Bye bye big cats; here comes OS X Mavericks (Free). Introduced at WWDC 2013 and rehashed at the company’s fall event, Apple’s newest Mac operating system release is loaded with all sorts of new features, and is the first release in a series named after locations in California. Just like the rumors suggested, there’s tabbed Finder browsing. It’s just like Safari, but allows you to easily access and move documents across what would have been, in the past, multiple folders. Even cooler: tagging. You can tag your files with different colors and categories, and easily sort them in the Finder sidebar. Oh, and it’s all free. That’s right, for the first time, Apple is letting anyone running Snow Leopard or later update their Mac, for no charge.
Anyone who uses multiple displays will appreciate the updated support for external monitors Apple has built into this edition of the operating system. Now, you can have multiple full-screen apps running across multiple displays, and have the menu bar and dock shared across them. Additionally, displays hooked up to Apple TV can act as full secondary displays, with all the benefits of one that’s plugged in to your Mac. And the system has been optimized for the integrated graphics processors fond in many Macs these days.
Apple is also claiming extended battery life based solely on the software, with features such as power coalescing and compressed memory. Apparently, these kind of activities can decrease CPU activity by up to 72%. The company says you’ll get an hour or more just by installing Mavericks. Safari has been improved with a redesigned sidebar and landing page, updated, constantly scrolling Reading List, and Shared Links, which shows you stories posted by your followers to LinkedIn and Twitter.
iCloud Keychain is a way to store your website logins, credit card numbers, Wi-Fi networks, and account info across devices. Think 1Password, but integrated right into OS X. Notifications now allow you to reply right in-line, without having to open up the corresponding app, while iOS notifications can now be sent to your Mac if you choose. Apps downloaded from the Mac App Store are now update in the background, without you having to do anything.
It looks like “flat” has made it to the Mac, too; Calendar has been redesigned with a whole new look. It includes features such as travel time, which looks really cool to us. Maps has been added as a brand new app, with a send to iPhone feature that makes it easy to share your route when it’s time to go. The other new app to be added to the lineup is iBooks, bringing your whole library to your desktop or lap.