So long Yosemite, hello El Capitan. Apple just announced the latest version of its desktop operating system, OS X (10.11) El Capitan, at its WWDC conference in San Francisco. And while Yosemite gave us a major visual overhaul, this time around, Apple seems to be focused on polishing its desktop experience. It's similar to the minor refresh we got with Snow Leopard (El Capitan is a rock formation inside Yosemite National Park). So what's new? Gesture capabilities, for one. You'll be able to swipe to delete messages in the mail app, just like iOS. Spotlight search has also been improved, with support for natural-language queries like "Documents I worked on last June." You'll also be able to juggle windows more easily by easily snapping them side by side, or by creating split-screen views (both of which seem reminiscent of Windows 8).
Apple is also bringing its Metal graphics rendering engine, which first appeared on iOS, over to the desktop with El Capitan. That should make it easier for developers to port their games over, and it's also something developers can include in media-heavy applications. Adobe, for example, says it will bring Metal to all of its Creative Suite apps, including Photoshop and Illustrator. Apple's also gotten support from developers like Epic Games, 2K Games and The Foundry.
Developers can get their hands on El Capitan today, while the rest of us will have to wait until this fall for the official release. In the end, it still looks similar to the first version of OS X Apple launched almost 15 years ago. And while consistency and refinement is great and all, with Windows 10 on the horizon, we're eager to see how Apple plans to eventually evolve its approach to the desktop.