Apple has announced that OS X El Capitan, the latest major release of its desktop operating system, will be available on today, September 30, as a free update for Mac users.
According to Cupertino - fresh from unveiling its latest iPhone devices - El Capitan builds on the features and design of OS X Yosemite, refining the Mac experience with updates to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search, and performance improvements.
The result? El Capitan works to make launching and switching apps, opening PDFs and accessing email a more “faster and more responsive” experience.
“People love using their Macs, and one of the biggest reasons is the power and ease-of-use of OS X,” says Craig Federighi, Senior vice president of Software Engineering, Apple.
“El Capitan refines the Mac experience and improves performance in a lot of little ways that make a very big difference.
“Feedback from our OS X beta program has been incredibly positive and we think customers are going to love their Macs even more with El Capitan.”
Federighi says El Capitan offers “simpler and smarter ways” to do the regular things on a Mac, such as a new streamlined Mission Control - designed to better organise open applications for users.
With a single swipe, Mission Control arranges all windows in a single layer and when the desktop gets crowded, users can drag a window to the top of the screen to create a new Space and spread out work.
In addition, the new Split View feature automatically positions two app windows side-by-side in full screen meaning users can work with both apps without distraction.
Delving deeper, Spotlight gets even smarter in El Capitan - allowing users to check stock prices, weather conditions and forecasts.
Users can also search with Spotlight to find a file using natural language by typing, for example, “email from Harrison in April” or “presentation I worked on yesterday” - allowing Spotlight to find the exact information.
OS X built-in apps have also seen significant improvements through El Capitan.
Safari now features Pinned Sites to keep favourite websites open and active and a new mute button to quickly silence browser audio from any tab.
Mail introduces Smart Suggestions, which recognises names or events in a Mail message and prompts users to add them to their contacts or calendar with a single click.
In Photos, users can now edit locations, batch change descriptions, sort albums by date or title, and take editing to the next level with third-party editing extensions from favourite developers.
Federighi says OS X El Capitan features Metal, Apple’s graphics technology which accelerates Core Animation and Core Graphics to boost system-level rendering by up to 50 percent, and efficiency by up to 40 percent, resulting in faster graphics performance for everyday apps.
Metal also takes advantage of CPU and GPU, delivering up to 10 times faster draw call performance for a richer, more fluid experience in games and pro apps.
As explained by Federighi, OS X El Capitan is available as a free update starting September 30 from the Mac App Store, supporting all Macs introduced in 2009 and later, and some models introduced in 2007 and 2008.