Out of all the rumored announcements circling around WWDC, I was most excited about news surrounding the next major release of Mac OS X. My appeal for Apple’s desktop operating systems have waned in recent years, as Apple has made feature parity between OS X and iOS a priority. But despite my public dissatisfaction with Lion and Mountain Lion, I will always be a Mac user at heart. It was Apple’s operating system and software that first made me a Mac fan back in the early days of the Macintosh 512k. And it is the continued evolution of Mac OS X that makes me a fan of technology today.
iOS is just an extension of Mac OS X. Each operating system serves different hardware architectures, with different priorities, but the goal of each is the same. To provide the best user experience possible. In the past I may have been critical of how Apple tried to accomplish this goal on the Mac, by bringing back features from iOS. But this time I am excited to see Mac OS X Mavericks bring several features to the Mac first that will ultimately benefit OS X and iOS users alike.
Mac OS X Mavericks is all about power conservation.
Fast performance and long battery life are two of the things people love about the Mac. With OS X Mavericks, we wanted to take them even further. So we looked at every level of the operating system, from the foundation up to the apps themselves, for ways to save power while also boosting responsiveness. Here are just a few of the innovations that will make your Mac work smarter, not harder.
Mac OS X Mavericks only shows you what you need to see. With a feature called App Nap, Mavericks helps you save power when you’re working with multiple apps at the same time.
OS X can tell when an app is completely hidden behind other windows. And if that app isn’t currently doing something for you - playing music, downloading a file, or checking email, for example - App Nap conserves valuable battery life by slowing the app down.
As soon as the app window is visible again, Mavericks instantly shifts the app back to full speed. Craig Federighi demonstrated this trick by covering up an app with a different Window during the keynote and watching the power demands of the MacBook diminish as he did so. As soon as the app was returned to the forefront playback resumed instantly, and so did the demands on a MacBook’s battery. What’s more, Apple is even taking these behind-the-scenes power saving measure to Safari by making off-center Flash content click-to-play in Mavericks.
The new Safari Power Saver feature recognizes the difference between what you came to see and the stuff you probably didn’t. If the content is front and center it plays as usual. But if it’s off in the margins, Safari Power Saver pauses it. You’ll see a static preview, and it won’t run until you click to play it.
With millions of these App Naps happening each day it is exciting to see Apple taking every little opportunity to conserve power so seriously.
Another way Mavericks is prolonging the life of your MacBook battery is with compressed memory. Compressed Memory gives your Mac more fast-acting volatile storage, prolonging the amount of time before it has to rely on the slow, power-hungry process of swapping out RAM to disk.
With OS X Mavericks, Compressed Memory allows your Mac to free up memory space when you need it most. As your Mac approaches maximum memory capacity, OS X automatically compresses data from inactive apps, making more memory available.
Once the memory is compressed, your Mac doesn’t have to waste time continually transferring data back and forth between memory and storage. So it.s able to get more done in less time.
Your Mac uses more power with each RAM chip installed. And active memory uses the same amount of power as inactive memory. By making more of less, Compressed Memory means you not only need to rely less on virtual memory, but you will require less memory to run all of your favorite apps at the same time. Compressed Memory is a technique iOS 7 will certainly utilize to make the most of multitasking where virtual memory is not an option.
By rounding up multiple stray low-level background processes and performing them at the same time, Mavericks gives your Mac’s processor more time to rest, which gives your greater battery life.
In OS X Mavericks, Timer Coalescing groups low-level operations together, creating tiny periods of idle time that allow your CPU to enter a low-power state more often. With its activity reduced up to 72 percent, the CPU uses less energy, giving your battery a break, too. This happens so fast you won’t notice a thing. And your Mac still gets just as much done just as quickly.
Combined with App Naps, and Compressed Memory, Timer Coalescing is a big deal for your MacBook’s battery life, especially when you consider the dramatic power savings modern Intel processors exhibit when they are idle. The iPhone’s ARM processor may not see the same dramatic benefit from entering a lower-power state as the latest Intel CPU, but that doesn’t mean Apple won’t take advantage of Timer Coalescing in the attest version of iOS now that iOS 7 has true multitasking.
OS X Mavericks will offer multiple improvements. Some like a new version of Calendar, and better Multiple Display support will fix changes brought back to the Mac from iOS. Others like the new iBooks and Maps apps will continue to bring features previously only available on iDevices back to Mac. But for me the most exciting improvements in Mavericks are the under-the-hood changes that make Mac more user friendly for applications new and old. I am excited to see what else Apple has in store for us on the Mac this Fall, and glad to see that this year some of the best improvements will be making their way to the Mac first.