Apple’s prior OS updates had been coming down in price — costing as little as $29 for Snow Leopard and even less in recent years — but Cupertino making a major OS update free is still a big deal.
The next-gen OS, which breaks from Apple’s prior convention of using big cat names for OS updates (naming it after a surf break at Half Moon Bay, California, instead), brings a raft of improvements, including an enhanced Finder, better multimonitor support, a standalone iBooks application, and improved power management to OS X-powered Macs.
New Macs aren’t all that’s shipping today. After being announced in June, OS X Mavericks is finally seeing release. The latest version of Apple’s operating system is an iteration on Mountain Lion, but it refines the software and adds what Apple promises are significant performance improvements. Even better, it’s free: Apple wants to get all users onto its latest operating system, so it’s handing out downloads to anyone with a Mac from the past several years. OS X has never been particularly expensive, but with previous versions shipping for $20 or $30, it’s a significant change in the business model.