PETALING JAYA - Possibly disappointing anyone expecting a new iPhone or iPad, Apple's WWDC 2014 recently had no new hardware announcements, although there was a lot going on in terms of software.
Biggest of the announcements was the next operating system for the Mac, known as Mac OS X Yosemite, which gained a host of interesting improvements.
Chief amongst the changes was something Apple calls "Continuity", which boils down to much tighter integration between iOS and Mac OS X.
At its most basic level, Continuity allows for AirDrop now to work between iOS and Mac OS X,allowing you to transfer files between the Mac and iOS devices.
However, Apple has taken the concept a few steps further - using "proximity awareness", the user can be working on a document on the Mac and then simply open the iPad and continue working where he or she left off in the same document.
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, showed how a user can start typing an email on the iPhone and just by opening the Mail app on the Mac, automatically continue working on that same email, right where the user left off.
Continuity works both ways as well and if a user is say, browsing on Safari on the Mac, a simple swipe up on a nearby iPad in its lock screen will automatically open Safari and let the user continue at the same web page he or she was last at.
Mac OS X Yosemite's tighter integration with iOS 8 also allows for a few neat tricks using the iPhone as a relay, a user can make and receive calls (and even text messages) right from the Mac, essentially turning the Mac into something akin to a Bluetooth speakerphone.
This new proximity awareness concept also allows the user to have the Mac automatically recognise the user's iPhone and engage personal hotspot without having to first turn it on in the iPhone itself.
On the design front, Yosemite as expected introduces a more iOS-like design with flatter icons and fonts consistent with the look of iOS. For users who prefer a less bright design, Yosemite even includes a darker theme that should prove more pleasing to users who prefer more muted themes.
As far as iOS 8 goes, apart from the features introduced with Continuity, most of the major improvements were under the hood, with Apple introducing Metal, a new technology which allows games to access the A7 hardware more efficiently.