Apple has unveiled the next instalment of its operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks at this years Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), handing developers in attendance a preview version ahead of general release later this year. It marks the third consecutive year in a row that the iconic retailer has released an updated version of OS X.
The first major change is in the name itself, with Cupertino doing away with the furry cat themed codenames and instead naming this release after a particularly tough surfing location in Northern California.
As expected, 10.9 introduces many changes under the bonnet, with battery life and general responsiveness further improved thanks to “Timer coalescing,” reducing CPU utilization by as much as 72-percent under certain workloads. Compressing active memory to release more free space available for applications makes them more responsive, even when running numerous applications, and wake up from standby is now 1.5 times faster.
Those using multiple displays will instantly love that each display now has its own menu bar, dock and can now run any individual app full screen without disturbing the apps open on other displays. It will also be possible to wirelessly turn an HDTV into a display via AirPlay or Apple TV.
A new notifications interface can display emails, news updates or iMessages, with users now able to respond in the same notification window. Web-based applications can now also use push notifications to deliver their content, such as eBay’s auction alerts or breaking news directly in OS X’s notifications area regardless of whether Safari is running.
The Finder adds support for tabs, allowing for multiple Finder windows to be tabbed together and interestingly, Apple is also introducing tagging for documents, which also then appear in the sidebar of Finder and in iCloud and it should make finding files easier.
Remembering passwords is now a breeze thanks to iCloud Keychain, which stores your usernames and passwords using AES 256-bit encryption and enters them automatically when you need them. It includes seamless, automatic encrypted synchronisation across all of your approved Apple devices. It can even secure your credit card information which can help speed up online purchases and the included password generator is handy for suggesting hard-to-guess, highly secure passwords for those new accounts you register online.
Apple is yet to confirm pricing or the release date beyond saying it would be some time this Autumn. It’s also unknown if OS X Mavericks will ship with a separate Server edition or whether the extra functionality will be included as an optional app like it is with OS X Mountain Lion.