Apple’s OSX Maverick is claimed by Apple to be the world’s most advanced desktop operating system. This will be their tenth major OSX when released and also marks the beginning in their OSX naming policy. Previously naming their OSX based on Big Cat titles, they have now moved on to names from their hometown area of California. Now, that’s a bold claim really, as Microsoft too is just about to release Windows 8.1 codenamed Windows Blue on October 18th 2013. A comparison on the two operating systems and what sets them apart will be posted once the two OS are available on the market.
Now, Apple has just released the Maverick 10.9 developer preview 8 and luckily we just happen to have gotten our hands on it. Being one of the few or perhaps the only one in Pakistan to have this amazing OS for testing, let us examine what Apple is hiding under the hood of this new developers preview – just to clarify, this is not a post-mortem report.
Currently, our test model is an old MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2008). Originally running Leopard, we have updated it to Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion and Maverick without any difficulties with installation and compatibility. Got to say, Apple builds one heck of a laptop.
OSX Mavericks adds new and changed features that differ from the previous OSX releases. These changed include tab functionality, full screen support and documents tag in Finder, multiple display support, new iBooks and Maps application which previously was available only in iOS, Notification enhancements, Mission control update and much more. Now, this may not seem much to a person unfamiliar with the OSX environment, but to the native Mac user these features are gifts from Apple as it provides added improvements which users have longed for.
The Finder tabs work alike to tabs used in most internet browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Opera, IE etc. You can now open multiple tabs as opposed to multiple finder windows which allows users and developers to easily switch between tabs and documents. New tabs are opened and closed the generally same way as those in Safari browser.
The tags option is an added feature which allows a user to choose a colour for any folder and allow access to that folder from any window. For example we’ve chosen the colour tag purple for our movies folder which we can now access when we click the purple colour tab from any tab or window open in Finder.
The Notifications system has been updated to be more user friendly and versatile. As soon as any event occurs such as completion of a download or an email update, the notifications window gives a small interactive bubble on the right hand side of the screen which when clicked disappears. This is quite similar to Windows 8 and is a welcomed feature in Mavericks.
According to Apple, Safari now uses and demands less energy and runs faster than ever. Webpages feel snappier and startup time for the Safari browser is significantly shorter as compared to Safari running on Mountain Lion. There is no difference in the user interface though.
Maps and iBook
Apple Maps have now been introduced into Mavericks along with iBooks application. It’s good to see these as it allows for seamless transfer of locations and books between iOS and OSX. Apple maps now have a 3D functionality as well as a hybrid mode where you can combine both the standard and satellite imaging to make directions easier to see and follow.
iBooks in Maverick is pretty similar to its iOS application. You’ll be able to read and shop for books on your Mac and sync them with iCloud so you can switch devices and never lose them. Added functionality includes pinch to zoom, swipe to turn page using trackpad and smooth effortless scrolling.
Maverick added multiple monitor support in the form of mission control. When OSX Lion was launched, Apple had added support for multiple displays but it lacked much functionality which made users with multiple displays feel left out. Maverick changes that as not only is there now proper support, but if you have two screens then the two screens act independently, each with its own spaces and its own full-screen mode.
Apple has added a new feature called App Nap, which sleeps apps that are not currently visible. Apple claims that it is a new battery saving feature and allows users to monitor which applications are using more power than others and which are currently idle.
Now that individual features have been addressed with, let us jump to the conclusion of our short review.
Apple Mavericks is a solid operating system which when officially released, we cannot wait to purchase. Sure, Windows 8 has its own charm with its Metro Style user interface, but we prefer to keep the desktop and the mobile interface to be separate as most users are not yet ready for the big plunge into the thinning transition of the desktop and mobile user interface as Microsoft has done. Most users from Microsoft looking for something other than “Metro” will find familiarity when using Mavericks. As for Apple users, Mavericks is a definite recommended update and a keeper. Maverick is faster, easier to use, visually appealing to the eye and gives a better battery backup time than Mountain Lion.