OS X is officially nine years old today. The operating system that made the Mac ‘just work’ has gone from strength to strength in the last nine years and with the release of the iPad just around the corner its creation holds even more significance.
OS X was important for a number of reasons. The first is that it was the first major software revision under the returning Steve Jobs (he was re-hired in 1997 as part of Apple’s takeover of NeXT). Apple had been promising customers a big revision for some years and it was the inability of Apple at the time to advance the operating system that allowed Windows to fill the space in personal computing (once they had moved to a GUI interface which Apple pioneered).
Apple owes pretty much all of its recent success to OS X, without its stability and ease of use Mac computers would just be pretty machines. The success of OS X is Apples ace card because they can release a great looking piece of kit and back up all of the cosmetic allure with a system that is incredibly reliable.
OS X also paved the way for the iLife apps which are bundled as part of the whole Mac experience and are a major factor for most people who make the switch from Windows. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wowed friends with a slideshow created in iPhoto or a slick movie made in iMovie and each time this has happened my friends have been equally impressed that the ability to do it came at no extra cost to the Mac itself.
The tenth iteration of the Mac OS was also significant because it would eventually pave the way for the iPhone. The simplicity of the OS X software has an obvious benefit to the consumer because it makes the system rock solid, easy to use and unlikely to break down. This simplicity also meant that Apple, rather than creating a whole new system for the iPhone could just port the elements they needed from the computer system and load it onto a mobile device. This now has even greater significance because the iPad will be running that software too and, as advancements are made on the main OS, so they will continue to translate into advancements on the iPhone and iPad.
We are hoping that at some point there will be a unification of the two systems and that the portable mini-computers we have now in the form of the iPhone and iPad will be able to handle using near on identicle versions of the software that currently resides in all Macs.
10.0 Cheetah – March 24, 2001
10.1 Puma – July 18, 2001
10.2 Jaguar – August 24, 2002
10.3 Panther – October 24, 2003
10.4 Tiger – April 29, 2005
10.5 Leopard – October 26, 2007
10.6 Snow Leopard – August 28, 2009