Mike Isaac

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Say Hello to Mavericks, Apple’s New OS X Software

i-6NnwcNT-X2Another year, another refresh of Apple’s desktop software. But instead of naming the new version after a big cat — as it has typically done with Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard, and other big kitties used when the company refreshed its OS X software in the past — Apple is going back to its California roots.

Apple introduced Mavericks, the new OS X software, at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, taking the name from the famed surfing location in Northern California. The idea is that rather than go down the cat-name rabbit hole, the company wanted to create a branding that would last for the next decade, according to SVP Craig Federighi.

Among some of the most recent improvements in Mavericks are finder tabs — like your browser tabs, but inside of the Mac’s file folder windows — tagging files for search and support for multiple displays, all features that have been long desired and much anticipated.

The biggest focus, according to Federighi, is on improving the battery life of laptops and increasing performance overall. “App nap,” for example, puts applications on hold when they’re not in use, thereby cutting down on overall power usage.

The company also revamped a few of its existing applications for the Mac, including Maps, its Calendar application, and iBooks. Gone is the “skeuomorphic,” stitched-leather look for the calendar app. It’s got a nice, new look (much akin to Google’s Calendar), and some better time-management features. Apple’s iBooks is also fairly rich with photo media as well as text.

Along with details on the new software, CEO Tim Cook gave a few updates on the state of the Mac. The Mac install base is at 72 million, he said, and Mac total growth over the past five years is up 100 percent, versus 18 percent for PCs. (Now remember, Apple has a much, much smaller number compared to the number of overall PCs out there, so percentage growth is going to be smaller for PCs.)

Developers will get access to the preview version beginning today, and consumers in general should expect the new software to come in the fall.

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