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The infamous Maps application will appear in OS X Mavericks. The furor over Maps has died down. I used it from the very beginning, and found it to be accurate. Even Consumer Reports rated the app as competent. Now, these same breathtaking 3D views can be enjoyed on your Mac. You can even send directions to your iPhone, which will appear on your lock screen for easy access. Apple has included a Software Development Kit (SDK) for Maps, enabling developers to integrate the technology into OS X apps. Maps has also been integrated into core OS X apps, such as Calendar.
iBooks is another iOS app ported to OS X for the Mavericks release. The app no longer features wooden bookshelves. Instead, it has a simpler design. The WWDC presentation made it clear that iBooks is geared for students. There are many e-book platforms available. I typically buy Kindle e-books, because they’re inexpensive and have good enough features. However, Apple made it clear that their e-book technology goes beyond all others. iBooks allows readers to take notes and highlight text, like most e-readers. However, the videos, interactive simulations and flash cards trump other e-book products. The student with a brand new, shiny MacBook has a good reason to buy textbooks in iBooks format. Like with many products, Apple can’t always compete on price, but they usually offer better functionality.
Calendar has been redesigned to resemble its iOS 7 counterpart. There’s no leather binding. Instead, it features a simple white background with mostly pastel colors. Calendars boasts some clever system integration. It connects to Facebook. It also connects to Maps to provide directions and add travel time to appointments. Calendar can even suggest restaurants if you make a meal appointment. Apple excels at designing integrated systems. All of their products work well together, providing a synergy that makes life easier.
The new features are a modest improvement on Mountain Lion. Like past OS X releases, Apple makes small, incremental changes. OS X is revised every 6 to 22 months, unlike Windows, which is released rarely and has sweeping changes. Apple offers these upgrades at a nominal fee, making it difficult to be critical of gradual, incremental changes. Nonetheless, Mavericks introduces some innovative system features that MacBook users will surely appreciate.
MacBooks already have amazing battery life. With Mavericks, this gets even better. New features, such as Timer Coalescing and Compressed Memory help users get more out of the battery and limited memory. (continue…)