WWDC 2013 has just passed us on Monday and I’d figured that since we are an Apple news-based website, we probably should cover it. 🙂 Anyways, Apple announced some exciting new things at WWDC 2013 and I want to cover them all. Therefore, I am covering each new product in segments. There will be six articles covering the six new things announced at WWDC 2013 including, OS X Mavericks, MacBook Air, the new Mac Pro, iWork for iCloud, iOS 7 and iTunes Radio. That said, let’s delve into the new OS for Macs.
Apple announced Monday an update to their Mac operating system. As you know, Apple has been using the wildcat naming scheme since the introduction of Mac OS X in 2001. Apple has used, to date, Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion. You may notice that Apple has runout of cats. Apple has also seen this problem and since they did not want to be the “first software company to be delayed due to a lack of cats”, they changed the naming scheme to last them “for the next ten years” by switching to names of locations in California, starting at the Mavericks. (Rest in Peace Cat names for OS X) OS X Mavericks is more of a power user update than anything else, focusing on reducing power consumption and processing power and saving battery life but it also introduced some new features as well. Let’s go into more detail of this new OS.
OS X Mavericks is focusing a lot on saving you power and allowing OS X to run even more smoothly than before and there are a few ways on how it will accomplish this. First, Timer Coalescing is a new feature in Mavericks. When the processor works there are tiny periods of activity and inactivity going back and forth several times a second and that puts strain on the processor and ultimately, the battery. Timer Coalescing allows the computer to have more time in the idle state while still doing the same work you want it to do. It saves energy and you won’t even notice a thing, well except the additional battery life of course. App Nap is another new feature in Mavericks that goes after the same purpose, to reduce processor energy. When you have multiple applications open, those applications will take strain on the processor. However, you usually are only using one or two of them primarily. Let’s say you have a processor extensive Safari and a not so processor extensive iTunes open and you cover Safari with iTunes, the app you are working on at the moment. That time that you are working on iTunes, the processor recognizes that and “naps” Safari until you reveal Safari again, therefore the processor only works on the apps you are working on. It also works the same with Safari tabs, drawing resources to only the tab that is open. Another power saver feature is called Safari Power Saver and it allows the computer to draw resources to only the things that are drawing your attention and are in center. The content on the sides you don’t care about doesn’t draw any resources but all the stuff you want it to does. OS X Mavericks also uses less power when playing audio or video. Apple also has made OS X Mavericks compress memory so more memory is available at the Macs disposal. This allows the computer to run faster since it doesn’t have to continually transfer data from memory to storage and back. With all these great power saver features, your Mac will fun faster while saving energy, a big difference from OS X Lion or Mountain Lion, whose resources were eaten up quickly. Your Mac will run smoother, faster and longer.
Apple announced that they are adding iBooks and Maps to the Mac and also announced some pretty cool features along with them. First, the iBooks Mac app is a port of the app from iOS to the Mac, like many other now current Mac apps such as Reminders and Notes apps from last year. Finally, we can read our iBook content on our Mac (I think this should have been done in the first place, when iBooks first came out). It is every bit as intuitive as the iBooks for iOS. You can save notes to review perhaps during class or when you review the book at a later time. iBooks on the Mac, just like the one on the iPad, will have interactive textbooks that will help you learn. The education system is slow to catch on, but these interactive iPad and now Mac textbooks are the way to go. iBooks will save your spot, bookmarks and notes so you can review them on your iPad when you are on the go. Overall, a nice addition to OS X. In addition to iBooks, Apple Maps also makes its way to the Mac. Don’t worry about fallen bridges, they have fixed those already. Anyways, Maps is a new way to see your routes on your Mac. You can now take full advantage of your Mac’s display to see Apple’s Maps. Flyover will look absolutely stunning on it due to the Mac having much more power than iOS devices. Just like iOS Maps, Mac Maps shows you points of interest, phone numbers, reviews, photos and more. It will show you turn by turn directions and when you are ready to depart, you can send it to your iPhone so your iPhone is ready to give you directions to where you want to go. Maps is built in to other apps as well such as Calendar, Contacts, and Mail so when there is an address in one of those apps, you can see where it is and of course, send the Maps information to your iPhone so you can be on the go. It is definitely a great way to figure out where to go and it will be a great companion to iOS’ Maps.
Safari and Calendar have both been updated in OS X Mavericks. Safari has been updated to include features such as Shared Links, where you can view links that others have shared to you via Twitter or LinkedIn and the redesigned Top Sites, making it easier to organize your favorite sites. About time too, I am not a huge fan of the current Top Sites, I hardly ever use it. Safari also has improved Power Saver features as well. Safari will be snappier and take less of a toll on memory and battery. Safari, overall, has some improvements to the application. Calendar has been redesigned again. It has a fresh look and some new improvements. First, it will continuously scroll through the days, weeks and months. Events are easier to create and now you can add travel time to your calendar automatically so you know not to schedule anything during that estimated travel time. It also gives you a weather forecast for where you are going so you can plan ahead. Overall, great improvements to the Safari and Calendar apps.
Finder finally has tabs. You can now move documents from one place in Finder to another in a much easier fashion. Each tab can be customized to your liking, each with it’s own view. Due to this development, Finder will be a better app to take full screen. In addition to tabs, Finder now has tags. Now you can organize by tabs that you make yourself, a feature I personally have been wanting for awhile now since I handle so many different files for so many different purposes. Now I can file those away easier. I could make folders but once you get too many folders, it can get too confusing and some files belong in multiple places at once. You can also find files by typing in the Tags they are in, similar to typing in Folder names and getting the contents of that folder as a result. However, unlike folders, you can type in multiple Tag names to further narrow your search to just one file. Again, great improvements to OS X.
Three other features I have not mentioned yet are Multiple Displays, iCloud Keychain and new Notifications. First off, you can finally, finally have multiple independent displays. You could have multiple displays before but now each display is independent of each other, they have their own full screen apps, their own desktops, their own windows that run independently from each other. Also, your Apple TV can now be a second display. Great functionality but long needed and wanted! Second, Apple introduced iCloud Keychain, allowing your passwords to be synced across all your devices. You don’t have to remember your long and confusing passwords now! This I think, however, could lead to some serious security issues and I will probably turn this feature off. I don’t want other people having access to my passwords should any of my devices get stolen. Third, Notification Center and Notifications get a few adjustments. You can now reply to a message within an iMessage notification or Decline and reply with message on FaceTime calls. In addition, you can sign up to get notifications from different websites such as Ebay or CNN. Lastly, you will see the notifications you missed while you were away, right on your log in screen. Pretty cool, huh? Apple has done a good job with these new features!
Apple has done a great job with their new OS. I appreciate the new features and especially appreciate the new Power Saver features so now my Mac can be a bit faster and save energy and battery life. The new features are not big additions but many are much needed. This release also begins a new era. Gone are the days of the cats and now are the days of the places in California, a place where Apple engineers work and are inspired to do great things. Apple keep releasing great releases. Keep doing great work.
Thanks for reading,
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