Apple OS X Mavericks

OS X MavericksApple have just announced the release of their latest computer operating system OS X Mavericks. It is available to download now and what’s more it is FREE. Yes, you heard that right. It will work on most Macs made after 2007. It is the latest in a generation of Unix based operating systems that date back to 2001 when the Mac OS X 10.0 was launched. Mavericks is the first OS X operating system that has not been named after a cat. It seems that Apple’s marketing department ran out of cool cat names. So instead they are going to emphasise the “Designed in California” heritage and name future versions after places in California, hence Mavericks. A notorious spot for hardcore surfers, Mavericks represents a new wave in operating systems for Apple and possibly a new wave of pricing for future software.

We want every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security. We believe the best way to do this is to begin a new era of personal computing software where OS upgrades are free.
~ Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering

When Mac OS 9 gave way to OS X it was a huge leap for Apple and it’s users. But this brave new operating system wasn’t that new. It’s Unix underpinnings date back to a time when Jimi Hendrix hazing his purple. This early 1970s operating system had a lot of great things going for it though. Namely that it was secure and stable. It was the OS of choice for air traffic control systems for good reason. This rock solid foundation has given us an OS that is still secure and robust. With a lot of hard work from the guys and girls of Cupertino, we now all have server-grade software which even your granddad will find intuitive. It also appeals to the geeks too. Genius.

I remember being devastated when Steve Jobs said that the Mac operating system was going to take a bit of a back seat, while they worked on a little project that might ding the universe. The iPhone did certainly create a ding on this planet. As a web developer, I am truly grateful for Mr Jobs standing firm against Adobe Flash. I used to love Flash but knew since the early 2000s and thanks to Zeldman in particular, web standards was the way to go. This is the great irony of it all. Apple make proprietary stuff. Okay, Safari is based on the WebKit Open Source project, but in essence the seamless integration of OS and hardware was Steve Jobs genius. Even at a time when it seems they had lost against Microsoft, they kept pushing on till something broke. And it did. The original Jony Ive designed iMac dumped the floppy drive and dull grey colours which were all the rage at the time. The iPod redefined the music industry and the iPhone truly made smartphones smart. The iPad is by far the most successful tablet out there. The latest generation of Macs like the MacBook Air and iMac are the best computers on the planet. Even hardcore Windows users buy them. Which is the worrying thing.

Mavericks on a MacBook

Still IT departments and schools are desperately clinging onto their DOS machines. But with free software from Apple, and it is not just the OS that is free. If you buy a new Mac you get the works for free: Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand all come installed. I am worrying because we do need competition. If Microsoft are sinking who is going to keep pushing Cupertino to put the overtime in? We all depend on our computers now, we carry them with us at all times. They are an extension of us. Let’s hope this latest jolt from Apple, will give Microsoft the shake up it needs. Windows 8 by many accounts is dire. But I do remember when Apple was in dire straits too. As I carried my ageing Mac into work, my colleagues would all extract the urine out of me. As I attended web design conferences though, the sea of PC laptops has slowly dried up to be replaced by a wave of glowing Apples. The ebb and flow of it all is good. Let’s hope that Microsoft are brave enough to get back on the board again and head out for the big breakers. If not maybe a new open source platform will float to the surface? WordPress is proof that open source can swim with the big boys. It is now powering not only this website but 1 in 5 of any you are likely to surf too.

Mavericks is an incredible release, which introduces significant new apps and features, while also improving the performance and battery life of your Mac
~ Craig Federighi

Yes, the new wave of operating systems is here. I am delighted to see Apple’s new Mavericks is as powerful and fast as I had might hoped. Their seamless approach is beautiful and I and many other millions of people will enjoy the ride. I really think after many years of development the close bond now between phone, tablet and desktop computer is finally here. As Apple plan to build a new spaceship for their new headquarters we can only hope that this is again just the beginning of something truly universal. Let’s get ready for take off. Maybe Apple really will make Steve’s ambition come true and make a big ding in the universe.

Mavericks Highlights

Here is what Apple say it does:

  • iBooks, which gives you instant access to your iBooks library, more than two million titles in the iBooks Store™, and works seamlessly across your devices
  • Maps, which brings powerful mapping technology to the desktop and lets you plan a trip from your Mac and send it to your iPhone® for voice navigation on the road
  • A streamlined Calendar that estimates travel time between appointments, and provides a map with weather forecast
  • A new version of Safari with Shared Links, which helps you find what’s new on the web by consolidating links shared by people you follow on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • iCloud® Keychain®, which safely stores your website usernames and passwords, credit card numbers and Wi-Fi passwords and pushes them to your trusted devices so you don’t need to remember them
  • Enhanced multi-display support, which makes using multiple displays easier and more powerful, with no configuration required
  • Interactive Notifications, allowing you to reply to a message, respond to a FaceTime® call or even delete an email without leaving the app you’re using
  • Finder Tabs, which help unclutter your desktop by consolidating multiple Finder windows into a single window with multiple tabs
  • Finder Tags, a powerful new way to organize and find your files located on your Mac or in iCloud.

In my initial tests my computer seems faster and everything has a little more zing about it. Mavericks aka OS X 10.9 is a very refined piece of software. My ageing copy of super expensive Adobe CS3 works, my web development tools all seem to be working better than ever too.

How about you? Are you enjoying riding this new wave of operating systems. Has Mavericks given you good vibrations?

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