It’s all a bit Meh for a full OSX upgrade
Although I’m sure that as soon as OS X Mavericks becomes available, I will be amongst the first in the queue to download the latest version of the Apple operating system as announced at WWDC 2013, it does seem a little bit underwhelming. There are some things that are coming within this next release that I would like to get my hands on, but there is nothing there which is completely must have fantastic. So let’s have a look and see what we’ve got to look forward to in autumn.
iBooks on the Mac
I am a fan of iBooks and I do have the intention of creating and selling books that I have made with iBooks author. It is a plus to be able to have iBooks available on the Mac and I think that there is a use case for some users of the application and having it on a Mac will be better than using it just on the iPad. Really I would like to see this electronic book technology become available on more places, it shouldn’t just be an Apple thing, it should also be available on other platforms too. It is obvious that Apple have this strategy because they want to sell more of the hardware, iPads and now probably MacBook Airs. As a publishing solution it would be far better if it was to gain acceptance as a default standard. If Apple don’t do this then it will probably end up being underutilised and possibly overtaken by a competing e-book format at a later stage.
Maps on the Mac
I suppose that where this is going to come in useful is where you are planning a journey and you want to see the information before you set out from home. It had to be launched to offer the competition to the Google maps service which is available on desktop computers as well as mobile computers. It does offer a couple of useful services such as the real-time traffic conditions and the ability to send your map to your mobile iOS device. You don’t get the street views as the user gets with the Google maps, but then on the other hand you do get the flyover view. As with many things the proof of the pudding is going to be actually trying it out and using it, so let’s see how this looks in autumn.
The Apple Calendar – Smooth or what?
There is going to be some integration with the maps application and where this is will benefit is the calculation of travel time. When you are setting up an event you will be able to see how much travel time you have to allow for getting to a place and I presume time needed after the event to get back home again. This application is not going to draw people away from using apps like BusyCal, but will nevertheless be useful for a majority of users. As with everything else on the Mac and the iOS operating systems everything is getting the simplified flat design. This is not necessarily better even if it does look a little bit fresher than the previous version and a lot of the changes come down to style fashion more than it affects function.
Going on Safari with Mavericks
I only occasionally use Safari, as for the day-to-day usage of a web browser I tend to use Google Chrome. I do this because it means I don’t have to have flash installed on my system as it is already available sandboxed within Chrome. So the question is, I tempted by the “innovative new features” that are going to be available in the next version of the Apple web browser?
Much of the change is going to be just a redesign with the same functionality, but there are one or two things which do look like they could be handy. The sidebar does look interesting, especially for using with the reading list. There will be times when you want to put a webpage into a list ready for reading later and you could end up with a list of webpages with five, ten or twenty waiting to be read. The useful part of this is that you can start on the first in the list, scroll down and continue scrolling down without having to go back to the list to choose the next one to read. The continuous scrolling is a good addition to the Apple Safari application. There are also performance enhancements and we will have to see how that works out when we get OSX Mavericks onto our computers.
iCloud Keychain versus 1Password
It will be handy for some users to have this available within the operating system, but it is not going to affect many power users like myself that are users of 1Password. There are going to be a lot of users that don’t have password management, that should have it and will benefit from the iCloud keychain. 1Password will probably have more ability and functionality and they may well gain more users due to the fact that passwords will become important to more people.
The Big One – Multiple Displays
This is the one change to the operating system that I consider to be a must have. Making a big deal of it as being a new and exciting addition to OS X is a little bit disingenuous. This is because the way that it has worked since OS X Lion was basically broken, incomplete or unfinished. Apple should have fixed this a lot sooner and have put it out as one of the in between upgrades rather than being a Mavericks new and wonderful feature. What I have been doing is to make applications go and fill the screen, but not be the full-screen setting so that I would still have my second display available for other applications. There are some applications which are much better to use in fullscreen mode and I think it is good that this change has been made.
The one new thing that has come with this multiple displays that is quite exciting and will be a new addition, is the ability to connect to your Apple TV and a television to use it as another extra display. My television is in the other room so it may not be quite so useful for me, but for those of you that have your television nearby, I can see that this could be incredibly useful. You might have a video running that you are half watching while you are working on other things on your main screens. This will also be good in presentation situations, so you could have full view of a set of notes while your Keynote presentation is being displayed on the television screen. I nearly forgot, but there will also be the multiple Dock and Menu bars.
Notify me with useful Notifications
Making the notifications interactive is going to be worth having so that you can click on something in a notification and you will be able to get things done this way. You will be to set it so that you can get updates from websites and also get notifications of what happened with your computer while you were away from it.
Improvements to the Finder application
It will be fairly sweet to be able to grab multiple Finder windows and consolidate them into one, using tabs. I am a user of the application Pathfinder which gives me a dual pane view. I also tried out TotalFinder. You don’t get that with Finder in Mavericks, but it is nearly as good. You will be able to drag a file from one window to the tab of another and drop it into that other folder. I would hope that when you hover over the top of a tab, that the tab will open giving access to folders within the main folder for more dragging and dropping opportunities.
Tag me baby
As a user of the Default Folder application I always have the ability to add tags to any files that I save, as I save them. This is probably the best way to tag your files because if you don’t tag them then, quite possibly you’re not going to take them at all. Tagging becomes useful when you’re working in a project with multiple types of file. You might tag a video file, a text document, some photos or even a Numbers document and when searching for all of the files for that project you will be be able to just search for that tag.
I also have an application called Tag It which allows me to tag files and to set up searches to find files based upon tags. Then there is the Mac application Houdaspot which is kind of like the Finder on steroids, that you can use for searching for tags. So again we are looking at Apple introducing features to the operating system and calling them new, when really they are just things that you could already do anyway. In some ways all they are doing is bringing attention to a feature that you could be using, integrating it and making it look nicer. In some ways you could certainly say that they are making an improvement. Still, it is not the same as introducing completely new and wonderful features to a new operating system.
Mac20Q verdict on Mavericks
Will I be getting OS X Mavericks? Hell yes! Of course I will be getting the latest version of OS X as soon as it becomes available. I am hoping that the price of it reflects the level of change that is being introduced, but I will be getting it anyway. The power efficiency features will not have such a great effect upon how I use my computer. There is a possibility that the performance will also be enhanced slightly by the changes to the O.S. that are under the bonnet. In any case, it is always best to have the latest version of software on your computer. You want to be able to keep at the forefront of computer usage and computer security. Any security enhancements that are applied after Mavericks becomes available will be available first on the new operating system. So, another good reason to upgrade to a new version of OS X.