillance and law enforcement agencies such as the National Security Agency to access user data stored on the company's 600 million mobile devices.
Cupertino has denied the accusations, saying that data cannot be transmitted to third parties without user consent. Apple said it had "never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services." The company has also been accused by Chinese journalists of collecting information on user locations within that country.
The security researcher who uncovered the backdoors, Jonathan Zdziarski, said he believed the vulnerabilities were unintentional weaknesses on Apple's part, rather than the result of overt cooperation with the NSA.
"I am not suggesting some grand conspiracy," Zdziarski said in a blog post. "There are, however, some services running in iOS that shouldn't be there, that were intentionally added by Apple as part of the firmware and that bypass backup encryption while copying more of your personal data than ever should come off the phone for the average consumer."
Posted: 2014-09-13 @ 11:28am PT
My Mac computer was a lovely gift from our granddaughter.
It came with OSX LEOPARD. Once that beast and I got to know each other I grew to love it. When I go to conventions I use a tape recorder to hold all the talks on for 3 days. I come home and using audacity I would transfer the info onto my computer then I would burn the talks on to a CD in MP3. One day, she talked me into updating to Mavericks. I hated it from the very start. Now any talk I try to burn is only in .wav and that does not hold nearly enough information as the MP3 holds. Now I can spend 2 hours putting both sides of my 2 hr. cassette tape into audacity only to have the program freeze up on me and I lose two hours work. Do you know how unpleasant that is? But that can be wiped out in a heartbeat because my computer freezes up and nothing else to do but shut it down. I could go on about how much I dislike the program but it does not solve anything for me. I think someone needs to walk me through deleting Mavericks and while hanging onto things I do not want to lose, they then need to explain how to reinstall my OSX Leopard and audacity so I can once again enjoy my Apple computer. If things don't change for the better, I'll have to go back to Windows or a friend uses another program I do not know but I could learn if it would let me do what I need to do. Thank you for listening...