APPLE HAS RELEASED the latest version of its Mavericks Mac OS X desktop operating system, and has made the surprise announcement that it will be available to download for free.
Apple claims that new improvements to the software mean a 13in Macbook running Mavericks will last an hour longer for certain tasks. Compressed Memory in Mavericks also compresses inactive parts of the memory to make space for new allocations, while enhanced graphics boosts performance to meet the demands of multi-app use.
The company is looking to add management features to help maximise battery life. Among the tools is App Nap, a tool that will allow OS X to minimise battery usage when an application is not being displayed.
For security there is iCloud Keychain, which stores website user names and passwords, credit card numbers and WiFi passwords and sends them to a user's device, removing the need to remember multiple login details and supporting users wanting to create more complex password and user name combinations.
Among the other new features are a series of updates to the Finder. The update includes the addition of tabbed navigation of files and folders as well as the ability to add tags to files for search and organisation.
Notifications and messaging have also been refreshed. Users can reply to iMessages from the desktop, and notifications from websites allow users to get pop-ups about news or product announcements from key websites. Calendar improvements provide location information of appointments, and travel time and direction information.
There will also be an improved Map app for Mac devices, which offers a satellite view and fly-over, with Apple announcing that iBooks is coming to Mavericks too. Apple SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi showed off how iBooks can be opened while working on a Mac, so you can access information from your books while working on documents.
The Mavericks update is available from today for free for Macs dating back to 2007 running OS X Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard or Lion. For those running OS X Server 3.0, Mavericks is available from the Mac App Store for £13.99. µ