Apple's Mac OS X Mavericks now available for free

“We’re going to revolutionise pricing” said Apple’s Craig Federighi to a room packed full of press at tonight’s Apple event launch – and he wasn’t kidding.

From today, OSX Mavericks will be available for free from the Mac App Store. The upgrade marks the 10th major release of Apple’s advanced desktop operating system, and with over 200 new features, it’s packed with goodies for everyone’s tastes. The announcement preceded Apple's unveiling of the new iPad Air, as well as a redesigned iPad mini.

Firstly, iBooks has now been brought to the Mac, giving users instant access to more than 2 million titles in the iBooks store from their Apple device. Maps has also leapt onto desktop, allowing users to plan a trip from their Macs before sending it to their iPhones for voice navigation on the move.

Adding to the app tweak pile, a new version of Safari with Shared Links is also available, which will help users find what’s new on the web by consolidating links shared by people they follow on Twitter and LinkedIn. Furthermore, iCloud Keychain has been introduced to the OS X Mavericks make-up, storing your website usernames and passwords alongside credit-card numbers and Wi-Fi keys, so ready to be pushed to your device when needed.

“Mavericks is an incredible release, which introduces significant new apps and features, while also improving the performance and battery life of your Mac,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We want every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security. We believe the best way to do this is to begin a new era of personal computing software where OS upgrades are free."

Updated services aside, Mavericks will also offer interactive notifications, allowing you to reply to a message, respond to a FaceTime call or even delete an email without leaving the app you’re using. The operating system also includes new battery boosting core technologies that Apple claim will boost performance whilst working alongside App Nap and timer coalescing to save energy and reduce power.

So is this a response to the gratuitous release of Windows 8.1? Or a display of goodwill from the Californian-based technology giant? The short answer: even if you’re the type to look a gift horse in the mouth, everyone from those running ancient Snow Leopard software to those operating on the latest OS X will be able to upgrade for free in a single step.