WWDC '13: Apple shifts Mac OS X brand with debut of 'Mavericks'

Summary:Apple jumps from big cats to California-themed names for the next decade of Mac OS releases.

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Apple is dropping the big cats theme synonymous with its Mac operating system and going back to its roots: California.

See also: WWDC 2013: Apple streams keynote live; how to keep up to date | CNET's Apple WWDC 2013 live blog

Speaking during the opening keynote for WWDC 2013 on Monday, CEO Tim Cook rolled off some big numbers promoting the iMac and MacBook brands.

For starters, the Mac install base currently sits at 72 million users and growing -- double than it was five years ago.

Glossing over recent slumps for the global PC industry, Cook still asserted that the average annual growth rate "isn't even close" to what the Mac line is doing, commenting that iMac became the top-selling desktop in the United States last year with the MacBook brand taking the crown for laptops.

But the big news on Monday morning started off with the heart of these machines: the operating system.

The now-final "big cat" release of Mac OS X, Mountain Lion, debuted at WWDC last year. Cook noted that Apple has shipped 28 million copies of the latest version so far.

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Looking back at the last decade of OS X releases from Panther to Tiger to Snow Leopard, among others, Craig Federighi, Apple's chief of iOS and OS X, joked that they didn't want to delay further releases of the platform just because they ran out of these ferocious namesakes.

Ever so briefly, Federighi even toyed with the keynote audience about using the moniker "Sea Lion."

Instead, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is putting its home state in the spotlight, looking toward the coastline as the first inspiration: "Mavericks."

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Here's a rundown on some of the more than 200 improvements coming on OS X 10.9:

  • Finder: Getting tabs for search and browsing; Tabs can be color-coded; Finder window can be made full-screen
  • Display: Spreads menus across displays; Users can set up multiple displays for easier panning between windows; Configured to play well with Apple TV, AirPlay
  • Battery: New features include "App Nap," which redirects power to certain apps and not others; Compressed memory should reduce CPU activity by up to 72 percent
  • Safari: New home page ("Top Sites" now includes more bookmarks, reading list and shared links); Nitty-gritty improvements to enable faster Javascript and better memory usage; New social media sidebar for reading list integrations with Twitter and LinkedIn
  • iCloud: Encrypted "Keychain" for auto-suggesting passwords across multiple sites website logins, credit card numbers, account info, and Wi-Fi
  • iBooks: Finally adding access to mobile iOS libraries from desktops and laptops; Also supports textbooks. The app also provides a direct link to iBookstore.
  • Notifications: Users can reply right inside a notification (i.e. iMessage, email, IM, etc.) and FaceTime calls; Notifications will also be spread across iOS and Mac devices simultaneously
  • Maps: Users can access street maps, 3D flyover views, search points-of-interest, and get turn-by-turn directions. Routes set up on Mac can also be sent right to iPhone.

A preview version of Mavericks will be available to developers at WWDC starting today. The general release is being promised to roll out this fall.

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Photos: James Martin, CNET

Topics: Software Development, Apple, Apps, Laptops, PCs

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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