While it debuted earlier in the year, Apple’s latest iteration of its OS X operating system, ‘Mavericks’, has been officially launched at Apple’s San Francisco event.

It sports a plethora of new ‘behind the scenes’ enhancements that are designed to improve performance through better use of your computer’s memory, processor, graphics hardware and battery. There’s an upgraded suite of apps including Mail, Calendar and Safari, and both iBooks and Maps have found their way to the desktop.

The iBooks app can view multiple books at the same time, connects to your personal library as well as the iBooks store, and includes support for new multi-media rich educational textbooks. The Maps app includes photo-realistic 3D flyovers (in available locations), and the ability to send map directions to iOS 7 iPhones and iPads.

Mavericks’ new multiple-monitor mode offers the ability to dedicate a full screen app to a particular monitor, and both Finder ‘Tabs’ and filename ‘Tags’ will be welcome additions. Improved notifications, including integrated ‘website notifications’ can deliver messages about new content from subscribed websites to your desktop.

Lastly, Mavericks has been designed to work closer with iOS 7, and has gained some of the flatter-design aesthetic found on updated iPhones and iPads.

But the very best thing of all is that Mavericks is absolutely free.

It doesn’t even matter if you are upgrading from a very old version of OS X – its still free.

Congratulations to Apple for its innovative pricing policy, and it’s certainly set the bar for Microsoft’s Windows operating system updates, which at last count, would have cost $119 for upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1, or $336 to the Windows Pro 8.1 version. You can download Mavericks directly the app store, and it’s available today.

Valens Quinn travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Apple.