Apple says launch of OS X Mavericks heralds ‘new era’ of free OS upgrades

22 Oct 2013

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Apple held its second big product launch event of the year today in San Francisco, and while most of the headlines will be grabbed by the glamour announcement of a new lighter, thinner iPad Air, the new OS X Mavericks was what first caught our eye.

Don’t worry, we’ll be telling you all about the iPad Air too, and the new range of MacBook Pros, among other things. However, what is possibly most significant about the launch of the new operating system OS X Mavericks, is that not only is it available immediately to download – for free, which is a first – but it offers one-step download, no matter what iteration of OS you have loaded on your post-2007 Mac.

Any Mac capable of running OS X Mountain Lion can also run Mavericks. Basically, you can upgrade to Mavericks, for free, directly from OS X Snow Leopard, Lion or Mountain Lion. An unusually customer-friendly move for Apple, it is surely designed to make ‘loyal’ long-time users of Apple’s suite of desktops and laptops feel that little bit warmer inside.

The OS X Mavericks is the 10th major release of the desktop operating system, with some 200 new features, including the ability to now use iBooks and Maps on your Mac. It also includes a new version of Safari and, most interestingly, a new ‘Tabs and Tags’ system that should facilitate easier organisation of your documents and multimedia files if you’re on Mac. According to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, it will also improve the performance and battery life of your Mac.

And he also indicated that the ‘free’ element was the beginning of a "new era" for Mac users – something that will be music to the ears of Mac regulars, although not to its competitors.

"We want every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security," said Federighi. "We believe the best way to do this is to begin a new era of personal computing software where OS upgrades are free."

Other new features include:

  • a new version of Safari with Shared Links, which helps you find what’s new on the web by consolidating links shared by people you follow on Twitter and LinkedIn;
  • iCloud Keychain, which safely stores your website usernames and passwords, credit card numbers and Wi-Fi passwords and pushes them to your trusted devices;
  • enhanced multi-display support, which makes using multiple displays easier and more powerful, with no configuration required;
  • interactive Notifications, allowing you to reply to a message, respond to a FaceTime® call or even delete an email without leaving the app you’re using;
  • Finder Tags, a new way to organise and find your files located on your Mac or in iCloud.

For further information, and a complete list of system requirements you can go directly to the Apple site.

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Ann O’Dea is the CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic and the founder of Inspirefest

editorial@siliconrepublic.com