Updates from QA Training

Apple’s latest Operating System – OS X Mavericks – My top 3 features


Scott Hayes | 19 June 2013

The latest release of Apple’s Operating System is here, and in this blog Principal Technologist for Apple, Scott Hayes examines some of the new features and functionality which make this new release the best yet.

Shakespeare once pondered, "What's in a name?" and in recent years, many avid Apple followers have been pondering on the same question - when it comes to the release of Apple's operating systems - what is in a name?

We've had 9 big cats in the last 12 years - Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion - and so what big cat would we see with version 10.9? Well, we finally have the answer... and thankfully it's not OS X Sea Lion!

Apple has changed direction with the naming of their latest release and has named OS X 10.9 - OS X Mavericks.

No doubt this move will spark debates in certain circles about the origins of 'Mavericks'. Is Tim Cook a keen surfer and referencing the haven for surfers? Or is the new name paying homage to Apple's Crazy Ones advert of the late 90s. Please excuse my Apple geekery - to debate such a matter is probably not want you are keen to read about, the real question is, what does OS X Mavericks bring to the table, that OS X Mountain Lion didn't?

1. The Interface

First off, those who love the rich interface of previous versions of OS X will feel right at home in OS X Mavericks. The interface has the same feel and simple functionality as previous versions of OS X. But from there on in there are some pretty major changes from OS X Mountain Lion.

Finding and keeping track of documents, pictures, spreadsheets and keynote presentations has just become as easy as child's play with Tags. No longer do you have to worry about a complicated folder structure for your work or wonder which folder to save that Keynote presentation to, simply Tag it and away you go. Once in Finder your Tags are there waiting. The really cool part? A file can have multiple Tags and will show in all of the Finder Tags - you can search for multiple Tags to get the clearest results you'll ever see and of course Quicklook is still there so a press of the Spacebar and you can rapidly view the contents of the file. Finder Tags really could change the way you manage your files.

2. Password Storage with iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain will take away any hassle of remembering passwords, access codes and credit card details as you move between you Mac and iOS devices, (oh and for added security, your credit card CCV number is not stored). Storing all the information you would need with robust AES 256-bit encryption, you can move from device to device without having to reach for that Sticky Note with all those passwords written on it! If you make a change, OS X Mavericks automatically updates with iCloud so the details are there on you iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Of course, you may not want all those details saved with iCloud… no problem, just tell OS X Mavericks what information you want stored and that's all it will store.

3. Increased Speed and Power Handling

Apple have a number of Notebooks, desktops and networking devices due for release over the coming year that support the fact that wifi keeps getting faster and faster. OS X Mavericks fully supports 802.11ac allowing even quicker access to those off-line files and websites.

One of the truly stunning aspects of OS X Mavericks is the way it handles power. With more and more users switching from Desktops to Notebooks, Apple have totally changed the way processes access the CPU, allowing more idle time between processes which in turn enables the CPU to enter a low power state more often and for longer giving up to a 72% reduction in CPU time for low level operations. But it doesn't stop there…

OS X Mavericks also introduces App Nap. If you have an app running but the app is doing nothing (think of a news website with a ticker running) and you completely cover the app window with another App, OS X Mavericks notices the app window is completely covered and uses App Nap to reduce the power required by the app by reducing the speed at which it runs within the system. Expose just a small part of the app window and OS X Mavericks instantly shifts the app back to full speed. Just this simple (OK it's not simple it's quite stunning, but the simplicity is in the way it works for the user) process can reduce CPU energy by up to 23%.

So why would you want to go on a training course for OS X Mavericks when you've just upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion?

Well unlike other vendors, Apple typically see around 35-40% of its install base upgrade within the first year of release (by comparison, Microsoft Windows 8 has seen an install base of less than 5% since its release). Just as soon as the official courses are released by Apple, QA will be offering OS X Mavericks Support Essentials, OS X Server Essentials courses and for those with a more advanced knowledge of OS X we will have the certification Bootcamp course and of course our exam prep courses to help you to obtain your Apple certifications.

Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes

Principal Technologist – Apple

Scott has been in the IT service industry for over 30 years (including with QA for over 20 years) and since 1998 as a technical instructor specialising in Client/Server environments, mobile device management and network Infrastructure. As QA’s Principal Technologist for Apple, Scott heads up QA’s Apple technical training ensuring we are able to offer training in the latest Apple environments, authoring QA courseware in the Apple space and presenting at seminars on subjects such as Apple in the enterprise and Mobile device deployment strategies. As an IT specialist he spends a great deal of time looking at where the IT industry is going and what major changes are on the horizon from the Client/Server, mobile device & network infrastructure point of view and see how this will affect the industry. As a trainer he spends time looking at the latest training ideas and how they could fit within QA, that latest of which includes extending QA’s Attend from Anywhere to Apple training. Areas of expertise: Apple Client/Server, Apple Mobile Device management, Microsoft Client/Server & Network infrastructure.
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