Apple released its new OS X 10.9 operating system, known as Mavericks, on October 22, 2013, surprising most industry observers and customers alike by announcing the new platform is free. The 10th major OS X release, Mavericks includes Finder enhancements, better battery performance, and improved iCloud integration among other new advantages. The new release is compatible with Macs capable of running OS X Mountain Lion. Read about Mavericks' facts, and then take a look at some screenshots of the new OS X platform.
Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, installed here on a late 2012 MacBook Pro production laptop (Figure A), continues Apple’s simple interface penchant. Unlike Windows, whose user base encountered historic trouble attempting to adjust to the lack of a Start button in Windows 8, OS X has long leveraged the power of a Dock and menu bar for user operation.
Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks on a 2012 MacBook Pro
Tabbed file management is included for the first time within OS X (Figure B). Users can now leverage multiple tabs within Finder, thereby simplifying file management and interaction.Figure B
Tabbed file management
Apple’s App Store is a true home run, with more than 50 million apps downloaded. Here is how the App Store appears (Figure C) to users within OS X Mavericks on a Mac (as opposed to an iOS device).Figure C
Apple's App Store
Apple’s iWork suite, which include Pages (Figure D), Numbers, and Keynote, is consistently ranked among the most popular and top paid apps within the App Store. Most users will be hard pressed to discover any word processing features or functionality not included within Pages.
Multitasking has become more than a hallmark of particularly productive and efficient employees; multitasking is now a necessity for anyone seeking success within a contemporary career. One side product of a frenzied, hectic pace is users often lose track of open windows. Mission Control (Figure E) is one way Apple makes computing easier by providing users with a simple view of open applications.Figure E
As users install applications within OS X, Mavericks lists the software programs within Launchpad. The Mac Dock includes a Launchpad icon (Figure F), providing quick access to applications while eliminating the need for users to have to navigate file structures or Start menus to locate and open applications.Figure F
Safari Top Sites
Safari, Apple’s web browser, remembers the web sites users visit most often and positions them as tiled windows within its Top Sites view (Figure G). The feature is reachable by clicking a single icon parked on Safari’s menu bar, making it easy to quickly access a user’s most frequently visited web sites.Figure G
Safari web site
Safari dedicates minimum real estate to menu bars, toolbars, and navigational aids. Web sites and their content become the primary focus. Safari also receives some upgrades within Mavericks (Figure H). SharedLinks enables using the sidebar to share links with Twitter and LinkedIn users, and the web browser is better tuned to enable longer battery life.Figure H
Safari Reader view
Safari offers a Reader view (Figure I) in which advertisements and other elements are stripped away. Instead, just the content the viewer seeks is displayed. When users are digging in, studying a difficult concept and attempting to eliminate extraneous noise and distraction, the Reader view proves helpful.Figure I
iBooks is included within OS X Mavericks (Figure J), meaning Mac and iOS users’ can now share books, PDFs, and other titles across all their Apple devices.
Apple’s trend toward minimal, simplified environments proves true with Calendar in Mavericks (Figure K), where the appointment program receives a refreshed look. Toolbars, menus, navigational aids, and associated elements are minimized in favor of providing better visibility for the calendar and its corresponding data.Figure K
The Mac OS X Mavericks Calendar also offers Day (Figure L), Week, and Year views. Users can even leverage the new Calendar to predict the drive time to appointments and trigger notification reminders when it’s time to leave for a meeting.Figure L
The Mavericks OS includes Apple’s Maps app (Figure M). Most users will find the app’s satellite and hybrid views handy for scouting sites, determining locations, viewing landmarks, and reviewing other geographic and map information. As is Apple’s style, the company has managed to take an application another company originally made popular (I’d argue Google was among the pioneers to make an initial mapping splash) and improve upon it by making the feature easy to use and beautiful to behold while leveraging the stunning graphics power of Macs and adding new Flyover capabilities.Figure M
Maps driving directions
Driving directions simplify business travel and assist users in determining the best driving routes (Figure N). With Mavericks, users can also share driving directions via email, Messages, AirDrop, and Twitter, among other methods.Figure N
Maps driving directions
The Hybrid view (Figure O) adds additional map detail, including principal roadways and interstates, cities, and even subdivision information to assist users in better navigating their travels.Figure O
Users can configure dozens of System Preferences (Figure P) within OS X Mavericks. Using System Preferences options, users can customize the desktop look and feel, network configurations, security preferences, iCloud settings, and more.Figure P
Security and privacy
Users can better secure their Macs by requiring a password immediately after waking the system from sleep or the screen saver. Users can also leverage built-in encryption (using FileVault), disable automatic login, and specify app download settings, among other security options (Figure Q).Figure Q
Security and privacy
Users & Groups
Users & Groups settings within Mavericks are similar to those found in more recent OS X releases. Login icons and options are set, as are Parental Controls, from within the Users & Groups console (Figure R).Figure R
Users & Groups
App Store settings
Mavericks allows users to configure numerous App Store settings (Figure S). Some of the settings include Mavericks automatically checking for app updates, apps downloading in the background, and app updates installing automatically. Users can also choose to automatically install system data files and security updates from within the App Store System Preferences.
App Store settings
Apple’s proven Time Machine backup application continues, largely unchanged, within Mavericks. Time Machine System Preferences (Figure T) enable reviewing the status of various Time Machine media, confirmation of backup status, changing backup schedules, and more.Figure T
When storing or transferring photos and creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, users can assign tags to files as the files are created and updated. Files can also be right-clicked within Finder. A resulting pop-up menu includes an option for selecting and specifying tags to individual files and folders, too. As more tags are applied (Figure U), integrated searching and retrieval of similarly related items becomes possible, enabling infinitely customizable organization and search capabilities.Figure U
While Energy Saver settings appear the same within Mavericks, the new OS significantly reduces energy consumption. Mobile users will find that they can work longer between charges, as a result. The year-old MacBook Pro shown here is running Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and the highest display brightness ,and it possesses a battery life estimated at just under five hours.Figure V
Notifications can be customized within Mavericks to list email messages, Facebook updates, Tweets, and more. The feature also includes a Do Not Disturb option, which is set to Off in this screenshot (Figure W).Figure W
iCloud settings (Figure X) now list Keychain within Mavericks. Keychain enables users to securely track passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information and securely synchronize that information with the user's other Apple and iOS devices.
iCloudWhat is your favorite new feature or update in OS X 10.9 Mavericks? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.