Apple: OS X Mavericks available today as free download

Among the announcements from Apple’s press conference in San Francisco on Tuesday is an official launch date for the next major release of Apple’s desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks. Apple unveiled version 10.9 of OS X this past June at its annual WWDC developer conference and said the software would become available to the public sometime in the fall. As promised, OS X Mavericks will launch today and the upgrade will be free for any and all Mac users, regardless of their current OS version. OS X Mavericks includes a number of new features, such as several redesigned apps, iCloud keychain support, big improvements to the Safari Web browser, Notifications Center enhancements, the addition of Finder tabs and more.

Check out some of the key features of OS X Mavericks.

Finder Tabs: This feature brings tabbed interface to OS X, and users will be able to work on multiple windows in one place, much like the tabbed UI seen on web browsers these days. Users can even drag and drop items from one tab to another.

Tags: As the name suggests, this feature allows users to tag a particular document so it can be categorized and easily accessed through the Finder Sidebar. It also helps make searching the docs on Macs and access them on other devices through iCloud easier.

Improved Multiple displays: Apple has made some major tweaks and improved the multiple display feature on the Macs, with users now able to use more than one output device without the hassle of major configurations. HDTVs too can be easily used as a secondary display using AirPlay. It also supports Apple TV and every display is independent of each other, allowing full screen app views without disturbing the alignment on the other display.

Better Notifications: Notifications have been improved with better interactivity and Apple now allows users to reply to a message, respond to a FaceTime call or even delete an email without leaving the app. Sports and other websites that break news, can now also send notifications to the Mac, much like mobile apps do. The new notification system also supports notifications from iOS apps. Also, notifications once viewed on any device would be removed from other devices.

Calendar: The calendar app looks like it has gone under the knife with all the previous skeuomorphism gone and the app sports a much cleaner and flatter look. The updated app has a deeper integration with the Maps, allows users to continuously scroll through weeks or months, and a simplified event creator and editor. Think about it as a native Google Calendar but with Apple Maps integration.

Safari: The native web browser too has been tweaked to offer more performance via a new process-per-tab architecture that is said to make browsing more responsive and stable. There is a new sidebar with reading lists and easy access to bookmarks. New features introduced include shared links, which allows one to discover, read and share content from webpages at one place and an iCloud Keychain, which stores sensitive information like usernames, passwords and credit card details in a safe encrypted place and helps users login or enter credit card details on websites so they don’t have to remember each detail.

In addition to the above new features, Mavericks also uses new technologies like compressed memory, App Nap, and time coalescing to give about 1.4 times more performance than Mountain Lion OS, while reducing CPU load by up to 72 percent, which in turn results in better battery life. App Nap, in particular is a pretty nifty feature considering apps don’t consume processing power when they are in the background. However, they come alive as soon as any part of the app is visible on the home screen.

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