San Francisco — Apple announced immediate availability of OSX Mavericks, and in a surprise, said the update will be free for Macs back to 2007.
The company also boosted the power and speed of its 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros and added Retina displays to them, and it announced December availability of its Mac Pro.
The new Mavericks OS extends battery life up to 1.5 hours on the 13-inch MacBook Air for iTunes video viewing, compresses 6GB of data into 4GB of system RAM to run more apps simultaneously, and provides dynamic memory allocation to view videos and graphics more efficiently. The addition of OpenCL runs tasks normally run on a CPU to the GPU to accomplish many tasks at up to 1.8x faster.
The OS improves notifications so that users can respond to notifications while in an app. Users can also tag documents with keywords to automatically group them into folders by tag for easier searching. A new calendar app shows a map and the weather at the location of an appointment, and users can send the map to their iPhone for turn-by-turn driving instructions.
In computers, the company also boosted the power and speed of its 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros, added Retina displays, and reduced prices. Both are available today.
The 13-inch model is available starting at $1,299 compared with its predecessor’s $1,499 starting price. The 15-inch MacBook Pro will be $1,999 to start, compared with $2,199.
The 13-inch model is lighter at 3.46 pounds compared with its predecessor, thinner at 0.71 inches, adds 90 percent faster graphics, extends battery life to nine hours for iTunes movies, provides 60 percent faster flash, adds Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and adds Thunderbolt 2 ports, which are twice as fast as their predecessors. It features 2.4GHz dual-core i5 processor with 4GB DRAM.
The 15-inch version features 2GHz quad-core processor, 8GB DRAM, Wi-fi 802.11ac and Thunderbolt 2, among other enhancements.
The Mac Pro, glimpsed earlier this year at Apple’s developers’ conference, will be available in quad-, six-, eight-, and 12-core versions, the fastest ever offered in Macs, the company said. It offers up to 64GB DRAM, dual workstation GPUs, up to 7 teraflops of computing power, and all-flash storage said to be 10 times that of a hard drive at 1.2GBps read times and up to 1GBps write times. It also comes with Thunderbolt 2 ports, which deliver 20Gbps throughput.
It also features HDMI 1.4 output with 4K passthrough to up to three 4K displays. Other features include Wi-Fi 802.11ac.
It starts at $2,999 and will be available in December.