Review: Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Better power management, new file management features, and a slew of app updates -- all for free!

Pros:

Free: Mac OS updates are typically a paid upgrade, but Apple has finally embraced the free distribution model, including a bunch of new app updates to boot.

Tabs and Tags: As users are now naturally used to browsing and managing the Web with tabbed interfaces, one is left to wonder why first-party developers never incorporated this into the native OS sooner. You can now browse your directories with similar Safari-like prowess. Mavericks also brings the ability to add tags to each file. Users can now label each file with a tag and color for quick indexed search.

Notifications: You can now create responses directly from notifications. Supported services include Facebook, Twitter, FaceTime, e-mail, instant message, calendar events, and reminders.

Power: Mavericks revamps the way your Macbook allocates its system resources to save power and keep your apps running smoothly by drastically reducing processor consumption for inactive windows.

Cons:

Left Behind: Some apps like Messages, Reminders, and Game Center still look the same: dated or just plain ugly.

Closed: With all the notification updates, it also leaves you wanting more from other third-party apps.

Final Verdict:

In a semi-surprising but understandable move, Apple has released a major update that noticeably improves the overall experience of the OS X line for both new and older machines -- for free. Laptop users will especially appreciate the re-engineered power management system that makes more efficient use of the core processor -- increasing battery time. There are many seemingly small additions and changes that make bottom-line improvements to your overall computing, including a quick way to respond directly from notifications. The best management practices of the Web have now trickled down and integrated themselves into Mavericks, like tabbed browsers and tags. Included with a pack of updated apps, Mavericks 10.9 is a milestone for Mac users, both in value and new features.

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