Apple unveils OS X El Capitan at WWDC
Apple unveiled the latest iteration of OS X, now dubbed El Capitan, at today’s WWDC.
While El Capitan continues the Californian naming conventions of Yosemite and Mavericks, Apple is adamant it brings greater performance and a better experience for Mac users.
OS X El Capitan: Experience improvements
To start, OS X El Capitan contains improved Spotlight search, allowing you to search through natural language. Apple’s Craig Federighi came to stage to demonstrate how you can now search in Mail for “mail I have ignored” or check in Finder for “documents I last worked on in June”. It’s clearly a vastly improved search experience, and while it wasn’t explained, it’s probably down to feedback from Siri on iOS.
Alongside Spotlight improvements, OS X 10.11 improves upon its already impressive multitask features. Just like before, a four-fingered swipe up opens Mission Control where you can view all the windows you have open. However, full-screen apps can now support floating windows in them, meaning no switching from desktop to desktop because you opened an email.
Don’t fancy full-screen apps? You can now “snap” windows together, a la Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. It’s a feature sorely missing from OS X, and quite possibly the only area Microsoft’s OS really excelled at for multitasking. Apps can be flicked up into your Spaces bar too, and pulled down and snapped together instantly as well.
Apple has also tried to improve Safari, bringing along some features from Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox in the process. Pinned tabs are a new feature for El Capitan’s Safari build, and unlike Chrome or Firefox, pinned tabs stay even if you close Safari down completely. Also, clicking a link in a pinned tab doesn’t refresh the page – instead it opens it in a completely new tab to preserve what you’re doing. If that wasn’t enough, Safari can now notify you when music is playing in a tab, a la Chrome. Want to mute it without closing a tab or hunting down the source? Now you can. Alternatively you can just jump to exactly where the sound is coming from and shut it down.
OS X El Capitan: Performance improvements
Federighi promised the WWDC crowd a raft of performance improvements with OS X El Capitan, and it seems we can expect a notable improvement this time around.
Reeling off stats on stage, OS X 10.11 will be able to launch apps 1.4 times faster, switch apps twice as fast, and load PDF documents four times faster in Preview. El Capitan is now better for gaming and rendering apps, promising a 50% improvement in rendering performance and 40% greater rendering efficiency, all thanks to integration with Apple’s Metal framework.
Thanks to Metal, OS X 10.11 can deliver better battery life and improved performance for editing video and playing games. Adobe claimed it would be making the most of OS X and Metal for its Creative Cloud suite, and Gears of War creator Epic Games came on stage to demo how Unreal Engine 4 games will look and work on Mac. Clearly Apple want to push what people do with a Mac.
Finally, Apple unveiled that OS X 10.11 El Capitain is available today for developers. In July we can expect a public beta, just like Yosemite had, and a general release will come for free this autumn.
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