[Review] OS X Mavericks in 5min: The Imperceptible Experience

Apple likes to throw buzz words these days, from “chamfered edges”, “experience”, and yadayada. And for the latest iteration of Apple’s “World’s Most Advanced Operating System” (yeah another one), I just installed OS X Mavericks yesterday. Let me give you some info about my experience using this spanking new OS. Or is it?

Introduction

The first thing you’ll notice about Mav is that it’s so similar to any thing post Snow Leopard. That is — unless you’re upgrading from SL, you’ll be hard pressed to actually notice rightaway the changes Apple has made to its OS. Some of the changes actually require some exploration to get into and (finally) benefit from, but let’s cut to the chase.

Installation

The 5.2gb file took me 2 hours to download. My suggestion is to copy the download .dmg file from the Applications folder to your own harddisk for safekeeping (also great if you have multiple systems to upgrade; beats downloading the same thing twice). If you don’t, your Mac will automatically delete it off after the installation to save disk space. 

Installing took around 20+ minutes on my late 2011 MBP with SSD, so timing can vary quite significantly, (likely take 30+ min if you your system runs on a SATA hdd instead). You can just leave your machine to do its thing; no input is needed until everything boots up in Mav. That’s the simplicity I’ve come to love about Apple products.

Boot Up: The Mavericks Desktop

The iconic waves of Mav greet you once the system boots for the first time into Mav. Congrats. Instantly I notice newly designed icons for the iBooks and Maps. I immediately hid the iBooks icon cos’ I knew that wasn’t something I see myself using. The maps icon didn’t get the kill; perhaps I felt it will serve a better purpose in future. Works exactly like the Apple Maps in the iOS. Not anything fantastic (or even trustworthy). Google Maps is still the standard to beat here. 

The Good:

1. Multiple Indepedent Fullscreen Spaces

If you, like me, have two screens to work with at times, it used to be ridiculously frustrating to swap between opened apps on the screen because the other monitor will simply display the black fabric. Makes no sense. But now in Mav, screens can swap independently on their own; you can work on your full screen Photoshop on your main screen, swipe to full screen Illustrator, and the finder window still REMAINS on the first one. Duh. 

2. Finder Tabs, Color tags

You can finally say byebye to 23872193 finder windows can trying to Expose them just to find the right one. Now finder works like Safari; different opened finders are all tabbed for easy switching. And you can tear them away by dragging the tabs outwards to form a new window. That’s actually useful. Color tagging now can be searched systemwide, and works like a “Smart Folder”. Great for items that belong in multiple places; say you have articles in a folder called COM432, another in the downloads, and some more in your dropbox that you need to read. Previously you make a note, duplicate them or just forget about reading all of them. Now, just right-click and color code them RED. And when you need to read, just search for RED coded items. Bingo!

3. iWork & iLife Vastly improved

Of course this one is assuming you already purchased the iWork and iLife suites. Only Mav supports the newly redesigned apps that were announced at the iPad event yesterday. I have yet to delve into them, but I will do so and post something here when I get the time to. But I feel that this is a gamechanger for the Apple ecosystem user because the iWork suite (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) are more streamlined than ever, up to the templates they offer. Which means that as along as you remain loyal to the ecosystem (or even drift outside sometimes), everything you create in the iWork world will work exactly as it’s supposed to. From the functions to the fonts to the exporting. Its value increases exponentially when you have the iPad. For example, you can start a Keynote presentation in your iPad and finish it up on your comp. Present it in school using iCloud. There isn’t a need for a thumbdrive or even Dropbox. And this latest iteration means that now, you can do even more of that with lesser incompatibility among the devices (they marketed it as ‘seamless’, so there’s a lot to offer here). 

The Bad? Or just weird?

The familiarity is also its key weakness. There isn’t anything mind-blowing here, (or should I say there isn’t something I desperately need OS X to have), but there are still inconsistencies here. Like the awkwardness of the super minimalist iOS7 interface clashing with the generally iOS6 era icons. Apple’s OSes are in the midst of transition, and this time around iOS 7 is leading that transformation. But then to what end? Will iOS and OS X eventually merge together is anyone’s guess, but for now you’ll get to enjoy the FREE (yes, Apple is crazy about Free things lately) new Mavericks. Enjoy.

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About jiromaiya

Largely popular with a few exceptions, he doesn't love the whole world, and doesn't try to either. A typical Singaporean epicurean, he enjoy

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