Apple Unveils OS X El Capitan with Loads of Refinements

Apple's first big reveal for Worldwide Developer Conference this year was OS X El Capitan, the version of the Mac operating system to replace OS X Yosemite. The new version was shown off by Craig Federighi who said Apple focused on experience and performance.

Os X El Capitan, coming this fall as a free upgradeOs X El Capitan, coming this fall as a free upgrade

On the experience side, Apple is adding new gestures to the Mac that let you do things like jiggle you mouse cursor to make it larger. The idea being we all jiggle our mouse to find our cursor, so making it temporarily larger will make it easier to find.

Other gestures tie into Apple's apps so you can perform tasks like more quickly replying to Mail messages. Mail also includes a new tabbed message composer window to cut down on screen clutter.

El Capitan includes improvements for running apps in full screen mode, and also offers a split view for working with two app windows in full screen mode at the same time.

Safari is gaining support for pinning sites, which works a little like bookmarking. You can now see which tabs have audio playing and mute it by clicking a button in the URL entry field.

Spotlight can dig deeper into contexts to provide more useful search results, too.

On the performance side, Apple is bringing Metal—first introduced in iOS—to the Mac. The Metal engine offers big overall perfomance improvements compared to OS X Yosemite with overall performance coming in at 1.4x faster, 2x faster app switching, and time to first Mail message coming it at 2x faster.

"This year, we're bringing Metal to the Mac, and doing more than that," Mr. Federighi said. "We're taking the graphics stacks, the Core Animation and Core Graphics, now run natively on top of Metal."

Mr. Federighi said the beta of OS X El Capitan will be available to developers today, and a public beta will be available in July. The official shipping version will be available as a free upgrade this fall.

Apple's 2015 WWDC keynote is still underway, so be sure to follow along with The Mac Observer's ongoing live coverage.