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WWDC: Apple announces OS X 10.9 ‘Mavericks’ – Everything you need to know

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It’s not just iOS that gets a major upgrade this year, you know. Apple also unveiled OS X 10.9 and in the process dropped its long-running tradition of using big cat names, moving from last year’s Mountain Lion to ‘Mavericks’ this year.

The new OS continues Apple’s focus in recent years of blurring the lines between desktop and mobile, with more features coming over from iOS, including iBooks and Flyover in Maps.

Harder, better, faster, stronger

Okay, so the first and last don’t really apply, but Mavericks has a lot going on in the background which will mean you get to enjoy your Mac booting up and coming out of standby faster – Apple says an overall increase in speed of 1.4x and a 1.5x faster wake from standby, which is all done thanks to some clever memory compression techniques. There’s also new power saving methods put in place to ensure you squeeze as much time out of your Mac’s battery as possible.

New apps – iBooks, Maps and more

iBooks has made the leap from iOS to OS X so now you can browse, download and read from the same bookstore on your Mac as you do on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Use the same Apple ID and your downloads, bookmarks and so on will sync between OS X and iOS devices smoothly. Buy a book on a Mac and it will automatically be downloaded on any iOS devices associated with your Apple ID.

Apple Maps also comes to Mac in OS X 10.9, with the 3D Flyover feature built in as well as POI search and turn-by-turn directions. You’re obviously not going to be slapping your MacBook on the dash of your car in place of a TomTom, but Maps for OS X will make it easy to print out directions or view a journey in advance. Maps also lets you plan a journey on Mac and then send it to your iPhone, which is rather neat.

New Safari

Safari has been overhauled with a new look, including a new left sidebar which hosts your Bookmarks, Reading List and Shared Links. The latter is new and offers a list of links shared on your Twitter and LinkedIn timelines in one place. The Top Sites page has also been given a makeover with a flatter and more simplistic layout of tiles, rather than the curved and futuristic look from previous versions.

iCloud Keychain

Always forgetting your passwords? iCloud Keychain is a new feature aimed at helping you out with the growing number of usernames and passwords we seem to collect as we trawl the internet. Using AES 256-bit encryption iCloud Keychain can store your usernames, passwords and other details online securely so that you simply select a set of login details based on a website or service, as and when you need them. Your payment details can also be stored this way, so you’ll never had to enter that long card number again.

Multiple Displays + AirPlay Display

Apple adds a big focus on the use of multiple screens in OS X 10.9, with new features designed to suit the dual or triple screen user. For example, with each extra display you’ll get a dedicated menu bar and dock so you don’t have to keep reverting to the primary display. More apps now open in full screen mode to make the most of your screen real estate and a new feature called AirPlay Display allows you to wirelessly mirror the screen of your Mac onto a TV via Apple TV.

A better Notifications system

Notifications have been updated to be more user friendly, with the ability to select a notification and act on it without actually leaving the app you’re in. For example, a notification for a new email pops up in the top right corner – you can select it and reply in a dedicated small window and go back to the app you were in without ever leaving.

There’s now also the option to see updates from your favourite websites as notifications on Mac, simply by signing up online. Options include sports scores, eBay auctions and news articles, and you won’t need Safari to be running for this to work. Finally, a summary of your missed notifications will be shown on the lock screen of your Mac when you return from being away.

Tabs in Finder

One of the leaked features, Finder Tabs, is perhaps going to please long-time Mac users the most. Just like you can do in your web browser, you can now open up multiple tabs whilst in the Finder app. Power users will no doubt have multiple tabs for things like iCloud and AirDrop, allowing for easy separation of different storage locations.

File Tagging

The search feature in Finder will get a whole lot more useful in OS X 10.9 as you can now ‘tag’ files with key words that will help Finder locate them much more quickly. You can select a single file or a group and tag them with a keyword such as ‘homework’ and there will then be a link to that tag in the sidebar of Finder. This works with both local files and iCloud files.

Why ‘Mavericks’?

We’re not sure why the big cat naming scheme is out – perhaps Apple ran out of awesome-sounding big cats. Either way, Mavericks is said to be named after the famous surf spot in California.

When is it out?

Like iOS 7, Apple says OS X 10.9 Mavericks will be out this autumn, or “in the fall” if you’re based in the US. The first beta is now available to developers.

Will it work on my Mac?

The following devices will be compatible with Mavericks – if your device runs the current Mountain Lion then it should be fine!

– iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
– MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
– MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
– MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
– Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
– Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
– Xserve (Early 2009)