OS X El Capitan is to Yosemite as Snow Leopard was to Leopard

Apple has released OS X El Capitan, a new version of OS X that refines the Mac experience and improves system performance. El Capitan is to OS X Yosemite as Snow Leopard was to Leopard. In other words, it concentrates more in improvements and performance gains rather than new features. 

El Capitan introduces enhancements to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search, and makes everyday activities — from launching apps to accessing email — faster and more responsive, according to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. He adds that El Capitan offers 1.4x acceleration in app launching, 2x acceleration in app switching, 3x accleration for the display of the first Mail messages, and up to 4x faster speed sin opening PDFs in Preview.

OS X El Capitan refinements begin with the new system font, San Francisco, the typeface probably best known as the typeface on the Apple Watch. Mission Control, which lets you view all open windows, has a cleaner design so you can find the window you need even faster. When your desktop gets crowded, you can drag a window to the top of your screen to access the new Spaces Bar in Mission Control and create a new Space, OS X’s way to group applications. You can create multiple desktops, giving you more room to work.

The new Split View feature automatically positions two app windows side-by-side in full screen so you can work with both apps without distraction. It uses every pixel of your Mac display, says Federighi. 

Built-in apps are even more streamlined in El Capitan. Safari now features Pinned Sites to keep your favorite websites open and active in your tab bar and a new mute button to quickly silence browser audio from any tab. With Pinned Sites in Safari, the sites you check often are always available and up to date in a tab.

Mail introduces Smart Suggestions, which recognizes names or events in a Mail message and prompts you to add them to your contacts or calendar with a single click. You can also now swipe to delete messages, just like in iOS, and juggle multiple emails while Mail is in full screen. The enhanced full-screen view in Mail lets you add tabs to a New Message window.

In Photos, you can add locations to a single image or an entire Moment, and sort albums by date or title. Additionally, you’ll be able to download third-party editing extensions from the Mac App Store and access them directly within the Photos app.

With the all-new Notes app in El Capitan you can drag and drop photos, PDFs, videos and other files into notes, and add content directly from other apps, such as Safari or Maps, using the Share menu. Checklists help you keep track of to-do items, and the new Attachments Browser organizes your attachments in one vice. With iCloud, your notes stay in sync across all your enabled devices.

Spotlight gets even smarter in El Capitan, generating results for even more topics, including weather, stocks, sports, transit and web video. You can now resize the Spotlight window to display more results or move it anywhere on your desktop, and use natural language to find documents and files on your Mac based on when they were created or who you sent them to.

OS X El Capitan improves system performance across your Mac, making many of the things you do everyday faster and more responsive, says Federighi. Metal, Apple’s groundbreaking graphics technology, accelerates Core Animation and Core Graphics to boost system-level rendering by up to 50% and efficiency by up to 40%. Metal also takes full advantage of your CPU and GPU, delivering up to 10 times faster draw call performance.

Metal is a core graphics technology that gives apps near-direct access to the GPU [graphics processing unit]. This means faster and more efficient rendering performance across the system. Abode has committed to adopting Metal in its OS X apps. 

El Capitan also features enhanced international language support, including a new Chinese system font for both Traditional and Simplified, with 50,000 characters for crisp on-screen readability. Chinese keyboard input methods now offer regularly updated vocabulary lists and a smarter candidate window. 

El Capitan makes entering Japanese text faster by automatically transforming Hiragana into written Japanese and reducing the need to individually select and confirm word conversions. You can now also select the perfect font for your documents using four new Japanese typefaces.

Finally, new gestures make it easy to do quick actions like delete messages in Mail.

You can find the El Capitan update at the Mac App Store. Look under the Features category.