At WWDC Apple 2015 announced the next version of OS X, called El Capitan. The update focuses on performance and user experience. Here, we’ve rounded up the rumours about the OS X 10.11 release date and new features. See: How to watch WWDC 2015 live.

See also: When is iOS 9 coming out?

Mac OS X El Capitan: release date

History means it’s relatively easy to predict that the 2015 version of OS X will be launched in the autumn. Last year, for example, Apple unveiled OS X Yosemite at WWDC in June and made a beta available to a select group of public testers on 24 July. Apple has confirmed it will be the same in 2015.

The finished version of Yosemite was then launched on 16 October as a free update. There’s no reason to suspect things will be any different this year, and we expect a late September or early October release. Apple has said El Capitan will be released as a free update "this fall".

Mac OS X El Capitan: Public Beta

OS X El Capitan release date - Public Beta

You can sign up to try out the pre-release version of El Capitan on Apple's website. Bear in mind that there will be bugs and that this is unfinished software. It's not meant for use on your main Mac that you rely on day in, day out.

All you need to do is enter your Apple ID and password, and then enroll your Macs on the program. You can then download El Capitan via the Mac Store. You'll also get subsequent updates until the final version is available in the autumn. For more details see How to get El Capitan right now

Mac OS X El Capitan: name and number

Apple has long preferred to use names rather than numbers, beginning with internal codenames such as Cheetah and Puma before making them public from OS X 10.2 Jaguar. The next version will be 10.11, but the public name is El Capitan.

Mac OS X El Capitan: new features

As is the case with Android M, which Google announced at the very end of May, we weren't expecting any major design or interface changes in OS X 10.11. These came with Yosemite last year.

Instead, the updates are tweaks and improvements to the interface including plenty of new gestures. They make it easier to use Mail, virtual desktops and the split view where you can run two apps side by side on screen.

A more powerful Spotlight search lets you use natural language to find things both online and locally.

In terms of performance, Apple says apps open up to 1.4x faster and switching between apps is twice as fast.

Metal, introduced last year on iOS, is now part of OS X. Apple says it means up to 10x performance improvement in games, and there's also a big benefit for professionals using Adobe's Creative Cloud apps, for example.