Apple's next OS X said to be targeted at 'power users'

Tabbed Finder windows, multiple display improvements, more


Apple's next version of OS X may provide welcome relief to users dismayed by the company's seemingly inexorable evolution from computer manufacturer to consumer-electronics company, if unnamed sources speaking to 9to5Mac are to believed.

According to those sources, OS X 10.9 – oddly codenamed "Cabernet"* in the closely guarded developer warrens of One Infinite Loop – will focus on providing features for "power users", a group that has not been a particularly well-loved target market during the ongoing iOSification of the Mac's now 12-year-old operating system.

One example cited by 9to5Mac's sources will be improved support for multiple displays. Currently, OS X 10.8 – aka Mountain Lion – does not allow you to view either a different working area, which Apple calls Spaces, or a full-screen app on a second display. OS X 10.9 will, the sources say.

The new OS will also add tabbed Finder windows, they say, much like those provided by the third-party Finder replacement TotalFinder, though likely not as complete a Finder makeover as provided by the third-party utility PathFinder.

9to5Mac's sources, however, didn't mention if there will be any improvements made to the Finder's underlying HFS+ file system, which was released in 1998. That file system's overdue retirement would come as good news to those aforementioned power users, 2,768 of whom had signed a petition for a move to the much more capable ZFS as of Monday morning.

OS X 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion added a few iOS-like features such as Launchpad, Messages, Game Center, and the like, but – although our data is admittedly only anecdotal – those bits of UI fluff don't appear to have garnered wholehearted support from power users.

Those users may, however, prefer an iOS capability that 9to5Mac's sources say may arrive with OS X 10.9: the ability for apps running in the background to pause, thus drawing less power and thereby increasing battery life on MacBooks.

Last November, 9to5Mac reported that Apple was working to integrate two of its much-maligned technologies into OS X 10.9: Siri and Maps. Now, they report, "a person familiar with the situation" tells them that the recent shakeup of Apple's software leadership may have changed those plans.

The Reg hopes that same shakeup, which now sees Cupertino's design guru Jonathan Ive as interface headman, will result in OS X apps such as Calendar and Contacts losing their real-world–imitative skeuomorphic design.

Power users don't like skeuomorphism. ®

* Bootnote

An earlier report had OS X 10.9 continuing Apple's big-cat nomenclature, saying that it would be called "Lynx". There is, of course, no way of peering into the minds of Apple's marketeers, but The Reg doubts that Cook & Co. will switch from felines to wines when 10.9 hits the App Store, likely later this year.

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