It has been a busy year for Apple, although one could argue it has been more of a busy few months. The yearly updates for most of Apple's products now occur in September and October, and as a result we've seen the release of a number of new products and services in a very short period of time. On the hardware side we have the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3, the iMac with Retina 5K display, and a preview of the upcoming Apple Watch. The software side has arguably been even more exciting with the release of iOS 8 and its first major update iOS 8.1, OS X Yosemite, and Apple Pay. 

The theme this year appears to be integration and the power of a software and hardware ecosystem. Apple has always had some level of integration between iOS and OS X. As time went on, both operating systems began to share a core set of applications like Reminders, Calendar, and Notes. The iPad extended this even further by bringing the iWork and iLife suites to mobile. iCloud also played a key role in integrating both systems, by synchronizing documents and photos between all of a user's devices. However, the launch of iOS 7 with its visual and functional enhancements left many of the shared features and applications on OS X feeling left behind.

OS X Yosemite brings with it a massive visual overhaul, on a scale even greater than what we saw with iOS 7. This makes sense, as OS X is an operating system for desktops and laptops which makes it inherently more expansive and complex than iOS. Although OS X is not nearly as popular as iOS in terms of user base, the fact that the redesign changes some visual elements that have existed for over 14 years makes it quite a monumental moment in Apple's history. These changes finally unify the visual styles of both operating systems, which were once united but split with the launch of iOS 7.

The integration of these two operating systems goes far beyond a common type of visual design. OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1 also include new features that allow them to work together in unprecedented ways. Features like Handoff blur the borders between the iPhone, the Mac, and the iPad by allowing you to continue work you began on one device on another. SMS and call forwarding takes communication abilities that were typically reserved for the iPhone and brings them to every device.

There's a lot to talk about, and it all begins at the aesthetic level with the new design of Yosemite.

A New Design For OS X
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  • ant1pathy - Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - link

    > $1399 lenovo y50

    Form factor and battery life. Compare the two:

    Y504k: 15.24" x 10.37" x 0.94" 5.29lbs | Up to 4 hour(s) battery
    rMBP: 14.13" x 9.73" x 0.71" 4.46lbs | Up to 8 hours wireless web 95watthour
  • monopodman - Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - link

    Yep, rMBP also has Thunderbolt 2 merged with Displayport 1.2 (guaranteed 4K@60hz support for external screen, not sure if HDMI in Lenovo is up to the task, because even HDMI 1.4 supports only 4K@30hz which is .... useless most of the time). I'm actively using Thunderbolt for data connectivity (faster and lower latency than USB3.0, more power (10W) for large external SSDs, universal dock-stations etc.)....
  • Morawka - Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - link

    how many people are going to drive a 4k display off their laptop? not many
  • zogus - Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - link

    Considering the internal display of the laptop in question is 4K, the answer is "more than you seem to think."
  • Ratman6161 - Monday, November 3, 2014 - link

    For a lot of people the $600 Best Buy laptop or even, yes, the $400 best buy laptop are good enough for their needs. Yes, at the higher end the prices work out to often being nearly the same for comparable configurations. The thing is that for the person for whom a low end configuration is good enough, there is no "comparable configuration". Apple doesn't even try to play in that market - so those folks are going to go Windows.

    Also, why should Apple focus on making OSX and iOS play together more seamlessly? The numbers of iOS users are several orders of magnitude greater than those using a Mac. So what are all those iPad and iPhone users using on their desktop or laptop? The answer for the vast majority is...Windows. So might Apple actually be better off focusing their attentions on making iOS work seamlessly with Windows? There will be vastly more people out there using Windows + iOS than there are using OSX + iOS...just saying...
  • sbuk - Sunday, March 22, 2015 - link

    That's some pretty advanced stupid right there...
  • Anangrypotato1 - Monday, October 27, 2014 - link

    Can you tell me why they do it other than for profit? I bought a 2013 MBA, and I see no reason why I shouldn't be allowed to replace the RAM, CPU, or whatever else I want to.
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - link

    Soldering the parts onto the logic board saves space, which is crucial for a laptop like MBA.
  • ant1pathy - Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - link

    The 2013 MBA isn't possible while also providing easy user accessibility. Form factor has consequences.
  • monopodman - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - link

    Here's why Apple use soldered RAM:

    1) it saves space (<- no room needed for connectors)
    2) easier routing (-> less space on motherboard, lower resistive and capacitive load on IMC)
    3) better performance (<- lower latency due to lower RC time constant, which is good in a laptop that usually runs hotter than desktop or DTR-sized laptop)
    4) when maxed out to 16GB, there's no need to upgrade (it probably won't be possible to use 2x16gb sticks regardless)
    5) repairability is a deliberate compromise
    6) extra markup for Apple from "power users", who otherwise would buy 3rd party RAM
    7) many ultrabook manufacturers are switching to soldered RAM

    There're almost no laptops with replaceable CPU because
    1) assembly becomes thicker
    2) only oriented on power users (removing heatsink/thermal compound isn't trivial)
    3) isn't good for marketing

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