June has become one of the biggest and most important months in tech. One of the reasons for this is Apple’s yearly developers conference where new tech and software are announced. This year saw a number of interesting product updates including OS X, which although not the biggest announcement of the show, is pretty important.
Apple stays quite busy with releasing updates and new versions of OS X, their desktop operating system. You can more or less expect to see a new version coming each year, introducing new features and upgrading existing ones. Since its release, Apple’s desktop operating system has been traditionally named after cats (like OS X 10.8, a.k.a. Mountain Lion). Last year, Apple ran out of feline names and moved to a new naming convention – places in California.
The 2013/2014 edition of OS X has been recently announced and it bears the name Mavericks, a popular surfing destination south of San Francisco. The new name isn’t the only thing the newest update will bring. There are a number of interesting features that users will enjoy. Here are five of them.
While OS X has supported multiple displays for a number of years, using them with the OS has been a little awkward, resembling a stretched out desktop. With Mavericks, secondary monitors will essentially be a different system. There will be a menu bar, dock and desktop background repeated across each display.
If you use two monitors and have gotten used to stretching one program across multiple displays, you will not be able to do this in Mavericks. Then again, being able to have two of the same program windows open on different monitors is more or less the same thing. You will also be able to easily move windows across screens by pressing the F3 key and dragging them to another monitor.
An updated Finder
If you have used OS X, you will be familiar with the Finder, something that really hasn’t changed in incremental updates. The good news, for those who are used to it, is that it will not drastically change with the release of Mavericks. Instead, Mavericks will introduce a number of interesting features that will make Finder even better. The main feature will make your finder windows look more like a Web browser through the use of tabs.
If you press Shift and double click on a folder, it will open in a tab in the same window. As with nearly every browser, you will be able to drag and drop tabs to move them around, and hovering over a tab name will bring up an X which you can click to close it. You will also be able to merge different windows into one through the Finder options. And if you close a window with multiple tabs open, the tabs will be there the next time you open it.
This will likely be a useful feature for many users who have multiple Finder windows open at the same time, and want a better way to organize their desktop. It also makes switching between Finder windows a whole lot easier, due to the fact that they can be merged into one window.
The majority of OS X users use laptops, so power consumption and performance are important. Mavericks will introduce a number of tweaks that can help squeeze more performance out of your computer without sacrificing battery life. Many Apple apps have been tweaked to use less memory when open, or running in the background. This will increase battery life as well.
Apple has announced the new iCloud Keychain, which can keep your passwords, accounts, credit cards and Wi-Fi settings consistent across multiple devices. It will be integrated into Safari, and is able to input your passwords and help you develop, organize, and store new ones. Apple has gone to great lengths to ensure strong security encryption, so your information should be safe.
Many users were less than impressed with the recent Calendar app found in OS X, disliking features like the faux leather wrapping. The Calendar app in Mavericks will be a throwback to older versions with the standard grey toolbar. It can connect with Facebook, deliver weather and location information, and even provide transportation information.
These are just five of the new features that will be introduced with Mavericks. When will it be out? We don’t officially know, but assume it will be sometime around October or November. Apple has stated it would be out this year, so this fall would be a safe bet.