Mac OS X Mavericks review
- Great price
- Maps and Books
- Improved performance
- Not different enough for some
- Notes icon needs updating
Apple's operating software has been getting cheaper and cheaper. Last year, the OS X Mountain Lion update was released for just £13.99. And now, the price has been reduced further, about as far as it possibly can go. Yes, you may have heard, Mac OS X Mavericks is completely free.
Impeccable value then, and what's more, if you have a Mac that's compatible with the software, it doesn't matter if you have an older OS - you don't need to buy the inbetween versions. Apple says it will work on any Mac released since late 2007.
Apple's thinking is it wants all it users to be on the latest page, with the best software. This makes the hardware - like the new iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina - look its best and means that developers have an easier job. It also means that there's a less fragmented user base out there (like iOS, unlike Android).
OS X Mavericks: Updates
So what's new? Lots. Like the new version of software for iPhone, iPod and iPad, the computer software can now be set to offer automatic updates so you don't need to spend as much time keeping everything up to the moment.
And like iOS 7, OS X now has a cleaner style. The calendar is no longer designed to look like it's made of paper with last month's dates badly torn off, framed by a leather top. It's just white screen with clear, sharp writing on it which is easy and speedy to navigate. Though confusingly, the app icons look the same as they always did - the date on a calendar with metal rings on it is there in the dock as before.
The Notes icon still resembles a US yellow legal pad, though the app itself is changed to reflect the cleaner, clearer look that OS X and iOS 7 have both adopted.
Programs and functions that have been updated include the addition of tags in the Finder so you can attach colour-coded tags to documents, photos and other files making them easier to categorise and locate in more ways than just date created, name and so on.
There are gentle improvements to areas such as the browser Safari which has a re-designed top sites page and promises to be faster - it certainly feels nippy.
Updates, a very handy addition to Mountain Lion, is gently improved with the addition of more ways to interact with the alert as it appears. Get an email and you can open it or whisk the notification offscreen as before. But now you can also reply or delete directly from the notification, which is handier than going to the relevant program.
Mavericks also helpfully details how you're using power. So if you click on the little battery icon to reveal the power menu it lists (as before) battery charge level, whether it's plugged in and whether to show the battery percentage or just the icon.
But now there's a line that reads 'No Apps using significant energy' or else lists which programs are draining power. If you're running low on battery and know you can't plug in for a while, this is highly useful information so you can kill the power-hungry apps. And if you need those programs working, then at least you know you're right to fret...