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“Free is good.”

So says Apple engineering VP Craig Federighi, who announced today that Mavericks, the latest version of OSX, will be absolutely free for Macs starting today.

“The days of spending hundreds of dollars to get the most from your computer are gone,” Federighi said today, taking a subtle jab at Microsoft.

And Mavericks will support just about every Mac released after 2007, even those running much older versions of OSX.

Apple’s goal with the move is simple and mirrors what makes its iOS upgrade cycle so successful: Release an OS update for free and people will have very little reason to not upgrade. Clearly, Apple wants to iOS 7-like adoption numbers — which have surpassed 64 percent —  to OSX.

“We’re doing this because we want our customers to have our latest software and access to our greatest features,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

Here’s a longer list of the release’s features, which we detailed a few months back.

  • 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 log in [to]. And this inevitably brings up the question, ‘What’s my password?’
  • 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.)

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