Apple’s OS X ‘Mavericks’ Released, Begins Era of Free OS X Releases

Posted on October 22, 2013 4:12 PM by Rob Williams

Citing the fact that it wants “every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security“, Apple has announced that it’s decided to make all future OS X updates 100% cost-free. This includes Mavericks (10.9), which just so happens to be available in the App Store right now. For those needing OS X Server, you’ll be happy to note that the price has dropped to $19.99 USD.

Apple MacBook Pro Winter 2013

For the most part, Apple didn’t mess with the OS X formula too much with Mavericks – not like Microsoft did with Windows 8, anyhow. What you can expect though is an evolution of an already stable product, with many features on the table to check out. Because no one can explain the new features better than Apple, here’s the official features list:

  • iBooks, which gives you instant access to your iBooks library, more than two million titles in the iBooks Store, and works seamlessly across your devices;
  • Maps, which brings powerful mapping technology to the desktop and lets you plan a trip from your Mac and send it to your iPhone for voice navigation on the road;
  • a streamlined Calendar that estimates travel time between appointments, and provides a map with weather forecast;
  • a new version of Safari with Shared Links, which helps you find what’s new on the web by consolidating links shared by people you follow on Twitter and LinkedIn;
  • iCloud Keychain, which safely stores your website usernames and passwords, credit card numbers and Wi-Fi passwords and pushes them to your trusted devices so you don’t need to remember them;
  • enhanced multi-display support, which makes using multiple displays easier and more powerful, with no configuration required;
  • interactive Notifications, allowing you to reply to a message, respond to a FaceTime call or even delete an email without leaving the app you’re using;
  • Finder Tabs, which help unclutter your desktop by consolidating multiple Finder windows into a single window with multiple tabs; and
  • Finder Tags, a powerful new way to organize and find your files located on your Mac or in iCloud.

While Apple is being a little modest about it, the fact that OS X is going to be a free upgrade for Mavericks and future versions is quite a big deal. It’s worth noting though that in recent years, OS X releases haven’t been that expensive to begin with, so in some ways, this isn’t that big of a surprise.

This move shouldn’t affect Linux too much, as the cost of that OS isn’t what has kept it a go-to choice for those that use it. While it’s a definite benefit, the openness of that platform as a whole is what sets it apart from other OSes – including OS X. Apple’s OS remains closed-source for the most part, and you need Mac hardware to run it on (officially). Linux meanwhile supports a bajillion pieces of hardware, and can run on supercomputers and a $40 DIY board just the same.

Apple Mac OS X Mavericks

Like Linux, Windows also offers support for a much greater amount of hardware, and has more flexibility in general given it doesn’t have to be installed on specific hardware. However, there’s something to be said about the fact that Microsoft still charges $119.99 for the standard edition and $199.99 for the Pro. With 8.1, Windows upgrade licenses no longer exist (at least on the consumer side), so those could be the prices for the foreseeable future.

$120 for Windows 8.1 and $0 for OS X 10.9 could make Microsoft look foolish, but the difference here is that Microsoft doesn’t make money off of PC hardware sales – its cash comes from Windows and other software (like Office) that gets bundled on. That said, Microsoft relies heavily on Windows – its entire business model is based around this single OS. While we might not ever see Windows become free, we could see it drop further in price. But given the differences between Apple’s and Microsoft’s business models here, it doesn’t seem logical that Microsoft would need to drop its pricing too much at this point.

  • Brett Thomas

    Ok…I’m an Apple user. Have been since OSX10.3. And the only actually noteworthy thing about this release so far is that it’s free. Everything else, I either: Don’t need in a desktop, don’t want installed in my OS for me (MAPS?! Apple Maps is questionable on the devices I DO use it on!), or is still so far behind even Windows now (HA!) that it’s nearly laughable.

    Gone are the bold moves (for good or bad), the brave ideas…enter the mediocre, being built off of some of the most mediocre stock that OSX had to offer (10.4-5 was its crowning achievement). What a shame. :(

    • Rob Williams

      I can’t relate to much of that given I don’t use OS X, but I’ve seen the same thing being said around the Web. On the upside, at least Apple didn’t pull a Windows 8 ;-)

    • Guest

      There’s a lot more that you are ignoring, like compressed memory for instance that allows you to compress 6 gigabytes of data in only 4 gigabytes of space, and others such as time coalescing that allow you to:

      …. group 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. (Source Apple:

      As well as, Time Snap which helps you to:

      …… 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. But as soon as you start to use it again, the app instantly shifts back to full speed. It’s so seamless you’ll think it had been running that way all along. App Nap works the same way with Safari tabs, so only the visible tab is running at full speed. With App Nap, CPU energy use can be reduced by up to 23 percent. (Source Apple:

      And that’s just for starters.

      • Rob Williams

        All of those features are nice, but not a single one of them are noticeable to or will sell the end-user. You almost explain without even trying why OS X has moved to a free model. Based on what you say here, and what’s in the news post, it seems Mavericks is one of the simplest ‘major’ OS updates ever released. The fact that Apple had to put Maps and iBooks at the top of the list might solidify that…

        • e550mercedes

          Seriously Rob, can you run 6 gigs of data in 4 gigs of RAM with Android, Linux, or Windows? He, or she, seems to have a very valid point? Why the childish hate? Your comment is like one I would read from a troll! I’m very disappointed with your comment, you seem to be going out of your way to run OS X down out of spite.

          • Rob Williams

            I have 16GB of RAM in this PC, and 32GB in another. And guess what? I didn’t have to pay 2x the price for it because I don’t own an Apple.

            Think about it: What are the benefits of compressed data in RAM? I bet you don’t even know. You just like to rinse and repeat what you see from elsewhere. What benefit could there possibly be to having compressed data vs. uncompressed data in RAM? It makes logical sense to believe that raw, uncompressed data is going to be more efficient.

            That “feature” just screams to me as one that will allow people to have to buy less overpriced RAM from Apple or some other related partner.

          • e550mercedes

            I don’t buy RAM from Apple, as I can buy it just as easily, and as cheaply from every single place that you can. Surely, you knew that?

          • Rob Williams

            You can’t avoid purchasing it from Apple when you buy a computer from it. Upgrades can be cheaper.

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