OS X El Capitan is the next Mac operating system, coming in Spring

Apple today announced El Capitan, the latest version its OS X desktop operating system. Succeeding Yosemite – which Apple claims has the fastest adoption rate for any desktop operating system – El Capitan will be a smaller, incremental update designed to bolster OS X’s usability.  

"For El Capitan, we focused on two major areas – experience and performance," said Craig Federighi, Apple's head of software. "We wanted to build on the strengths of Yosemite with some great refinements and advancements."

While El Capitan is light on new features – especially when compared to Yosemite – it will include a new version of Safari with the ability to pin frequently used tabs, advanced search options supporting natural language queries such as "documents I edited last June", and improved windows management with a split screen interface similar to that found in Windows 7 onward. 

In terms of performance, Apple claims apps open up to 1.4 times faster in El Capitan, app switching is up to twice as fast, and PDF files open up to four times faster using Preview.

El Capitan will also introduce Metal, a core-level graphics technology that was first debuted in iOS 8 last year. While Metal has obvious gaming implications, it will also increase the performance of professional applications such as Adobe's Creative Cloud suite. Ferderighi says Adobe has already delivered an eight times improvement in rendering time in After Effect.

OS X El Capitan is available to Apple developers today, will be made available as a public beta in July, and as a free release in spring.

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