Apple Releases Free OS X Yosemite Beta; Sign Of Something New?


Apple fans have been rewarded.

Today, Apple released a free beta version of OS X Yosemite ahead of its official release in the fall.

The first million subscribers to the beta program's website will be able to test it out and send feedback on their user experience.

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The release of the beta version of the operating system has caused a bit of a commotion, as the beta website crashed due to heavy traffic just hours after the OS was released.

It's been a long time since Apple made a move like this.

Prior to this year, Apple hadn't released a free beta version of an OS since the original OS X and, similarly, OS 9 users couldn't wait to get their hands on it.

Of course, Apple is seeking as much feedback on the new OS as possible, but to go about it in this way might tell us something.

"It tells me there is a new product coming," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at SIGMAnet, an Ontario, Calif.-based Apple partner. "Usually when there is a release like this, it's because they've developed some sort of new hardware platform. The OS is supposed to have an entirely new interface, which signals an entirely new device."

This does coincide with rumors and reports of new Apple products coming this fall, and Apple CEO Tim Cook himself voiced his excitement about "new products and services that we can't wait to introduce," during the company’s quarterly earnings call on Tuesday. What those new products are remains to be seen.

"Because [Yosemite] is released to such a wide audience, it means they are trying to get widespread adoption for what they have coming in the fall," said Monteros.

"I believe there is something coming that supports a new style. Something that is entirely fresh and entirely new."

The beta version of OS X Yosemite released today for Apple regulars is different from the version that was released to app developers earlier in the week. It is not known what the significant difference between the two are at this point, however, the developer's version will be updated more periodically than the beta version released today.

For those who have their hearts set on landing the preview to Apple's newest OS, don't expect to get the full user experience. While demoed at Apple's World Wide Developers conference in early June, OS X Yosemite drew a lot of attention with its seamless connectivity features with iOS 8. Those features are not available in the beta version as iOS 8 is yet to be released, and those features will not work with iOS 7.

When announced at WWDC, Apple execs showed off OS X Yosemite’s new and improved user interface, as it is more aesthetically pleasing and has a similar look to iOS.

The Handoff feature garnered applause as it seamlessly connects iOS 8 devices to OS X Yosemite machines. With Handoff, users can start their work on an iOS 8 iPad, and continue it on an OS X Yosemite-operated Mac, and vice versa.  

With Yosemite, notifications from a user's iPhone will appear on a desktop or laptop that is synched to the iPhone, even if the iPhone is in another room.

The OS also features a cloud-based Dropbox, and AirDrop working across both iOS and OSX platforms. 

PUBLISHED JULY 24, 2014