The 27-inch iMac we received came with OS X 10.8.5, the latest version of Apple's Mountain Lion OS. Shortly after, however, Apple launched Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the tenth major release of OS X. It was made available immediately and at no cost, so that's what we ran with for this review.
As with previous version of OS X, Mavericks comes with several helpful applications and utilities, including GarageBand, iMovie, and more. In addition to making Mavericks free, Apple is also now giving away its iWork productivity suite consisting of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, the company's equivalent of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in Microsoft Office. These applications used to cost $10 a pop.
For fans of Apple's Safari browser, you'll be happy to know that Adobe's Flash Player is now sandboxed in Safari in Mavericks, thereby offering superior protection against malware and poorly coded Flash applications. By running in a sandbox, dirty Flash code is kept isolated from from the OS. Peleus Uhley, Platform Security Strategist for Adobe, had the following to say about Flash in being sandboxed in Safari:
"For the technically minded, this means that there is a specific com.macromedia.Flash Player.plugin.sb file defining the security permissions for Flash Player when it runs within the sandboxed plugin process. As you might expect, Flash Player’s capabilities to read and write files will be limited to only those locations it needs to function properly. The sandbox also limits Flash Player’s local connections to device resources and inter-process communication (IPC) channels. Finally, the sandbox limits Flash Player’s networking privileges to prevent unnecessary connection capabilities.
Safari's showing up fashionably late to the party here, as sandboxing Flash is already available in all the other major browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox). Better late than never though, right?
Tabs are everywhere these days, even in the unlikeliest places, such as Finder. In Mavericks, Finder tabs are intended to declutter your desktop by allowing you to consolidate multiple Finder windows into one. It's the same general concept as tabbed browsing, only now it's been converted over to the desktop. For example, you might want to have separate tabs open for Applications, AirDrop, and All My Files. You can move files from tab to tab simply by dragging and dropping them.