Gadgets

Apple announces OS X Mavericks — because it ran out of big cat names

Apple finally ran out of cat names for its operating systems, so now the latest version of OS X will be called Mavericks. On top of the spiffy new name, it also adds in a lot of new features.

The company announced the new software today at WWDC 2013 event in San Francisco. (Read our live blog here.)

Mavericks will be the follow up to OS X Mountain Lion, which came out in late July last year. About 25 percent of all Mac owners upgraded to Mountain Lion in the first six months of availability, which is impressive.

Mavericks will be available as a digital download just like prior releases. Developers will get access to Mavericks today with a final release for consumers this fall.

At a glance, here’s what’s new in Mavericks:

• Advanced multiple display support: You’ll be able to use two displays running on the same OS in more powerful ways. Each display now shows a menu bar and dock. Displays offer independent swiping between desktops. There’s also Airplay support that lets you use an HDTV as a second display. Very nice for productivity and customization.

• Finder tabs and tags: You can tag things together, and they’ll be shown in Finder in a group.

• Better battery life and performance: In Mavericks, Apple claims it has reduced CPU activity by 72 percent. Waking from standby will be 1.5 times faster than in Mountain Lion.

• Safari update for using less energy and smoother scrolling: “Safari uses way less memory than Chrome, and when you compare it to Firefox it’s just kinda sad.” — Craig Federighi, Apple’s VP of software engineering.

• iCloud keychain for helping you remember passwords: “To really be secure these days you want to have a different complex password for every site you login [to]. And this inevitably brings up the question, ‘What’s my password?’” — Federighi

• Better notifications: You can reply to a notification like mail without opening the Mail app. Push notifications from your iOS devices can be pushed to your Mac now. Push notifications can be shown on the lock screen as well.

• iBooks: iBooks will finally move from iOS devices to Mac. On top of reading books there, it’s also good for studying and learning.

• Maps: A beautiful new Maps app on the Mac. (Just double-check those directions before you leave.)

What do you think of Mavericks?

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