APPLE HAS ANNOUNCED OS X El Capitan, a new version of the Mac operating system that delivers split screen multitasking, more intelligent search and improvements to performance and battery life.
El Capitan is the successor to last year's OS X Yosemite release, which saw the "fastest adoption rate for any PC operating system ever".
Taking a dig at Microsoft's lacklustre Windows 8 adoption, Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, said: "Over 55 percent of active Mac users are running our latest update. This is just unprecedented in our industry."
Once he'd finished mocking Microsoft, Federighi showed off the new features in El Capitan, chief of which is a new Split View mode ironically reminiscent of multitasking in Windows 8.
This feature (below) allows Mac users to open and use two apps side by side in windows that can be resized.
Apple has made some additional changes to window management in OS X, including the ability to drag an app to the top of the screen to create a new desktop.
Search has been given an overhaul in the incoming OS X release, much like in iOS 9, and Federighi said that it's "more expressive, powerful and knowledgeable than ever".
For example, search now supports natural language queries, such as 'Show me documents that I started working on in June.'
Spotlight also covers more topics in the next OS X release, including weather, stocks, sports, transport and web video.
Safari in El Capitan has been given a tweak. Tabs can be pinned simply by dragging them to the left, a handy mute audio button features in the address bar, while Mail has been equipped with new gestures that allow you to delete emails simply by swiping to the right.
Notes has also been given a lick of paint, and now support graphic links, pictures and text styling.
Expect a performance boost in El Capitan too, as Apple has brought its Metal framework to OS X, having first introduced it on iOS last year.
Apple claims that it offers up to 40 percent efficiency improvements which should make for better battery life, while apps will perform around 1.4 times faster than before.
El Capitan is available to developers now, and a public beta will arrive in July before it rolls out to all as a free update in the autumn. µ
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