One thing that used to fascinate me in Ikea shop were the fake computers: plastic shells, with the screen’s content printed out on some adhesive transparency. They never contained a real user interface, more a designer’s vision of a UI, with an extremely high-resolution, you could never see the pixels.
When I installed OS X version 10 on my laptop, it was connected to an external display, i.e a low resolution screen, and my first reaction was, it look horrible. Then I disconnected the displayed and used it as a standalone laptop, and my thoughts were that someone finally implemented this Ikea user interface: the font is Helvetica and the user interface is extremely pure, a lot like the tools I have seen to do UI mocks.
While there still are pixels down the line, they are not relevant anymore, this new UI could have been draw using vector graphics, while this is not the case, just a trickery of multiplying everything by two. Vector logic will come later, maybe. The important thing is that pixels are not important anymore, in a sense this is the same transition as when colour stopped being an issue: pixels were in RGB, no discussion.
Under the hood, I could not find many changes, the
terminal program has become more user-friendly with mouse-scroll and search support, sometimes it scares to see how far this DEC terminal emulator was dragged. I did not have the opportunity to test out the continuity features, i.e. the ability to answer phone calls on the laptop. What I find interesting is that my phone now always appears among the possible WiFi hot-spots.
I have the feeling that Apple is somehow following Intel’s tic/toc approach to release, one of two has many internal changes while the other is about UI and new APIs. Yosemite clearly falls into the later. With its focus on extensions and integration APIs, it was to be expected to have few visible changes, they will come when developer embrace them.
If you have a Mac with a retina display this update is really nice. For the other, the new UI might be a problem. As always, Ars Technica has a long and exhaustive review.