October 22nd, much to everyones surprise, Apple gave everyone an early Christmas present. It released the newest version of OSX 10.9 (Mavericks) for free, as well as some other titles that we will focus on at a later time. Todays focus will be on Mavericks. Other than being a shot across the bow of some other software makers that will remain nameless. This OS X release has a lot of stuff under the hood, such as memory management, and multi-tasking enhancements. 10.9 focuses some attention on some older apps that were missing for functionality as well as making apps more visually pleasing.
Finder: Of all of the Mavericks applications Finder (in my opinion) got the most attention. With the new finder, you can categorize things with tags. While this might sound pretty weak, once you get used to using tags you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. Another welcomed addition to finder was the ability to use tabs, just like in your favorite web browser. Now instead of having finder windows all over your screen, they can be gathered into a single pane, making your work that much easier.
Calendar: Calendar got more of a visual makeover as compare to a functional change. The new calendar looks much cleaner and speaker. Gone is the “leather binder” look. The functionality hasn’t changed. I do notice that the interaction between my desktop and iPhone seem to work better through iCloud. That has been my experience, other users experience may vary.
New Applications: With Mavericks Apple has also rolled in iCloud Keychain, Maps and iBooks. The Maps feature is very much like that on iOS, with a few exceptions because it is now a desktop application. Now you can use “flyover” more easily than you can in iOS, just because it is a desktop application. One of my favorite features of Maps is that I can now find directions and with a single button-click share them with my iPhone. Which makes getting directions to my phone much easier than searching for multiple routes on my phone. The other iOS application the got some desktop love was iBooks. Now ebooks aren’t relegated to your iOS device. If the book is created with iBooks author or in a standard e-pub or PDF format, they will be readable on your desktop. Previously, this could be done with an application like Calibre or the Kindle application. It’s once that for once Apple isn’t letting the competition eat their lunch. One more application I wanted to address today was iCloud Keychain. This solves one of the problems I used to use Mobile Me for, keeping all of my keychain in sync. It does that and a bit more. This will allow your iOS device to share your Keychain as well as all of your desktops. iCloud Keychain will also store credit card numbers allowing you to auto fill your credit card number. (For security iCloud Keychain won’t store the security code on your card.) All of the data is stored in iCloud, using AES 256-bit encryption giving you total security.
Other notables: Some of the other notable applications included in this release are Safari, Multiple Displays and Notifications. The Notifications update is particularly interesting. With this update, when you get an email notification, you can reply directly from Notification center instead of having to open the application. (This also works for the messages application.)
The Bottom line: This isn’t a hugely ground breaking upgrade, but at the price rage of free, it is well worth doing the upgrade.
What do you think about Mavericks? Leave your thoughts in the comments.