(UPI) -- Apple made a surprise announcement ahead of its iPad event Tuesday, breaking with tradition and releasing its latest desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks, for free in the App Store.
"Today we announce a new era for the Mavericks because today we are announcing Mavericks is free," said Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. "Free is good."
Federighi put the new operating system on display at June's World Wide Developers Conference, showing off its new features that are intended to improve functionality and battery life, as well as overhauling the look and feel of many of the built-in apps.
Mavericks better integrates its built-in browser, Safari, with the cloud and social media and upgrades the notification center to allow interactions without switching apps.
Finder will add tabs, a feature that has long been popular in browsers, and tagging, to allow users more flexibility in how they organize files.
One of the most noticeable changes, however, might be completely invisible. Mavericks adds the ability for apps to reduce CPU activity and determines which apps are idle. Both features should significantly improve battery life and performance, while boosted compressed memory will help apps load more quickly.
The software, which replaces OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, will be available for all Mac machines going back to 2007, and will be available to download beginning Tuesday.