iOS 7 may have been the real headline story to come out of Apple’s WWDC keynote earlier this month, but there’s still a few awesome features to be savoured in OS X 10.9 Mavericks — the upcoming update to the Mac operating system. The overall look and feel of things might not have changed (for now, at least) to reflect the radical redesign that is iOS 7, but if you’re a Mac owner and you’re able to upgrade, you’re still going to want to get Mavericks on your Machine. Here’s a pick of our favourite features, including a few under-the-hood improvements which you might have missed:
1. Interactive Notifications
It’s been a jailbreak tweak on the iPhone for some time now, but the ability to reply to a Messages notification on your Mac is almost here. As well as being able to reply to messages received via iMessage, you can also respond to emails and even accept or reject FaceTime calls without having to switch apps and move away from what you’re doing. It’s a subtle improvement that’s bound to make a difference to your productivity. Unless what you’re currently doing is looking at cat videos on YouTube, in which case it won’t improve your productivity at all.
2. App Nap
App Nap might sound whimsical, but the technology and the thinking behind it is far from it. This power-saving and Mac-enhancing Mavericks features slows down any apps that are completely hidden on your desktop (either behind another window, minimised or just…well…hidden), freeing up more memory and power for the task in hand. Don’t worry, though, if you’re downloading a movie (legally) in Safari, playing music iTunes or receiving an email, App Nap won’t affect these situations (or any other where an app is actively working, for the matter). As soon as you start to use that app again, everything will speed up and you’ll never know it had slowed down. Magic.
3. AirPlay Display
AirPlay mirroring might’ve been a feature for some time and secondary displays have been a feature for even longer but Apple have done the unthinkable (actually, it’s completely thinkable) and combined the two in the form of AirPlay Display. Now any TV you have hooked up to an Apple TV will happily function as a secondary display for your Mac. It’s not quite clear yet what effect this will have on your Mac’s processor or graphics, but if it’s implemented as well as AirPlay mirroring was, you’re in for a wireless, multi-display-shaped treat…
4. Safari Power Saver
Apple’s war against Flash continues in the form of Safari Power Saver. This clever little feature watches out for power-hungry web plug-ins such as Flash and Java and pauses them, leaving you with a static preview of what might’ve been if Adobe’s favourite battery eater had been allowed to run riot in your browser. Clicking on that preview will let it do just that, though, so you needn’t worry about missing out on a good old game of Dolphin Olympics 2. What’s more, Safari Power Saver is intelligent, so it’ll only pause plug-ins that aren’t front and centre of the website your on (in other words, usually the banner ads you’re really not interested in). Smart!
5. Send Maps to iOS
Picture this: You’re on the phone to your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/partner/sister/brother/flatmate, they’re lost and irate and you’re desperately trying to direct them while they’re on the phone. It’s no fun for anyone. You’re searching the internet for directions at speeds that’d earn you a starring role in The Matrix, they’re doing their best impression of someone who’s been on hold to a call centre for the last six hours, it’s a recipe for disaster, or at least a break-up. Picture this no more, though, because OS X Mavericks brings with it the ability to send directions from the all new Maps app straight to an iPhone. Mavericks isn’t just a sweet surf spot or Apple’s next OS, it’s also a saver of relationships…