OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 6: Mac and iOS Integration

Here is the status of the other issues I’ve been speaking to over the past few beta releases.

Installation and Startup

Yosemite DP6 was delivered as an UPDATE to DP5. There isn’t a full download, and I don’t know why. When I went to redeem the install code that I got with my Developer Program Membership, the App Store told me it was already redeemed.

The update appeared in the App Store and installed without issue.  Restart was quicker than with DP5. Performance since then has been better than with previous versions of Yosemite.

Mac and iOS Integration

mac_and_ios_mac_ios

Yosemite and iOS 8 when paired together truly provide a remarkable Apple experience.  The only problem I’ve encountered so far is that the reality isn’t measuring up to the vision.  I’m hopeful that future releases of the OS fulfill the vision before its ready for the public release of the new desktop OS.

Phone Calls
This is perhaps the coolest thing I’ve seen in Yosemite so far. Continuity might be cool, but iOS integration is the bomb. I love the fact that I can use my Mac as a speaker phone. However, this is the part of the vision that isn’t really quite there yet. Perhaps is the fan issue that I mentioned earlier (partially, I think), perhaps is the Bluetooth audio quality between my Mac and my iPhone 5 (more likely).  Whatever the issue and cause might be, there’s still a lot of work that needs to get done in order to have this feature working correctly.

If there’s one feature that Apple can really work on more than any other, this is what I would prefer they spend their time working on.  More than any other Yosemite feature I think this is the one that I will personally get the most use out of. I can actually see me using this one a lot.  I’m all over my iPhone and there’s no reason why my Mac and iPhone 5 shouldn’t be able to handle the full load required to make this feature truly rock.

Messages
In previous versions of OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, messages didn’t quite live up to the vision that Craig Federighi outlined at the WWDC Keynote.  Messages has always handled iOS messaging well. (Honestly, it should…it was designed to do just that.)  Where it fell short was non-iOS messaging – sending and receiving messages between a Mac or iOS device and a non-Mac or non-iOS device.

In Yosemite DP6, this appears to be working as designed.  Not only are non-iOS messages received correctly (as they were in previous betas), but you can now send messages to that non-iOS or non-Apple device without any issues.  I really have to hand it to Apple. They make communicating with non-Apple-centric devices on your Mac, very easy now.  This is the way that Messages should have worked from the beginning.

FaceTime
I think this is the area where most of the Mac and iOS integration issues are stemming from, but I could be wrong.  It seems that Apple is wanting FaceTime to be the PC based hub for all non-written communications integration between your Mac and your iPhone.  All of your call history from your iPhone is synchronized with FaceTime when the phone is physically connected to your Mac.  This includes not only your cellular calls, but FaceTime audio and video calls as well.

When you want to make a cellular call from your Mac, you can use either FaceTime or you can use Contacts to find the number. I’ve noticed that regardless of what desktop app you use, searching for a number is delayed as the app tries to search through your contacts for the search string you’re actively typing.  The more contacts you have, the longer the delay.  While this was more pronounced in earlier beta’s, this is still an issue here in DP6.

The audio quality here is still very, VERY bad.  For personal or casual calls, its not that big of a deal.  For business calls, I would not use this feature yet.  You’re just going to have to hang up and call them from your iPhone or a land line.

One of the biggest problems that I have with this particular feature is that the integration at times seems a bit too tight.  Its still very difficult to get my Mac to actually answer the call.  It takes a bit to get the call to really connect/answer.  If you try to answer a call from your iPhone, the call has issues reverting back to the handset… and your Mac continues to ring, even after you’ve gotten the call to answer on the  iPhone.   There needs to be a better hand off between the iPhone and the Mac in this situation.  Apple needs to lock in the hook a bit better and then allow for easy – or better yet – easier unhooking as well.  Right now, the integration between the two needs some strengthening and needs a better, more reliable way of – uh-hem, consciously uncoupling – when you need it to.

Personally, I think there’s a problem relying on FaceTime on the desktop to drive desktop communications and integration between your Mac and your iPhone.  Don’t get me wrong. It makes sense.  However, Apple is totally rewriting FaceTime and its exposing and creating a lot of holes.

The biggest issue right now is that all of the changes are effecting the FaceTime service.  This may be part of what is causing the spike in my fan RPM’s.  There’s likely some kind of FaceTime Stub that runs when your Mac starts, but for some reason isn’t properly activating when needed.

For example, FaceTime video calls don’t always ring on my Mac, even when FaceTime is running on my Mac. I can’t tell you have aggravating that is. When I’m home, I’d much rather take ALL communications – FaceTime Audio/Video as well as cellular calls – through my Mac than on my iPhone.  It should just be a connected, unused accessory when recognized by your Mac, especially if its physically cabled to your Mac.  This is yet another weak integration link that needs to be tightened up quickly.  We’re running out of time in the DP/ Beta time period.

Conclusion

In true Apple fashion, OS X Yosemite 10.10 Developer Preview 6/ Public Beta 2 is an evolutionary update to Developer Preview 5/ Public Beta 1.  Its clear that progress is being made, but at this point, Apple’s standard incremental BS has got to stop. They need to step on the gas and really tighten up their code between their two-week sprints.  Otherwise, I’m not entirely convinced that they’re going to realize the vision that Craig Federighi outlined for us about three or so months ago.  I would hate for the realization of this vision to not be fulfilled until 10.10.2 or 10.10.3.  That would be a bit too late, don’t you think?

When its all said and done, Yosemite should be a really cool OS release. This is some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen on a PC since the introduction of the original iPAQ 3600 back in the day.  The integration is unprecedented, and some of the most innovative work that has been completed since the introduction of the mouse back in 1984.  I’d like to see Microsoft introduce cutting edge features like this that enhance the feature set in Windows (rather than completely remaking the face of it, as MetroUI did).

And speaking of YOUR opinion, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. I’ve really tried not to rah-rah too much in Apple’s direction. I don’t want to come off as a fan boy too much.  Yes, there’s a lot to like here; but I hope I’m being critical enough to provide as well rounded an opinion as possible.

So, what do you think?  Are you using any of the Apple Beta’s?  Are you a registered developer and have DP6 installed?  Were you able to download a full release of DP6, or did you get it as an update as I did? Do you have a Thunderbolt Display?  Are you having fan issues on your Mac when the Display is connected?  I know I’m using it as a docking station (I’ve got all of the ports filled on the back of the Display); but I didn’t think that would be an issue that would cause the Mac’s fan RPM’s to spike and remain high as they have.

Why don’t you meet me in the discussion area below and let me know what you think of these new developments.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this, as I’d like to be able to focus some of my comments and attention on your issues as the DP and Beta periods come to a close.

back to OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 6: Introduction

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