My only WWDC 2015 wish: a truly better OS X

In less than an hour the WWDC 2015 will begin. This time I haven’t been reading much about it, and I don’t know anything about related rumours. The only thing I’ve caught on Twitter about the next versions of OS X and iOS is that for both, the focus will probably be more on technical refinements than a superficial list of shiny new features. Oh, and that the San Francisco font will probably become the new system font for OS X 10.11. If these things turn out to be true, well, it’s good news to me.

I’ve nothing to complain about iOS 8, actually. It has been working very well on all of my and my wife’s iOS devices (iPhone 5, iPad 2, iPad 3), and I’ve enjoyed all the new features and improvements over iOS 7. Such improvements, I feel, have made sense, and have noticeably contributed to an overall better iOS experience.

Those who have been following me for a while now will already know what I think about OS X Yosemite. While iOS 8 has truly felt like an improvement over iOS 7 and a further step in the right direction, I can’t say the same about Yosemite. Full disclosure here: at the risk of sounding full of bullshit and unprofessional — no, my stance on OS X Yosemite doesn’t come from direct experience. I still haven’t installed it on my MacBook Pro, and I don’t intend to even if the Mac technically supports it. But I have had enough of it from indirect or ‘quasi-direct’ experience, meaning I’ve used other people’s Macs with Yosemite installed, usually to perform some troubleshooting session.

So far, even without installing it on my Mac, I can say that Yosemite has largely been an unreliable experience, and has felt unnecessary for my Mac computing needs. Let me reiterate the point: the impression of unreliability and unpredictability is not merely derived from hearsay, or simply based on the (admittedly numerous) complaints people have voiced online. It’s something I’ve witnessed with my own eyes when assisting other users with Yosemite installed on their Mac. Most of these users, I should add, are rather tech-savvy people, not Mac novices at all.

As for considering Yosemite an unnecessary upgrade: last year, I was initially excited by this new version of OS X. Especially when it was confirmed it would run on my aging mid-2009 MacBook Pro. I couldn’t wait to take advantage of what I considered the best innovation in Yosemite: Continuity and Handoff. I was ready to forget about my utter dislike for Neue Helvetica as system font and the new design of the user interface. But when I realised that Continuity wasn’t supported by my MacBook Pro’s hardware, the initial enthusiasm rapidly faded away. Meanwhile, friends and acquaintances who had upgraded started asking for my help — their Macs felt more sluggish, they had all kinds of problems with Wi-Fi, and so on.

So I began delaying the upgrade on my Mac. I waited for 10.10.1, then 10.10.2, then 10.10.3… But meanwhile I’ve also been asking myself, more and more frequently, what’s the point? Why should I install Yosemite on my Mac? Mavericks works fine. I don’t like Yosemite’s UI. I don’t have a retina display nor have I good eyesight, so Neue Helvetica is a definite step back compared to Lucida Grande. The only aspect of Yosemite that could be truly useful to me — Handoff — is not supported on my Mac (and my iOS devices are too old anyway). Photos for Mac alone is not compelling enough. Why lose time to install, and then surely troubleshoot, OS X Yosemite, when I can stay on Mavericks, keep working in an environment that’s stable and doesn’t give me surprises or show unexpected behaviour, and whose user interface I actually like better?

So here we are. The WWDC 2015 is about to start, and I really want to know what are the plans for OS X 10.11. I do hope Apple’s focus will be on offering a sort of ‘stable version of Yosemite’ kind of update, like Snow Leopard was to Leopard a few years back. I have come to a point in my computing experience where I’m more interested in stability rather than new features for the sake of adding features. How innovation is implemented is more important to me than innovation ‘just because,’ if you know what I mean. Therefore, my only wish for OS X 10.11 is that it doesn’t feel as ‘beta’ as Yosemite still feels after a few minor updates.

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About Riccardo Mori

Writer. Translator. Mac consultant. Enthusiast photographer. • If you like what I write, please consider supporting my writing by purchasing my short stories, Minigrooves or by making a donation. Thank you!