As an iMac and MacBook Pro owner, I’m always keen to keep them maintained and up to date, therefore an update of their operating system figures high on my priority list. With the release of OS X Mavericks yesterday, I’ve had 24 hours to see what the vast list of updates means to me.

the install

The first surprise when it came to installing Mavericks was a very pleasant one, the price. I’d fully expected the update to cost £12-15, even though some commentators were speculating on it being free. Their speculations proved to be correct as Apple followed Microsoft’s lead and launched their update for free.

The download and installation process took around 40 minutes on the iMac and a little longer on the MacBook. There were no complications or glitches, so those who worry about downtime need not be concerned.

Once complete, Mavericks came to life with the same familiar look and a disappointing lack of fanfare. At this point I began to wonder if the price was going to reflect the content.

maps

I was interested to see the introduction of Maps to OS X and it’s integration with iOS. I use the iOS app regularly, but often use Google Maps on the iMac when planning a journey.

nav_icon_mapsThe new Maps App is simple and intuitive to use, mainly due to it’s similarity to Google Maps. It works quickly and gives good routes.

A problem arose when it came to pinging a test route from my home to my parent’s house from the iMac to iPhone. I clicked to share, and was disappointed to find that none of my devices were shown. I tried again, looked in the preferences and settings and found no reference. A moment of contemplation alerted me to the fact that the routes are pinged via iCloud. I logged out of iCloud, logged back in and Hey Presto.

I’ll use Maps regularly. Google Maps can consider itself redundant.

calendar

I use Calendar on a daily basis and share calendars with the family to stay organised. I have however always disliked the feel of calendar on OS X. I’ve always been annoyed with the way a new event is created then edited, creating 2 iOS notifications for those I share my calendars with. But most of all I’ve always felt that something was missing, that more could be done with calendars.

nav_icon_calendar

My first impression on opening the new Calendar was one of visual happiness. Calendar now has a contemporary flat design that I love. It now ties in aesthetically as well functionally with the iOS app.

The first thing I did was go to create an event by clicking on a date. I was pleased to find that my old bugbear has been fixed. The event is now created fully in the first instance.

Whether the feeling that something was missing from Calendar will be fixed with it’s integration with Maps and better time management features is yet to be tested. To improve its look is just cosmetic, to remove a pet hate makes me very happy, but is Calendar any better? Time will tell.

safari

I use Safari a lot. I had no problems with it, no issues, no bugbears.

nav_icon_safari

For me, new Safari only offers 1 improvement, better bookmarks. Bookmarks is now akin to the system used on iOS. Much cleaner, better organised and simpler. We also see the addition of shared links that saves the hourly trip to Twitter.

Safari feels faster than before, but so does everything on a new OS so time will tell here too.

I did find after update that my swipe between pages function on the Magic Mouse failed to work. A quick trip to system preferences fixed that though.

finder tabs

Why hasn’t this been done before now? A long overdue addition to OS X.

Finally, Finder is now tabbed. No longer do I need 4 open Finder tabsnav_icon_finder, just 1 tabbed Finder is all I need.

Perfect, thank you Apple. Plus, they’ve added a superb file organisational tool for finder, Tags.

tags

Another superb addition to OS X is Tags, a file organisation system for those of us who love systems, organisation and structure.

nav_icon_tags

In essence you create a file, save it by name, then give it a series of tags that allow you to organise and find it and linked files easily. For example, I have created a .psd for Facebook cover images. I can tag the file as Facebook, I can tag each one I do with a customers name, I can tag other files for that customer with their name too.

Then, when I need to find the Facebook files for that customer I type their name and Facebook into Finder and they appear.

Simple, yet brilliant.

advanced technologies

I’m no techno wizard, the reason I use Apple products is because I believe the boffins.

nav_icon_advanced_tech

If they tell me that battery life on my MacBook will be improved, that performance will be accelerated across both devices and that the world will be a better place. I’m OK with that.

other stuff

I don’t use iBooks, I prefer a trip to Waterstones. I’ll not use iBooks for the foreseeable future and cannot see the appeal of sitting at the iMac reading a book, but each to their own.

iCloud Keychain seems to make sense in some ways, I’m yet to need or trust in it.

The improvements to Multiple Displays sound good. I had a little play with the new Apple TV capabilities, linked from the MacBook but only for media playing which I could achieve through Apple TV and iTunes sharing anyway. At some point I’ll link the iMac and MacBook on my desk and test it properly.

In the past I’ve found Notifications distracting and have most of it’s functions shut down. Therefore, the idea of responding from within a notification appeals to me. I may do a test run with Messages to see if I’ll get on better with them post-update.

in summary

You can’t grumble with free, but my first reaction to the Mavericks update was a sense of disappointment. There was no WOW, no WHOOSH, just an oh.

After 24 hours there is still no WOW or WHOOSH, but the improvements to OS X seem to be ones that I would have made if I was making such decisions. The updates are clever and subtle with flashes of brilliance.

Finder Tabs and Tags make Finder a great organisation and navigation tool and this is after all what an operating system is. Apple have made plenty of statements about the Advanced Technologies and improved performance. If these statements are transferred into real improvements in performance, when added to Finder improvements OS X will have made a leap with Mavericks.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned with the Mavericks update, it’s that I should never judge an iBook by it’s WHOOSH.

 

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