Apple desktop and laptop computers will play better with iPads and iPhones via new Continuity integration features on iOS 8.1 and MacOS X Yosemite, available free, starting Monday for iOS 8.1 and today for Yosemite.
"With Continuity, your devices are aware of each other and allow you to work at any moment with the device that's right for that time," said Craig Federighi [cq], Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, during a livestreamed event where the company announced the availability of the two OSes.
In addition to working with the Continuity technology, iOS 8.1 will also support Apple Pay and fix the bugs that have plagued iOS 8.
When users place an iOS 8.1 device near a Mac computer, a technology called Handoff lets them pass an activity from one to the other, such as web browsing on Safari or working on an iWork document, picking up where they left off.
Another link between the OSes lets people make and receive iPhone calls using a Mac "as a speakerphone," as well as send and receive SMS and MMS messages from a Mac, he said.
A new feature called Instant Hotspot has been designed to make it very simple for a MacOS computer to tap into an iPhone cell data hotspot for Internet access "without even touching your phone in your bag," he said.
In most cases, Continuity features require devices to be logged into the same iCloud account and connected to the same Wi-Fi network, as well as paired via Bluetooth.
MacOS X Yosemite also has improvements to its user interface, search function, Mail app, Safari browser, iTunes software and the iWork suite. It also includes iCloud Drive, Apple's cloud storage and file sync and share system.
Yosemite is available now as a free upgrade from the Mac App store. According to Apple, Yosemite can be installed on all Macs introduced in 2009 or later, and in some 2007 and 2008 models.
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.