Mac OS X used to be Apple’s bread and butter when it came to software, but thanks to the success of iOS over the past seven years, the Cupertino, Calif. company has been working hard to make its desktop and laptop operating systems mirror the mobile experience and popular features from iPhone and iPad, hoping to create one cohesive Apple ecosystem.
We don't know which big cat Apple plans to name this new Mac OS X build after, but we do know that Apple's been working on it for some time now: According to 9to5Mac, Apple began developing OS X 10.9 simultaneously with last year's OS X "Mountain Lion," which similarly sought to integrate more iOS features into the Mac experience, such as the Notification Center, Notes, Reminders, Dictation, and document syncing in iCloud. The Apple news site has also been tracking Mac computers running OS X 10.9 that visit its site since last year, and all of those computers are tagged with IP addresses from California's Bay area where Apple's headquarters is located.
With Apple expected to announce the next iterations of iOS and Mac OS X at WWDC 2013 next month, users are looking forward to seeing what iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 have to offer. While we’ve heard a great deal about the redesigned “de-Forstallization” in iOS 7, many consumers still want to know what’s coming for the next version of Mac OS X.
Here’s what users can expect from Mac OS X 10.9, codenamed “Cabernet,” when it’s unveiled next month at WWDC 2013.
1. Siri for Mac OS X
In mid-November, 9to5 Mac's Mark Gurman said Mac OS X 10.9 will release with two of Apple's most widely used features from iOS -- citing “reliable sources” -- including its new self-branded Maps application, as well as Siri, the company's virtual personal assistant that first debuted on the iPhone 4S in late 2011.
Siri has always needed hardware that can actually support all its various functions, which is what makes it a perfect fit on Mac OS X 10.9. Siri uses a great deal of backend data to supply answers to various user inputs and requests, and incorporating the software into the Mac might make the service faster. Furthermore, if Apple makes any major improvements to Siri in iOS 7 in terms of language detection, memory, or a slew of other handy features, Siri could be the ultimate personal assistant for Mac. For more information on how Apple could improve Siri, check out the 9 features we believe Siri desperately needs.
2. Apple Maps for Mac OS X
Apple's much-maligned Maps app may be introduced on the Mac in OS X 10.9. The app, which caused Apple CEO Tim Cook to write an apology letter to fans in October and replace iOS chief Scott Forstall with software guru Eddy Cue, will reportedly get many improvements in iOS 7, which ought to carry over into the new Mac app.
Since November, Apple has been reportedly working around the clock to fix, tweak, remove and add features from its Maps app. The company may even introduce new indoor navigation features, given Apple's recent $20 million purchase of Silicon Valley start-up WiFiSLAM in March. Either way, it's unconfirmed that Maps is coming to OS X, but 9to5Mac discovered early builds of OS X with Maps integration, so while it's possible the application was simply a framework for developers in OS X 10.9, we're most likely going to see Maps as a fully-realized first-party application, similar to Google Earth.
3. iBooks And Newsstand on Mac OS X
If Apple wants to integrate important, relevant features from iOS, the company would be keen to appease literary consumers and finally introduce a Mac-friendly version of its iBooks and Newsstand apps to improve the reading experience on the Mac.
If Apple releases OS X 10.9 with iBooks and Newsstand, users would finally be able to continue reading books they purchased on their iPhone or iPad thanks to iCloud, rather than restricting those reading materials to Apple's mobile devices. Currently, any books or magazines you purchase in iTunes, even on OS X, can't be read on the Mac.
4. Power Features: Tabbed Finder and Full Screen Apps On Multiple Displays
Apple is reportedly ready to release Mac OS X 10.9 with more "power features" for "power users," which includes adding some key functionality to OS X's features to make them more efficient and user-friendly. Among the many new features reportedly added in OS X 10.9, Apple is said to finally address a key complaint from power users, which is that its Finder still requires multiple windows, and Mac OS X can't run full screen apps on multiple displays.
Apple will reportedly introduce tabbed browsing in Mac OS X 10.9 to appease users that want to better organize their files and folders, and the new OS X will also finally allow its full screen enabled apps to operate on multiple displays.
In October, a concerned Mac developer sent an email to the leader of Apple's Mac team, Craig Federighi, saying how he and "many other professionals would love to be able to run full screen apps on multiple displays." Federighi promptly sent a response:
"I understand your concern around using full screen apps in multi-monitor configurations," he said. "I can't comment about our future product plans, but please do know that we are absolutely aware of our customers' passion on this topic!"
5. Even More iOS Integration
Apple is reportedly working on a major design overhaul in iOS 7, so considering how Apple wants a seamless user experience moving between Mac and iOS, it's likely that the Mac team has double duty in 2013 to introduce new Mac features while also keeping everything in-line with the new iOS design created by Sir Jony Ive.
Specifically, Ive has reportedly removed many of the skeuomorphic aspects in iOS – specifically, features that act as metaphors and decorations but serve no functional purpose, such as the yellow lined Notepad app or the green craps table in Game Center – and replaced these elements with “flat,” simple textures and features.
iOS 7 reportedly resembles the flat colors and shapes of Microsoft's metro interface, and Apple has also reportedly redesigned the icons for all its first-party apps, including Messages, App Store, Settings, Safari and others. If Apple wants the Mac and iOS experiences to resemble each other, Mac engineers will need to move quickly to make sure Mac OS X 10.9 looks like iOS 7; if Apple wants to remove skeuomorphism features from its software, Apple shouldn't just stop its redesign overhaul at iOS.
What would you like to see in Mac OS X 10.9? Are you more or less excited to see the new iOS 7? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.