Apple has decided it should treat the Mac community in the same way it has been treating iOS users and ship the update via the Mac App Store.
Mavericks introduces new features that are aimed at professionals, updates major interface components, it overhauls the system’s branding. Big cats are out, and California locations are in (Mavericks being a surfing hotspot).
The default desktop picture can be seen as a huge wave, washing away the overbearing textures most often attributed to Scott Forstall.
While Mavericks is designed to bring Apple’s desktop and mobile closer together, this isn’t a radical iOs-7-style redesign. It’s more a refinement of OS X’s existing design language that just happens to be simpler and cleaner.
Skeuomorphism is out, so you’ll see less fake wood and pretend leather (although it lives on in some applications, including the paper-themed Notes). Mavericks dials down the interface chrome so content can stand out, but it’s also suitable for the desktop in the way a stark, text-oriented iOS 7-style theme might not be.
As with anything Apple-related these days, Mavericks wasn’t an upgrade full of surprises. Instead, it was a case of getting our hands on features we’ve seen demoed earlier in the year, and for the most part these features are welcome – though not always.
Finder gains tabs, which are a genuine enhancement, and tags, which are less successful. Maps is, but you won’t get the best out of it unless you have thoroughly embraced Apple for desktop and mobile.
Calendar has been improved with intelligent additions, but regrettably these haven’t been applied with perfect consistency. Safari, on the other hand, is unambiguously better in this release, and we hope it will stay that way.
Apple has also used Mavericks to give users more control over their own systems. Fullscreen is much better for multiple display setups and the App Nap function makes it easier than ever to see which applications are consuming power, so you can put them to sleep to preserve your battery life.
And there are also smaller enhancements which, while not exactly revolutionary, promise to make using your Mac a subtly simpler and more satisfying experience.
According to Apple, Macs back to 2007 are supported, as follows:
- iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminium, or Early 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
- Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
Any machines running the update must have 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of disk space.