This past Thursday marked the tenth birthday or anniversary of Mac OSX, which officially
debuted on March 24th, 2001 as Mac OSX 10.0 with an internal codename of “Cheetah”. The initial release was the first version of a stable, UNIX-based OS that succeeded Mac OS, which was used by Apple between 1984 and 2001. Over time, the Mac OSX has changed quite a bit. Apple has also moved the architecture from Power PC to an x86 and upgraded it from 32 to 64 bit. It will run on both a 32 or 64.
Mac OSX is based on a range of technologies developed by NeXT, a company that was founded by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and bought by Apple in 1996, which was also the mark of Steve Jobs’ return to Apple. Since it’s original launch, Apple introduced seven major versions, all of which were named after big cats (Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard). Mac OSX 10.7, which is code named Lion, was first shown at an Apple event in October 2010 and will be the first to include support for the Mac App Store. Lion is only currently available as a developer preview.
March 24th when OSX was released the iMac was less than three years old, the iPod was still more than six months away, and Macs ran at an astounding average speed of 733 MHz.
Once Apple released the OSX, they changed the future of their platform forever. Though nobody
knew it at the time, the release was the first step in transforming Apple from a company poised
on the verge of disaster into the second most valuable company to the most valuable company
in the world.
While the impact of Mac OSX on Apple’s products and the user experience they provide is undeniable, the early days of the operating system were anything but perfect. From a shaky public beta release in late 2000 of Cheetah it necessitated rapid fixes and improvements that led to the release of Puma 10.1, just six months later. It was clearly still a work in progress. The transition from the PowerPC-Intel, was announced in June 2005. It was the biggest change in the operating system’s history, a critical move that could have alienated Apple users as Apple loved to discredit the performance of Intel processors in PC’s prior to the announcement. All Mac OSX version up until Leopard (10.6) support the PowerPC architecture. Snow Leopard was the first to run exclusively run on x86 processors.
Over the last ten years since the release of OSX, Apple has become much more than just a computer company. They have come to revolutionize music consumption with the iPod, recreating the smartphone market with the iPhone, and most recently catapulting the tablet market into consumer’s awareness with the iPad. In the process, Apple’s operating system for mobile devices, iOS, has itself matured and yielded a number of new innovations and features. The next step of the evolution of Mac OSX is “Back to the Mac” with the anticipated release of Lion sometime this summer. I know that I can’t wait to see the next release of OSX. It’s supposed to be the last OSX. What’s next? I would love to hear your comments. As always get out there and enjoy your day!