GADGET WATCH: OS X Mavericks

Apple was on a roll last month, debuting not only a new version of the iOS software, but also of its desktop counterpart, OS X.

 

 

The new version, Mavericks, is the ninth update to the OS X software. And it’s set to be big – but does the software actually provide any major upgrades, or is it just a variation on a theme?

Hardware and features

There have been several changes to OS X in Mavericks, including the integration of the iBooks software, Maps and Calendar, all of which have been upgraded to be more in tune with their iOS counterparts.

Safari has been given an upgrade, while support for multiple displays has also been included. Notifications have been brought over to the software as well from iOS, along with some changes to the Finder windows – users can now use tabs to navigate through the computer’s file system.

There have also been several behind-the-scenes upgrades, including memory compressions and a technology which allows the CPU to become idle more often, saving battery power.

What’s the consensus?

Over at The Verge, the publication notes this software is more of a tune-up than a flat-out upgrade, but nevertheless says Apple has been able to pinpoint areas for improvement.

“Apple promises this is the most powerful and power-efficient operating system in its history, with everything from a 35% decrease in consumption while you watch video to a Power Saver mode that lets you choose when to run the browser-crippling Flash plugin instead of having it destroy your computer automatically.”

However, at this stage The Verge notes it’s too early to see how much of an impact this battery saving tech will have.

It also praised the new Notifications system, which connects more apps to the desktop notification feature, and the addition of a Do Not Disturb mode, which gets rid of notifications altogether.

The Verge also had good things to say about the new display features, which allow users to run displays as two separate monitors. This means users can show a video on one, and do something completely different on another.

“Even AirPlay is better, allowing your TV to be a wireless secondary display instead of just forcing you to mirror at awkward resolutions.”

At Engadget, the publication noted the use of tabs in Finder, saying they were easy to use and navigate. It also praised the inclusion of tags for files, which allow users to collect files in the same category according to colours.

Engadget noted some “welcome” upgrades to the notification system, particularly in that users can now respond to chat notifications within the notification itself.

Over at Slashgear the changes to Calendar, which strip away the faux-leather look in favour of a clean, minimalist design, received comment.

“Clicking into an event is a good example of how Mavericks deepens the links between different apps and services in the new OS X. Logging into Facebook now pulls calendar entries from the social network – including event invitations – in, but there’s also custom data from the new Maps app.”

“So, schedule an appointment somewhere, and you’ll get a map thumbnail of the location plus travel time estimates (Mavericks is clever enough to use your last appointment location, if it ended less than three hours before, or instead default to your work address) and even a weather forecast for the specific time.”

Who’s it for?

Mavericks isn’t due out for a few months, but already this is looking like a must-have upgrade. If you’re a Mac OS X user, you may want to have a look at the reviews yourself, but for now this looks like one upgrade that you won’t want to miss.

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