Meet Apple’s latest Mac OS, Yosemite

Apple may be adamant about not merging its mobile and desktop operating systems, but the company certainly took a lot of notes about what works on the iPhone and iPad when it designed its latest Mac system, OSX Yosemite.

The system has a cleaner, flatter look than its predecessors and includes improvements to the notification center and search functions -- all taken nearly wholesale from the mobile operating system.

In fact, you can even use your Mac as a phone, or as a way to get notifications from your phone -- whether it's a call or a text from iPhone (or non-iPhone) users. You can also easily work on things between your computer and Apple mobile device when you're in close proximity; the devices will talk to each other to send work in synced programs across devices. Users can also use a new service, iCloud Drive, a Dropbox-like program that lets you send files between Apple devices.

There are other new features, too. Safari now includes one-click sharing, making it as easy to send images and links. In Mail, users can easily annotate pictures by drawing on them with the trackpad -- features previously used in third-party apps such as Skitch. Search on the Mac looks much more like search on a mobile system, as well, with a unified search bar that pops up and will look through your documents, mail and programs.

There's a lot of synergy between devices, but these are still very distinct systems. Apple has been clear in the past that while it wants all its devices to have the same look and feel -- and be able to work together, to encourage buyers to buy only Apple products -- it's not interested in making a unified tablet and desktop operating system. That's something that its chief rival, Microsoft, has toyed with in designing Windows 8 as a system that works with a mouse and keyboard or a touchscreen.

Yosemite is open to developers starting Monday but won't be open to the public until fall. However, Apple is allowing some people to sign up for a limited test period in the summer to provide early feedback to the company.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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