The WWDC 2015 keynote came and went with the announcement of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. El Capitan seems to be the ‘Snow Leopard’ update of it’s generation. Meaning it is largely based on performance, security and stability, rather than new features and innovation. Overall, it delivers. Let’s dive into what we can expect when El Capitan drops late this summer.
THE ‘hot and new’ feature of El Capitan is definitely split screen. Having a bunch of windows cluttering your desktop was deemed undesirable as it distracts users from the task at hand. To remedy this, Apple developed full screen mode. In full screen, the application of your choice consumes the entirety of the screen, leaving you free of distractions. After a few years, Apple realized that there is some convenience to be had in using multiple apps at once, and now we have split screen.
It’s easy enough to resize a couple of windows to your liking but split screen takes the best part of full screen and delegates it between two apps of your choice. Once you’ve selected your two apps, Apple’s example is Messages and Maps, El Capitan automatically splits the two windows evenly and resizes everything for you. The two apps are also full screen, leaving you free from any other desktop distractions. This way you can message your friends about dinner plans while looking for a restaurant. Personally, this feature will be fantastic for writing these blogs. Research in Safari on one side, and Pages on the other. Split screen gets my vote.
The Notes app also received a major overhaul, not only in El Capitan, but on iOS 9 as well, and they all talk to each other via iCloud to stay in sync. The days of a simple text editor app are behind us. The newly redesigned Notes app is capable of much more. We now have the ability to add photos, videos, web pages, map locations, sketches (iOS), and more. Typed up a shopping list on your Mac? Now you can easily make it a checklist, open it up on your iDevice, and mark off each item as your traverse the grocery store. Notes is now a beautifully convenient mix of Notes, Pages and a sketchbook sort of app. The convenience levels are off the charts!
While new features are a bit sparse in this update, performance most definitely is not. App launching, app switching, and opening pdf’s all received significant speed boosts. iOS’s graphics performance booster ‘Metal’ also makes a move to mac. Metal is Apple’s way of allowing apps to access the GPU almost directly, therefore improving performance. Up to 50% faster graphics rendering and at 40% more efficient as well. This is good news for gamers and photo/video professionals alike.
Overall, what Mac OS X - El Capitan accomplishes is the addition of many small features and improvements. It may lack that ‘WOW! So new and shiny!’ that we’ve all come to love from Apple, but it more than makes up for it in it’s varied small but significant improvements. And after all, isn’t it the little things in life that truly matter?
-Shatter Buggy, Denver