Get ready for the Mavericks. Apple unveiled a developer preview of OS X Mavericks on Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Mavericks marks the 10th release of the Mac operating system.
Mavericks offers more than 200 new features, including bringing Maps and iBooks to the Mac. Mac users can start downloading Mavericks from the Mac App Store this fall, a version that Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, calls "our best version yet." Pricing was not disclosed.
"Yesterday, we saw a reinforcement of Apple's commitment to keep OS X and iOS purposefully focused on different kinds of devices," Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, told us. "This is in contrast to Microsoft, which has sought to bring the same touch interface to all its platforms. Apple is stating that, not only does the desktop have gas left in it, but it's planning on having it around for the next 10 years with a new family of code names based on places."
Bringing it All Together
One of the most anticipated features is Maps, which brings mapping technologies from iOS to the Mac, including vector graphics, 3D view and interactive Flyover. With Maps you can plan a trip from your Mac, then send it to your iPhone for voice navigation on the road. Maps integration throughout Mavericks gives users maps from within Mail, Contacts and Calendar, and developers can integrate the same mapping features into their apps through the Map Kit API.
Meanwhile, iBooks gives access to your existing iBooks library, as well as the more than 1.8 million titles in the iBooks Store. Taking a page from Amazon Kindle, iBooks works across all Apple devices, so you can read a book on your Mac, make notes or highlights, and then pick up where you left off on your iPad.
Apple said new core technologies in OS X Mavericks improve the energy efficiency and responsiveness of your Mac. For example, Timer Coalescing intelligently groups together low-level operations so that the CPU can spend more time in a low-power state, saving energy without affecting performance or responsiveness.
"Apple is bringing over apps from iOS, such as Maps and iBooks and tying together sensitive information across its platforms with Key Chain in the Cloud," Rubin said. "In addition, Apple is also working below the surface to improve battery life by tweaking Mavericks' internals to be more efficient in terms of processor requests."
For Mac Power Users
OS X Mavericks also introduces what Apple is calling a "power user features." Tags, for example, are a new way to organize and find files anywhere on the Mac or in iCloud. You can tag any file in the Finder, in iCloud, or when saving a new document. Tags appear in the Finder Sidebar to enable you to view files by project or category.
Finder Tabs work to reduce the clutter on your desktop by consolidating multiple Finder windows into one window with multiple tabs. You can customize the view for each tab, move files between tabs, and even run the Finder with multiple tabs open in full-screen. Mavericks also promises to make multiple displays even easier and more powerful. The menu bar and dock are available on any display, and users can now easily run windowed or full-screen apps on whichever display they choose, with no configuration required.
"The changes in OS X are focused on streamlining workflow and better organization for those working with documents," Rubin said. "These include Finder tabs, borrowed from Firefox via Safari, tags, and improving the functionality of multiple monitors -- something that would be irrelevant on a smartphone."