Apple OS X 10.9 Mavericks review
In addition to iOS integration, Mavericks brings enhancements to the traditional desktop. First, Finder windows can now contain multiple tabs, like a browser. This means you can easily hop back and forth between file system locations without filling up your screen with windows. It’s a simple but welcome improvement.
Secondly, the coloured label system has grown into a more versatile system of Tags. These are similar to labels, but you can create as many of them as you like, and assign multiple tags to individual files. If you’re managing a large library of documents, it’s a welcome improvement to be able to assign both project and department codes to files, for example.
There’s good news for multi-display users, too: at long last, each display gets its own menu bar and Dock. By default, each screen is configured as a separate Space, allowing you to run a full-screen application on one screen while remaining in desktop mode on the other; if you prefer, you can switch to extended desktop mode, enabling your windows to spill across displays. If you own an Apple TV, you can also use your television as a mirrored or secondary display.
A final update concerns the notifications framework. Safari for Mavericks introduces an API that enables (with your permission) online services to generate desktop notifications that work like system-level ones. Interactive notifications are also available: set a service to generate Alerts rather than Banners and you can reply directly to messages and emails by clicking a button on the notification pop-up.
Worth the upgrade?
The naming theme and distribution model may be new, but Mavericks isn’t a dramatic departure from what’s gone before in terms of functionality. Though several of the new features reach out to iOS, there’s nothing here that will require your existing desktop workflow to change, and we suspect most upgraders will be grateful for that.
Even if the new apps and multi-screen enhancements don’t appeal, it’s easy enough to disable or ignore any features you don’t need; you’ll still reap the benefits of running Apple’s latest, best-supported OS. Considering it’s free, Mavericks is a no-brainer for everyone who owns a Mac that’s recent enough to run it.
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