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Apple rides the wave with Mavericks

Tom Henderson | May 20, 2014
We haven't visited Apple OS X since Snow Leopard, and while there have been incremental changes, there is nothing radically different in OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

IPhoto exploded several times during our importation of a stock 25,000 mixed JPG and MOV image set. The iPhoto app also imports images from sources in a way that creates events that aren't easily labeled by the importer. Merging multiple large events together also crashed iPhoto. We repeated the crash on two different machines, a Macbook Air and a Macbook Pro, although this sample size is very small and might be considered anecdotal.

In all of the explosions, however, iPhoto seemed to know that it had caused a problem, and knew where to pick up from when it crashed. IPhoto's job of handling duplicate image import, however, doesn't work well, and we were easily able to import thousands of dupes.

Apple makes iCloud, the user based storage service, very convenient and adds iCloud Keychain, a profile storage caching service. This worked well in testing and allowed us to replicate our iCloud Keychain data across Macs we used for testing accurately. Wireshark proved that the data was opaque.


As a user-focused update, Mavericks is an iterative release and is strongly tied to Apple's business and philosophical ecosystems. In terms of use in corporate networks, where for better or worse, Microsoft's infrastructure rules, it's very behind the times, and ages old rivalries continue to make Apple Mavericks a second-class citizen, despite its compatibility with Outlook/Microsoft Exchange and interoperability with various corporate/organizationally-poised applications.

Many Apple users consider themselves to be mavericks, and Apple's invasive trend as maker of the leading "BYOD" devices may force Microsoft to change. Or not.

This roll-up release signals no new important trends, but it does add comfort, bug fixes, and minor feature enhancements to a popular app and hardware product mix.

How We Tested

We tested a MacBook Air (i7, 8gb DRAM, 500gb SSD), a MacBook Pro (i2, 8GB DRAM, 256GB conventional drive), Apple Xserve (quad Xeon, 16GB DRAM, 4TB conventional disk and 128GB SSD drive) in a Gigabit Ethernet switched network. We upgraded each machine from Apple Mountain Lion (patched to the date of install) to Mavericks. We also updated the Xserve's version to Server 3.0, then iterative releases to 3.1.

We imported mail and calendar entries to judge ease of updating; no problems were noted. We also imported music in to iTunes, and photos into iPhoto, as described, and tested other applications, such as iBooks, and iCloud Keychain.


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