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New Features Coming to Apple’s Mavericks OS X

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Named for the famous surfing location in Northern California, Apple’s latest iteration of its popular OS X is called Mavericks. The new name breaks with the OS’s traditionally feline names (as its last one was called Mountain Lion), and the new version of the operating system will hopefully bring some new features to the table to make using a Mac smoother and more streamlined. In short, Mavericks OS X sounds like it’ll make Mac fans plenty happy.

Tabbing, Tagging, and Multidisplay

Introduced today at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco by Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, Maverick will have a number of new usability features, three of which were demonstrated for an enthusiastic audience. So what can Mac users look forward to when the new version of OS X drops? Tabbing, tagging, and improved multidisplay.

While GUIs have used tabs for years in various iterations, it’s only within the last few years that tab-enabled web browsing really gained widespread ubiquity. Since most every web browser utilizes tabs these days—and because the majority of users’ time with computers revolves around browsing the web—it seems that Apple has decided to implement tabs into its actual operating system. Federighi showed attendees how to browse around Mavericks’ Finder using tabs, with multiple locations present in just one Finder window. The result is likely to be a much cleaner user experience.

On that same note, Mavericks will also feature tagging—another feature that brings the experience more in line with that of web browsing. In order to help users find files easily later on, they can insert and add tags on whatever files they like. It’s interesting that both of these features are making their way to Mavericks considering we take them more or less for granted when using the web, but until now they’ve never been a part of an actual operating system’s user interface. While neither are particularly sexy features, it seems as though they’ll do much to make using a Mac a bit more streamlined.

Federighi also discussed multidisplay, and the addition of the Mac’s menubar on both screens. While that feature probably won’t win awards for being the most revolutionary, it’s definitely the kind of little addition that will make using dual (or more) displays much more convenient—and I’m sure that us PC users would be more than happy for a similar addition for future versions of Windows.

Safari Improvements and Innovations

Federighi also took time to discuss improvements Mavericks will make to Apple’s web browser, Safari. The new version of the browser will include a sidebar that features bookmarks and Twitter updates. More interestingly, Federighi discussed the way in which Mavericks will route the Mac’s power where it’s most needed—so if a user is devoting time to a different program than Safari, the web browser will reduce the amount of computer power it’s sucking up. That way, users will be less likely to experience issues when trying to use other applications while Safari is running in the background. It’s a great sounding innovation, and if it actually delivers on these promises, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see other browsers ape the innovation.

Safari’s iCloud Keychain is another new addition to the browser, in which a user’s passwords and other sensitive data (like credit card information) will be stored in the cloud, allowing access with a security code.

Other Additions and Integrations

There also seems to be more integration between iOS and OS X, like the new push notifications. Federighi explained that your iOS device (like your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad) will now be synced up with your Mac so you’ll see notifications across both platforms. Users will also be able to reply to the notifications through the notifications themselves, instead of having to open up a separate application to do so.

Finally, Apple Maps and iBooks will also be integrated into Mavericks, once again demonstrating a deeper integration between iOS devices and the new iteration of OS X. So if you’ve got a book you’re reading on your iPhone or iPad, you can pick it up where you left off on your Mac. The same seems to go for Maps-usage between the two platforms, a convenient bit of multi-platform synergy that Apple fans are sure to love.

All of these additions seem to go a long way toward seamlessly blending the experience of using mobile devices and computers—which is always a welcome bit of innovation. Though, it should be said, Google’s been on this track with Android and its Chrome browser, though Apple seems to be taking the integration to the next level.

Above all, Mavericks sounds like an interesting upgrade to OS X—though not necessarily too much of a “maverick” in terms of looking to change the operating system game entirely.  The developer preview of OS X Mavericks will be available today, with the final release coming this fall.  What do you think about some of these new features? Let us know in the comments.

— Brian P. Rubin

Brian's been a writer-for-hire for the better part of ten years, creating content for Geek Magazine, Machinima, and even Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit. After living in New York for most of his life, he recently relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he plays drums in his band, the Lost Wheels, and roams the land for the midwest's best approximation of actual pizza.