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Apple releases latest version of OS X

El Capitan now available for free to Mac users

Apple releases latest version of OS X
Apple has added updates to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search

Apple today publicly released the latest update to its OS X operating system for Mac PCs, which it has dubbed El Capitan.

As has been the case with several new releases of OS X, El Capitan is a free update for Mac users. According to Apple, the new operating system builds on the features and design of its predecessor, OS X Yosemite, which was largely seen as a major departure upgrade to previous versions.

With El Capitan, Apple has added updates to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search, as well as performance improvements to make everyday tasks faster and more responsive.

“People love using their Macs, and one of the biggest reasons is the power and ease-of-use of OS X,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

“El Capitan refines the Mac experience and improves performance in a lot of little ways that make a very big difference. Feedback from our OS X beta program has been incredibly positive and we think customers are going to love their Macs even more with El Capitan.”

With the new OS, a streamlined Mission Control makes it easier to see and organise everything on the Mac. It can arrange windows in a single layer so that it’s easier to find a specific window. And when the desktop is crowded, users can now drag a window to the top of the screen to create a new space. There’s also a new Split View feature, which automatically positions two app windows side-by-side in full screen.

Spotlight search has been updated so that users can check stock prices, weather conditions and forecasts, sports scores, schedules and standings, and even athlete information. Apple says that the function will also allow users to find files using natural language, such as “email from Harrison in April”, or “presentation I worked on yesterday”.

Apple has also made updates to OS X’s built-in apps. Safari now features Pinned Sites, which users can use to keep their favourite websites open and active, as well as a new mute button, which quickly silences browser audio from any tab.

Mail, meanwhile, now features what Apple calls Smart Suggestions, which recognises names or events in an email and prompts the user to add them to their contacts or calendar. Users can also now swipe to delete messages, like on iOS.

In terms of system performance, OS X El Capitan features Metal, a new graphics technology from Apple. It accelerates Core Animation and Core Graphics to boost system-level rendering by up to 50%, and efficiency by up to 40%, Apple claimed. The vendor added that Metal also takes full advantage of CPUs and GPUs, delivering up to 10 times faster draw cell performance.

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