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elcapitanApple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is underway right now in San Francisco, and the company wasted no time in jumping into the news of the day, unveiling the next version of Mac OS X, dubbed “El Capitan.”

Craig Federighi, the company’s software engineering chief, started with a jab at Microsoft’s Windows 8, showing this chart on stage, and saying that OS X Yosemite had the fastest adoption rate of any PC operating system in history.

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The trend illustrates the struggles that Microsoft has had with its latest operating system, but of course, what Apple didn’t point out is that percentage adoption rates are skewed in this case by Windows’ installed base of hundreds of millions of PCs.

Apple’s news comes in advance of Microsoft’s planned July 29 launch of Windows 10.

One of the features of El Capitan is very similar to one that has been available in Windows for years — a “Split View” that quickly puts app windows side-by-side on screen. (Microsoft calls this feature “Snap.”)

elcapitan1In El Capitan, Split View works by by clicking and holding on the green full-screen button. Users are then prompted to drag it to the left or right side of the screen. An Exposé view of the other window appear on the other side of the screen.

There are natural language improvements across the board. You can use Spotlight to search for text inside documents emailed from certain people. You can also search through Mail for messages you haven’t replied to.

Full screen Mail has also been updated. You can navigate away from a reply window and it goes to a tab on the bottom of the screen. It’s saved there, for when you want to return to it.

In Safari, you can now see which tabs are making noise in the tab bar. This brings it in line with Google’s Chrome browser. Additionally, you can mute webpages individually with an icon in the address bar.

El Capitan also expands the Metal graphics technology to OS X, giving apps better access to the system’s GPU.

Apple says El Capitan will be available as a free update later this fall. Developers get access to the beta starting today.

The event is ongoing, available for live streaming on Apple devices.

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