Starting Wednesday, September 30, users can download the new OS X installation from the Mac App Store for free. El Capitan supports all Macs introduced since 2009, and some older models from 2007 and 2008.
Apple boasts several performance improvements with the new OS, including the addition of Metal, Apple's proprietary (what isn't proprietary from Apple?) graphics acceleration technology, which is said to deliver up to a 50 percent boost to system-level rendering and up to 40 percent more graphics efficiency. Metal also offers up to 10 times faster draw call performance, according to the company.
Along with improvements to Mission Control, Safari and Spotlight, Apple rolled out an all-new app called Notes. Notes lets you drag and drop photos, PDFs, videos and other files or Internet content into a note that can be shared or synced with iCloud. This new "innovation" is rather useful, but we can't help feeling we have seen it before somewhere (cough, OneNote, cough).
OS X El Capitan also features an improved language pack, which includes a new Chinese system font with over 50,000 traditional and simplified characters. There are also four new Japanese typefaces and a faster Japanese text input mode that automatically transforms Hiragana into written Japanese and reduces the need to individually select word conversions.
Anyone who has ever updated an Apple device is well aware of the inherent dangers of upgrading. Apple advised users of possible performance and compatibility issues, citing that not all features of El Capitan would be available on all devices and that performance would vary based on system configuration, application workload and other factors.
To upgrade, or not to upgrade. That is the question.