My review of the Mavericks Preview

DISCLAIMER: If you are not a developer, don't go pirate Mavericks. Not screwing up your Mac is worth the extra two-three months you will have to wait for Mavericks to become public.

First Impressions

I had a couple issues getting Mavericks onto my rMBP. I first experienced a boot loop, caused by a kernel panic, but after I resolved that, magic began to happen. I first get into Mavericks and the first thing that pops up is iCloud Keychain, which I signed into, but I really doubt I will use. I already use another software for passwords, but I am trying out iCloud Keychain and it seems to be working fine.

Dat Background

It's pretty cool, I'm not gonna lie. I live near the beach, but hardly ever go, but it is a cool looking background. I kinda miss the random pictures of different galaxies and nebulae, but hey, a wave has more in common with Mavericks then the Andromeda galaxy does with a mountain lion.

Stability

I am pleasantly surprised by how stable Mavericks is. All but two apps I have work on my rMBP, so I am quite happy. Xcode works like a charm too. Don't get me wrong, there are PLENTY of bugs, but in the three weeks I have had Mavericks installed, I have only had to crash and reboot my laptop twice (including the update to the 2nd Dev Preview). Even with the 2nd Dev. Preview installed, it is still very stable. There are a few apps that don't work (CS 6 for instance, but Apple said it wouldn't, so duh), but they don't really impede on the overall user experience.

Also, quick sidenote to rMBP owners: Scrolling is smooth as butter. I am getting about 40 fps in Chrome (Yes! Chrome!) on the notoriously bad websites for scrolling, like The Verge.

New Features

App Nap

I wasn't really impressed with the reveal Apple did of App Nap at WWDC, I thought it was more gimmicky than anything. And boy was I wrong. With 10.8 running on my laptop, I could barely squeeze 7 hours out of the 9000 mah beast. With Mavericks, I can easily pull out 8.5 to 9 hours, depending on what I am doing.

Here is an example: I watched about 2 hours of videos on YouTube from a full charge and had 85% left when I was done. Like I said, I was very, very wrong.

Multiple Displays

It works! No more having a completely useless laptop display or 27" monitor, I can easily have full screen on both and it works like David Pierce said, "is what it should have been all along." Also, I love that AirPlay can be used as an extended desktop. It is a little laggy, but not enough to ruin the experience. I tested this with a TV at work, and finally, I don't have to worry about either my laptop screen or the TV looking like crap, they can both be run at the resolutions they were designed for. I decided to push my laptop to it's limits one day, I AirPlay'd to a 55" 1080p TV, had two 27" 2560x1440 monitors running off of Thunderbolt and HDMI, and the Retina Display running all at the same time. Ok, these aren't exactly the Asus 4K Display, but my laptop did better than I thought it would with everything running.

That Menu Bar... It can be a bit annoying at times. I use a program called Bartender, which hides some Menu Bar icons into another row. On a single display, Bartender works fine. But when I plug in my monitors at work, all hell breaks loose. The time/network/battery all disappear from my Menu Bar, and all my other Menu Bar icons are duplicated. So I have to quit Bartender, but afterwards it all works like Apple described in their Keynote at WWDC.

No More Nostalgia

I am somewhat saddened by this, but not opposed to the move to remove all the leather/notepad designs from both the Calendar and Notes apps. It looks cleaner, but I am just not used to it yet. In the end, I don't care about whether or not there is leather, so whatever.

Also, Maps is installed, and I actually do use it a considerable amount. I live in a fairly rural area, where I know most of the backroads, so I haven't sent directions to myself yet, except to test it, and it, guess what? It works as promised. I will be driving a good amount here in the month or so, taking a trip to North Carolina (I live in Delaware), so I will be testing Maps some more then.

Notifications

I never really used Notifications on Mountain Lion, but I decided to give it a shot on Mavericks. I do like that I can send messages/post to Facebook/Tweet all without opening the Messages app or my browser, and the Notifications seem to work as advertised. The only thing I do not like about enabling it is having to let all Facebook/Twitter contacts sync onto my laptop, but it isn't a big hindrance.

Finder

I liked a tabbed Finder, I had XtraFinder installed on 10.8, and the only thing I miss from it that isn't in Mavericks' Finder is that I cannot display two tabs simultaneously. Also, if I pull two Finder tabs apart into separate windows, I cannot combine them again without opening another tab and dragging the other window into the tab bar. Not big issues, but it is just little features I would like to have.

Safari

Let me get this off of my chest: I am a Chrome guy, always have been, still probably will be for a long time. That being said, I am really liking the new Safari, especially the "Shared Links" sidebar. It takes all the tweets from people you follow that have links attached, and I am constantly going to Safari to read The Verge or Polygon.

Final Thoughts

For Mavericks being a Developer Preview, it is remarkably stable, along with many of the features Apple has included. If you are interested in upgrading to it when it comes out in fall, all I can say is that I would recommend it. But as I said at the top of this post, this is a developer's preview, if you are not a developer, don't go and download it. Patience is a virtue, and your Mac will cost a lot more to get worked on/replaced if Apple finds out you tried running beta software without a proper license.

If you are curious about anything else, let me know, I can try to answer your questions/requests.