Kicking it New School with OS X and iOS 8

Apple’s been doing some interesting things over the last couple of years. The updates to OS X and iOS 8 have included the kinds of things we’d expect from Apple, and some things that we never thought they’d consider. Take Continuity and Extensions, for example.

The One We Expected

Continuity is the kind of thing we’d expect from Apple. It’s a system for providing a seamless experience between the Mac and iOS. It allows me to pick up where I left off when I switch to a different device.

I’m typing this blog post in Byword right now. If I had to get up and leave[1], I could pick up my iPad. Because Byword supports Continuity, a little Byword icon will appear on the lock screen. I can unlock the iPad by sliding on the Byword icon and my document is ready for me to continue working.

Armed thusly with my Bluetooth keyboard, I set off in search of coffee.

That’s the kind of feature we’ve always expected from Apple. In fact, most of us have wondered why this wasn’t included years ago. The introduction of the Mac App Store would have been a great opportunity. Now that I have it, I find it difficult to live without it.

The One We Dreamed of but Dared not Hope

But let’s consider Extensibility. The collection of features lets an app extend its functionality into another app. 1Password uses this to great effect in iOS 8 to extend the password manager’s services into Safari. Rather than using 1Password’s built in browser[2] I can tap the “Share” button and select the 1Password icon.

I never expected Apple to ease up on sandboxing[3]. This was especially true when Apple introduced the Mac App Store with a sandboxing rule for apps. Apple isn’t throwing off every constraint, though. They are opening the door just enough to provide enhanced functionality for the apps in the app store.

The Payoff

Both of these additions to OS X and iOS 8 will alter the way we use our computers. They remove one more barrier between us and our work, letting us work on the things we need to work on regardless of the device we’re using. We’ll dig in to some of the other features that enable this sort of behavior in the coming months.

What’s you’re favorite feature in the new operating systems? Let me know what you think of Yosemite and iOS 8 in the comments below.

  1. Sometimes you need an emergency latté.  ↩

  2. Or worse, copying and pasting passwords like previous version  ↩

  3. Sandboxing is the way apps work in iOS and OS X(in some cases). Each application runs in it’s own “sandbox” and has access only to the features provided by the operating system. This is a more secure way to run apps so that they cannot interfere with the rest of the system. The downside is that it prevents any interoperability between apps that’s not expressly allowed by the OS.  ↩