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The Lowdown: Apple Unveils OS X Mavericks; Introduces New MacBook Air Lineup

WWDC13 Logo

Besides the iOS 7 announcement, Apple also announced the next major versions of its OS X operating system, refreshed its MacBook Air series of notebooks and previewed Mac Pro desktop at Worldwide Developer Conference 2013 (WWDC 2013), its ongoing annual developer conference held at Moscone Center, San Francisco.

Here is a quick lowdown on all the OS X related announcements:

OS X Stats & OS X Mavericks: The total Mac user base now stands at 72 million with 35% of them on the latest version, OS X Mountain Lion. The company has shipped 28 million copies of OS X Mountain Lion in the past eleven months.

OS X Mavericks

Apple previewed its 10th major OS X release, named ‘OS X Mavericks’ which claims to introduce more than 200 new features. Among the prominent new features include tabbed Finder windows and document tagging to organize and search files easily, improved multiple displays support and advanced features like support for Open GL4, App Nap (reduces the power consumed by inactive apps), Timer Coalescing (intelligently groups together low-level operations to reduce CPU activity) and Compressed Memory (which rapidly compresses inactive memory to improve response time) among others.

Safari browser has also been updated to bring in new features like a new sidebar which combines bookmarks, user’s reading list and a new feature called ‘Shared Links‘ which aggregates links from the user’s Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Apple has also introduced a new password management system called iCloud Keychain which can store website login passwords, credit cards details (no CVV support), WiFi passwords and account information and sync them across all trusted devices over iCloud.

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OS X Mavericks is expected to be available for download from the Mac App Store in the fall, with a developer preview available for registered Mac developers on Apple developer website today.

Maps & iBooks on OS X: Apple also announced dedicated Maps app and iBooks app for OS X. The company claims that the iBooks app will offer more than 1.8 million books across various categories like textbooks, classics, and best sellers among others to users. It also announced a new version of Calendar app with weather information, location suggestions and built-in integration to Apple Maps and improved notifications feature. There are also some new convergence features between iOS and OS X operating systems – the Notifications feature provides an option for users to receive iOS push alerts on their desktop Mac, while the Maps app has the ability to send routes to their iOS device from the desktop.

iCloud: Apple’s cloud service, iCloud now has 300 million registered users and users have re-downloaded their content through iTunes in the cloud around 35 billion times. Apple’s social gaming network, Game Center now has 240 million registered users and the company claimed that 60 of the top 100 games in iOS have Game center integration. Apple has also sent 800 billion messages through iMessage and has delivered 7.4 trillion push notifications until now. However its was not clear if this number includes duplicates since it delivers push notifications on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as of now.

iWork for iCloud: Apple has introduced its iWork productivity suite which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote on iCloud. From the looks of it, it seems to be Apple’ answer to Google Docs and Microsoft Office Web Apps, since it allows users to create documents from within the browser and syncs them across all trusted devices over iCloud. It also features support for Microsoft Office documents. The service is currently available as a developer beta on iCloud website, with a public beta expected later in the year. Apple noted that the service supports only Safari, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome in the current beta version.

iWork in iCloud

Xcode 5 Developer preview: Apple has released a developer preview of Xcode 5, which includes the OS X 10.9 ‘Mavericks’ SDK and iOS 7 SDK beta and brings in new features like automatic configuration, test navigator, a new source control menu, new debug gauges, auto layout features and the ability to create bots to build and execute the complete test suite and also run the Xcode static analyzer to find potential bugs. It is currently available for registered Mac and iOS developers on the Apple Developer website.

New MacBook Air: Apple launched updated versions of its 11″ and 13″ MacBook Air notebooks, bringing in improved battery life, faster flash storage, Intel’s 4th gen ‘Haswell’ processors and support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The company claims that the new 11″ notebook will offer nine hours of battery life while the 13″ notebook will offer 12 hours of battery life.

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Macbook Air

Both the variants are shipping today and will ship with OS X Mountain Lion. The 11″ variant will be available for Rs 67,900 (128GB) and Rs 81,900 (256GB) while the 13″ variant will be available for Rs 74,900 (128GB) and Rs 88,900 (256GB).

New Mac Pro desktop: Apple previewed the next-gen Mac Pro desktop featuring a new pro desktop architecture and design, next generation Xeon processors, dual AMD Firepro processors, Thunderbolt 2, four USB 3 ports, six Thunderbolt ports and support for 4K displays. The desktop is expected to be available later this year.

Mac Pro

New AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule: Apple also introduced redesigned AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations with support for three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi, high-powered radios and a six-element beam-forming antenna array. AirPort Extreme is available for a suggested retail price of Rs 14,200, while AirPort Time Capsule will be available in two different variants – 2TB of storage for Rs 19,900 and 3TB of storage for Rs 25,900.

Apple Retail Stores: Apple currently has 407 stores across 14 countries and Cook said that these stores cumulatively get around one million daily visitors at present.

RelatedThe Lowdown: Apple Announces iOS 7, iOS In The Car & iTunes Radio At WWDC 2013

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