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Apple updates its Mac operating system

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June 10, 2013

Apple CEO Tim Cook today was at his company's annual software developer conference, where he's expected to unveil a major OS update to the company's Mac OS X operating system.

Apple is also expected to offer a refreshed Macbook line and possibly an iRadio streaming music service as well. The company's WDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is generally centered around software news, and the first big announcement today was the update to OS X.

Apple's senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi showcased the new Mac OS X 10.9, dubbed "Mavericks." The moniker, inspired by a popular California surf spot, is a departure from Apple's previous cat-themed OS X releases.

The Mavericks update includes a tabbed Finder window, tags, improved multiple-display support, a new Maps app and a more social Safari browser.

A new iCloud keychain service stores passwords, credit cards and Wi-Fi network login information across all Apple devices.

Next came the new MacBook Air line, which comes loaded with Intel's just-released Haswell processors and nearly double the battery life of their predecessors.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller also previewed the long-awaited new Macbook Pro. Later, Cook will likely preview the latest iOS 7 operating system for iPhones and iPads.

Apple is also expected to unveil an iRadio streaming music service. It would be Apple's first foray into a field already full of competitors-- Pandora, Spotify, Google, Twitter, and a few more.

And a company the size and with the resources that Apple has could really shake up that segment in a very big way. On the hardware side, experts aren't expecting to hear much about major new products like the rumored iTV or iWatch.

However, there's a good chance that Cook will announce a new version of Apple TV that opens up the television service to third-party applications. And that's what many are expecting to happen soon.

It's been about nine months since Apple's last major product announcement. That may not be a long time for other companies, but Apple's impressive stream of near-constant innovations has led to investors and customers being disappointed if new product announcements tend to be longer than in the past.

To be sure, important news at WWDC could help re-energize the company. The conference, which is being held this week in San Francisco, attracts strong consumer interest from all over the world. This year's WWDC sold out in a record 71 seconds, with app developers again undeterred by the $1,599 price per seat at the conference.

In other operating system news

Apple said last week that it has released an operating system update that brings its Mountain Lion OS up to version 10.8.4, and it also repairs a whole slew of bugs including Microsoft Exhange compatibility issues.

Apple's new update to its OS also brings Safari up to version 6.0.5. As listed by Apple, OS X 10.8.4 provides the following new features and upgrades:

  • Compatibility improvements when connecting to certain enterprise Wi-Fi networks
  • Microsoft Exchange compatibility improvements in Calendar
  • A fix for an issue that prevented FaceTime calls to non-U.S. phone numbers
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent scheduled sleep after using Boot Camp
  • Improves VoiceOver compatibility with text in PDF documents
  • Includes Safari 6.0.5, which improves stability for some websites with chat features and games
  • A fix for an issue that may cause iMessages to display out of order in Messages
  • Resolves an issue in which Calendars Birthdays may appear incorrectly in certain time zones
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent the desktop background picture from being preserved after restart
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent documents from being saved to a server using SMB
  • Addresses an issue that may prevent certain files from opening after copied to a volume named "Home"
  • A fix for an issue that may prevent changes to files made over NFS from displaying
  • Resolves an issue saving files to an Xsan volume from certain applications
  • Improves Active Directory log-in performance, especially for cached accounts or when using a .local domain
  • Improves OpenDirectory data replication
  • Improves 802.1X compatibility with ActiveDirectory networks
  • Improves compatibility when using mobile accounts
  • Apple provides a link to its security updates page for "detailed information about the security content of this update," but as it's usual with OS X updates, that information has yet to be posted, but will appear when Apple gets around to it.

    The OS update can be accessed by selecting [Apple Menu] > Software Update, which will launch the OS X App Store; select Updates, and simply follow the directions.

    If you use the Software Update, Apple notes that the size of the download will vary depending upon the Mac onto which you are installing it. For a five-year-old Mac Pro, it weighed in at 152 MB, and the entire installation process took around nine to ten minutes.

    For now, it appears to be working okay with the vintage Mac Pro we had on hand, but we'll be sure to check in tomorrow at the OS X Mountain Lion section of Apple's Support Communities website to see if anybody in the Mac community uncovered any difficulties with either the update or Safari itself.

    Source: Apple.

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