When Apple announced version 10.9 of OS X (have you noticed that Apple stopped calling it Mac OS X and now they just call it OS X?) and decided to name it "Mavericks", two thoughts came to mind:
I was wrong on both counts. Apple has now decided to code name their OSs based on Californian locations, and to my disinformation, it turns out Mavericks is a surfers' paradise located just off the California coast conveniently located between San Francisco and Cupertino, where you'll find Apple's headquarters.
Mavericks located close to San Francisco and Cupertino - Displayed using the new Maps App.
Ok, let's get to the meat of Mavericks.
My first impression is that Mavericks is an expected progression to its OS X predecessors. As most OS X releases, it has a little bit of everything. From some great new features, like the way it handles multiple displays, to a number of under the hood improvements, like something called Timer Coalescing, to some others that although useful have room for improvement, like the Finder Tags. In just a few words, it feels to me like a "steady as she goes" release opposite to what Microsoft did with Windows 8 in 2012. What Microsoft did with Windows 8 felt to me more like "let's throw out everything we know and start from scratch" kind of a release.
A Mac with 2 displays and Apple TV as a 3rd display".
Windows 8 Start Screen.
The new Finder Tags allow you to add metadata to your files and folders. Once you've tagged your files, then you can use those tags with Spotlight to quickly and more accurately find what you're looking for.
A Finder Window finding 1,493 items tagged 'Red'.
As nice as it's being able to tag your files and folders I'm left wanting to tag other things, like emails, calendar events, contacts, iBook notes, etc.
One new feature you may not notice right away are Finder Tabs. These tabs simply allow you to combine multiple Finder windows in a single one using multiple tabs. Pretty much the same way you use tabs in your favorite web browser to reduce clutter. You may not notice the new feature because off the bat it's not obvious. In my case, maybe I've been using OS X for so long that so far I haven't got used to taking advantage of tabs. Probably if you were longing to take the Finder full screen, Finder Tabs would be super necessary, otherwise they're an easy to use way of reducing window clutter.
Finder Tabs do help reduce windows clutter.
Mavericks includes two very notable new applications, or as Apple now calls them, apps. One being iBooks and the other Maps.
The first time you launch the Maps app, you'll spend a few minutes exploring first your neighborhood, your city, and in no time you'll by flying over some major cities around the world. I dare you not to do so.
Maps on a Mac are so fluid, and with a fast internet connection you'll be flying over and around major landmarks. One thing you'll want, though, is to land your helicopter and drive around the city. Which is what I missed the most: a street view. It does take a minute to get used to all the features and navigation, but you'll be calculating travel times and directions to and from all sorts of places fairly quickly.
Three views are available in Maps: Standard…
If you are an avid eBook reader and have invested in some electronic books from the iBooks Store on your iOS device, I think you'll love the new iBooks app. Being a desktop app, you can have multiple windows open, use your keyboard and mouse/trackpad to navigate, make notes, bookmarks, and it all syncs with all your devices on the same iCloud account regardless if it’s a Mac or iOS.
The new iBooks app running on your Mac.
But if you have been using the Calendar app on your Mac for some time you may have gotten used to the virtual leather finishing. Well, it seems that there was a revolt in some of the ranks at Apple, because even at the keynote presentation when they introduced Mavericks, the Apple guys mentioned that no virtual cows were harmed in the making of the new calendar! The new calendar has the same features you're used to and more, but all without the virtual leather. The UI is quite streamlined. When you're using it, you'll feel the iOS 7 influence. Bright, clean, sharp and efficient. One of the more interesting additions to the calendar is the ability to look for addresses on a mini map and get approximate travel times. These features should be useful for those living in congested cities in the need to go from place to place for your business meetings.
The new cleaner, more powerful Calendar.
Of course your mileage may vary, but I would expect that with Mavericks you'd notice improved performance due to some of the changes Apple did, especially for those of you on MacBooks. Apple has put a lot of attention in making sure your battery life stays strong longer. And one really nice addition is the ability to use your Apple TV and your HDTV as an extended desktop.
If you’ve been a Mac user for some time, you’ll feel at home after installing Mavericks. But if you have multiple displays, then you will get a totally new experience; one which can be reverted to the old way, should you need to. You will also feel a bit deeper integration between your Mac and your iOS devices and iCloud. Documents in the Cloud, Messages, FaceTime do feel more part of the OS rather than add-ons.