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Apple OS X 10.9 Mavericks launched, now with better power management

Apple OS X Mavericks

OS X 10.9 Mavericks also gets proper multi-display support

Apple has taken the wraps of the latest version of Mac operating system, ditching the big-cat theme and opting for OS X 10.9 Mavericks, named after the area in California.

After some tweaking with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Mavericks introduces much greater changes, with many aimed at power users.

One of the biggest improvements is better support for multiple displays. With previous versions of OS X, a second display wouldn’t show the Menu bar or Dock. With full screen apps, the second display became redundant.

Now with Mavericks, OS X has proper multi-screen support. Each screen displays the Menu bar and Dock, while full screen apps can be run on one screen, saving another screen for the standard desktop. In many ways this means that OS X catches up with Windows 8, which manages multiple displays well.

Under the bonnet, are two technologies designed to reduce power requirements. App Nap monitors when an app isn’t being used and puts the process to sleep, so it’s not drawing power.

Timer Coalescing is designed to stop a CPU having to repeatedly come out of its lower-power sleep state to perform a tiny bit of processing. It intelligently gathers together low-level operations, so the CPU can work on them at once and spend more time in sleep mode.

Apple Maps, widely criticised when launched with the iPhone 5, now makes its appearance on OS X Mavericks. Apple has said that the data behind maps has been dramatically improved.

Rather than a standalone app, Maps is designed to integrate with your smartphone. So, you can plan a route in Apple Maps, then send it to your phone; when you next turn on your iPhone, Navigation starts immediately.

The Calendar app has also been upgraded. Gone is the old look, which tried to replicate a real leather-bound calendar (clearly the influence of Jony Ive in action), for a cleaner look. It’s a vast improvement, which looks a lot more modern.

Calendar hooks into other apps, too. For example, you can start typing a location and Maps steps in with suggestions. As the app is location aware it can give you directions and travel time to your appointment.

Other improvements include iCloud Keychain, so you can synchronise your passwords across all of your devices. Using iCloud Keychain in the new version of Safari will even suggest new, secure passwords for you to use.

Interactive notifications let you perform actions straight from the pop-up. For example, you can delete an email message, reply to an iMessage or answer a FaceTime call. Even better, notifications appear on the lock screen and apps automatically update in the background.

Finder has also been overhauled, with two major additions. First, is Finder Tabs, so you can house all of your open windows as multiple tabs, just like with a web browser. However, it’s Tags that has us most interested. These let you add tags to files, so you can organise them independently of their physical location; it’s great for working on documents stored in different folders that are part of the same project.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks is available now as a developer preview, with the final version available in Autumn.

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