Review: Macs, Mobile Unite with Yosemite System

If you've upgraded your iPhone or iPad to iOS 8, the new software update for Mac computers will seem familiar. The Yosemite update to Apple's OS X system, available as a free download starting Thursday, adds several features to bring the Mac in line with last month's iOS 8 update for mobile devices. There's also new functionality to make Macs act more like iPhones.

Yosemite still has plenty of touches that make a Mac a Mac. But it continues a trend of breaking down barriers between the various devices as people depend more on smartphones and tablets for their everyday computing.

SEAMLESS

Let's say you're writing a lengthy email on your iPad and would prefer the Mac's keyboard. You can just click an icon on the lower left corner of the Mac and continue there. What you've already started on the iPad automatically appears on the Mac, including the "Sent from my iPad" footer.

It works with several other apps, too. The Safari Web browser opens to the specific page being viewed on the other device. The Maps app launches to the location you were viewing. This feature came in handy as I was chatting with a friend through Messages and got tired of pecking on the iPhone's small keyboard.

You can also start tasks on a Mac and continue on an iPhone or iPad.

HELLO!

Mac computers already come with a FaceTime app for videoconferencing, but that's limited to calling other FaceTime users. With Yosemite, you can make voice calls to anyone. Yosemite connects wirelessly to your iPhone to make and receive calls. The recipient sees Mac calls as coming from the iPhone's number.

You don't get video, and there's a slight lag with audio. In my tests, call quality was comparable to what you'd get over a speakerphone. It won't replicate a landline, but it's useful...

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