[By Sudarshana Banerjee]

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Apple’s next major OS release is not named after a feline fellow; having run out of tigers and lions, the company is looking to California for inspiration. Enter OS X Mavericks, the 10th major release of the Mac OS operating system. Mavericks is a surfing location north of Half Moon Bay in California. Henceforth Apple operating systems will be California-themed, says Tim Cook, CEO of the company.

OS X Mavericks boasts of 200 new features over its predecessor, the Mountain Lion. Among them, the ability to access Maps and iBooks, new Finder Tags and Tabs, enhances multi-display support, and a new version of Safari.

Craig Federighi (Senior vice president,  Software Engineering, Apple): The Mac has consistently outpaced the PC industry and OS X continues to be the most innovative and easy to use operating system in the world.

OS X Mavericks Features

Maps – Maps integration throughout Mavericks gives users helpful maps from within Mail, Contacts and Calendar. Developers can integrate the mapping features into their apps through the Map Kit API.

Maps brings advanced mapping technologies from iOS to the Mac, including vector graphics, 3D view and the interactive Flyover. Users can plan a trip from a Mac, then send it to an iPhone for voice navigation on the road.

IBooks – Users can access their iBooks library on the Macs, including the iBooks Store.

Tags – Users can tag any file in the Finder, in iCloud, or when saving a new document, when using Mavericks. Tags appear in the Finder Sidebar, and you can view files by project or category.

Finder Tabs – Consolidates multiple Finder windows into one window with multiple tabs. You can customize the view for each tab, move files between tabs, and even run the Finder with multiple tabs open in full-screen.

Using multiple displays –  The menu bar and dock are available on any display, and users can now run windowed or full-screen apps on whichever display they choose, with no configuration required.

With Mavericks you can also use your HDTV as a second display using Apple TV  and AirPlay.

Safari –  Safari’s new process-per-tab architecture makes the browser more responsive, stable and secure, says Apple. With Mavericks, among other things, Safari introduces Shared Links, which make it easy to discover, read and share interesting new content from Twitter and LinkedIn, all in one place.

OS X Mavericks – Energy Efficiency/Responsiveness

New core technologies in OS X Mavericks improve the energy efficiency and responsiveness of your Mac, says Apple. Here’s how:

Timer Coalescing intelligently groups together low-level operations so that the CPU can spend more time in a low-power state, saving energy without affecting performance or responsiveness.

App Nap reduces the power consumed by apps that you’re not using.

Compressed Memory technology. When your system’s memory begins to fill up, Compressed Memory automatically compresses inactive data. When these items are needed again, Mavericks instantly uncompresses them.

Additional features in OS X Mavericks

ICloud Keychain –  stores website login information, credit card numbers and Wi-Fi passwords, and pushes them to all your devices. The information is protected with AES-256 encryption.

Calendar – An updated Calendar, which adds integration with Maps, continuous scrolling so you can zip through weeks or months, and a new Inspector for event creation and editing.

Notifications – Notifications are becoming interactive, allowing you to reply to a message, respond to a FaceTime call or even delete an email without leaving the app you’re using. Websites can now use notifications to keep you up to date on the latest news, scores and other information. While You Were Away Notifications make sure you see what happened while your Mac was asleep.

Xcode 5 –  Xcode, the integrated development environment for creating apps for Apple devices will get new developer tools, as well.

If you are a developer for Mac apps (having shelled out the $99/year developer contract) you can download a preview version of OS X Mavericks right away; for the rest of us lesser mortals, the new OS will be available this fall.

[Image courtesy: Apple]