Introduced during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June and released as a public beta over the summer, Apple has just officially released OS X El Capitan (Free), the next generation of its OS X operating system, and the third iteration of its California-themed releases. El Capitan is a slightly smaller update from its predecessors, focusing primarily on user interface improvements such as a new Split View to allow two apps to be neatly arranged side-by-side in full screen — reminiscent of the similar iPad feature introduced in iOS 9 — as well as UI enhancements to Mission Control, improved searching in Spotlight, and some handy improvements to the Mail, Notes, Maps, and Photos apps.
Spotlight in El Capitan now allows users to search for weather, stocks, sports, web video, and transit information, as well as using a more natural language search. Mail borrows from its iOS counterpart, adding support for trackpad-based swipe gestures, automatic suggestions for contacts and events found in email messages, and an improved full-screen view that provides quick switching between drafts and the inbox. Notes gets updated to match the new features in iOS 9 as well, with rich formatting and content support, a new Attachments Browser, and support for adding notes from the system-wide Share menu. Photos adds new editing tools, as well as the ability to edit location data and batch change titles, descriptions and keywords, as well as new sorting features and support for third-party editing extensions. Safari gains support for Pinned Sites, font and theme choices in Reader view, and muting of background web page audio. Maps gains support for the Transit features which debuted with iOS 9. Performance improvements have also been made throughout, including the addition of Apple’s new Metal framework for faster graphic performance.