OS X Turns 10 Today: Last Birthday for the Aging Cat?


Apple (s aapl) is celebrating a big milestone today, as its Mac OS X operating system turns 10. That’s 10 years since the first beta of the successor to Mac OS 9 was introduced. On the Mac side of things, OS X played a key role in the reinvention and reinvigoration of Apple, a company that had seen a lengthy stint of turmoil and trouble up to that point.

The first iteration of OS X, 10.0, was ironically named “Cheetah,” despite obviously being the slowest in the series now. After Cheetah came Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard and now, Snow Leopard. Each big cat nickname represented a major point update to the operating system (e.g., 10.1, 10.2, etc.). A screenshot below shows you what OS X 10.0 looked like, so you can see how far it’s come visually if you aren’t familiar.

I hope I don’t get any longstanding fanboys jumping down my throat by admitting this, but I came in around the Panther/Tiger point in OS X history. As a child, I’d used earlier iterations of Mac OS, but I wasn’t ever a Mac owner until I got a used eMac running Panther, which I upgraded soon after to Tiger. Even though I’ve only experienced a truncated version of OS X’s update history, it’s safe to say I’ve seen things change a great deal for the better.

Snow Leopard was released over a year ago, in August 2009. Leopard was released nearly two years prior, in late October 2007. Snow Leopard has the distinction of being an upgrade that didn’t really bring a ton of new features to the table, but rather optimized and enhanced Leopard, a distinction which resulted in much lower upgrade pricing for existing users.

OS X 10.6 is the cherry atop the lovely sundae that is Apple’s latest operating system. It’s a fond farewell to a cat that’s grown rather long in the tooth, and I don’t think we’ll see a 10.7 in the series. Why? Apple has another OS it’s pushing, and it’s clearly serious about it. I’m talking about iOS of course, which recently got a name change that makes it much more platform agnostic than the original iPhone OS. Sure, that’s because it’s on the iPad now, but if you think Apple doesn’t have plans beyond that device, you’re kidding yourself.

We probably won’t see a major update to the OS Macs are running before next year at the earliest, but when it does come it probably won’t look too much like it does today. It’ll have to stand astride two worlds, the world of Macs we know and love now, and the world of the touch-based devices of tomorrow.



They’re already working on Mac OS X 10.7, they’ve even released a job description for it! I highly doubt iOS will be seen on a Mac COMPUTER. iOS is designed for their iDevices and is an extremely simplified version of Mac OS X. That’s right, Mac OS X is the father of iOS. Why would they severely limit their number 1 revenue generator by installing a limited OS? It would be financial suicide to do so. This entire article is based off an ill conceived hypothesis with absolutely no basis in logic. In the end, no matter how amazing Apples products are, they are in it for the money. A decision like putting iOS on a Mac would cause people to go after the device with the most functionality (were iOS ran on Macs) and that would be the PC. Apple would lose revenues! Think before you speak please.


This is an absolutely ridiculous statement based on nothing. No insight, no insider knowledge, no sense that anyone does anything with their Macs besides browse the web.

Do you think Final Cut and the Adobe Suite are going to seamlessly scrap the way they do things and switch over to some touchscreen hybrid OS? Do you realize how entrenched many multi-billion dollar industries are in using OS X? The switch from 9 to X took years and cost a lot of businesses a lot of money. I don’t know that it will be tolerated again, especially if needed features are lost.

I’d also look at how many major devs are supporting the iOS. There’s millions of apps, but all but a tiny sliver of a percent are homebrews or from small startup developers. The app store is a resounding success, sure- but there’s still no real image, video or sound editing program or even a professional word processor. That’s not changing until there’s a way to charge upwards of $1000 to install 10gb professional applications.

And I should add- the touch screen is great for a mobile device, but it’s far from ideal for an 8-10 hour day of actual production work. The keyboard and mouse are here to stay in one form or another.

Honestly… I think you’re just trolling for page views.


I can’t imagine using a touch screen OS for anything graphic. How do you edit Photosvusing a monitor screen full of finger prints?


OS X and iOS share common features and code, but the two should not be confused as the same OS. OS X is built on Intel architecture while iOS is ARM-based. Despite it’s best efforts, Intel has been incapable of producing a truly mobile chipset comporable to ARM, and I’m sorry, Atom doesn’t cut it. The only way you’ll see iOS on a Mac is if Macs start using ARM chips, which they won’t… ever.

Even if touch-based computers are the future, there will *always* be a place for traditional input-based computers. Any developer or designer will tell you straight off that touch will never be an integral input method for their work.

That doesn’t mean that OS X might not pick up some touch features from its sister OS, but OS X (or OS 11, if we ever get there) is here to stay and will remain closer to it’s state today than that of iOS.


Judging from MacBook sales going up and up, and the hardware being constantly updated, it looks like you are dead wrong. Apple wouldn’t do something as retarded as dump Mac OS just because iOS is gaining popularity faster. It’s not like people don’t buy Macs; quite the opposite – on TV (esp. on casting shows), you can see photographers, music producents, DJs and other people using Macintoshes. But also non-professionals, even students, go for the MacBook when choosing a laptop. Macs are cool, stylish, and they work well, and millions of users know and appreciate that. That includes you, too.

Also, keep in mind iOS relies on computer synchronization. Do you really believe Apple would leave those iOS users with no other choice than to use Windows? I don’t think so. iOS and Mac OS are designed to work together, and it would be foolish to rely on Windows apps (i.e. iTunes) instead, when Mac OS is gaining popularity and has many advantages over Windows, including iOS compatibility related ones.


I don’t think the author meant Apple would dump OS X, but rather that their new desktop/server OS will become something so NEW that you might as well call it differently. The “Mac OS X 10.7” name won’t be relevant anymore since it could even include iOS completely and more. It could be designed to work with advanced touch screen computer (and even the cloud/server farm, which the author didn’t mention surprisingly). We are definitely not talking about a “narrowed down to iOS” version of Mac OS X. It’s the exact opposite!!! I think it’s right to say that Apple has the capabilities of putting together an OS for desktop and server that is beyond OS X. I bet you Apple will transform desktop computing next year. I think the time is right. Anyway, that’s how understand it. Might be wrong.


this is hogwash, and blind analysis based on emotion and ignorance.

the 64 bit and total rewrite of OS X, as well as the clear development of iOS devices being tentacles to a home-cloud operated on the Mac shows that Apple still intends for most people to have a truck in their garage.

The comments and the inference of the article that there has been stagnation on the dev of 10.7 are just plain wrong.

All of this specualtion ignores that comment by Steve that some people need trucks, and the Mac is a truck par excellance that they intend to keep developing.

What you guys should be analyzing, in light of hte newest airplay and rental statements, is how Apple is moving the systems around to accomodate a house where people don’t want a truck, just cars. That’s what is happening: there is an Apple image of some consumers not buying a Mac, but an iPad and other iOS devices — how can they move resources around so that Aunt Fanny, who only has an iPad and an appleTV can do everything she needs to without buying a Mac.

Meanwhile, OSX is moving at a plenty pace — it is best positioned to provide the mini-enterprise cloud, SAN, and heavy lifting to any household that wants it.

Mark Hernandez

I think that what SHOULD come next is a more 3D user interface. We all live in a 3D world. Look at everything around you and how it’s organized. Now look at your Mac, now back at your workspace, now back at your Mac. (Sounds like an Old Spice commercial :-)

There is almost too much going on in the PC / mobile computing spaces now. The other day I made a partial list of all the things we can currently do on our smartphones and it’s pretty much overwhelming.

As I have always said: “Simplicity allows us to rise to a higher level of accomplishment, given the same effort.” So, if we are going to rise to a higher level of accomplishment with the same fixed (and already maxed out) effort we now put out, things have to get simpler and “ease up” in an equal and opposite direction.

3D human interfaces on the computer could offer some breathing room and give a little more organizational and navigational simplicity to things. Right now we’re living in one big room. We need room to grow and expand.

I took my Mac in to the Genius Bar a few days ago ‘cuz I was having a problem, and the guy asked me to help him because I had too many icons across the bottom (over 60) all of which I use regularly throughout my work week. Yeah, *I’m* ready for some breathing room on my desktop/laptop.

There are a bunch of people already working in that 3D space. Some Apple patents already reveal some of that effort. And Apple would have to introduce it gradually. But the hardware is definitely ready for it. But our mouse is not (at least one new gesture is needed).

Think about it for a while.



no matter which name will carry the next system update, it will definitely merge at least parts of the ios into mac os x. The success of the touchscreen input will come to imac and a powerfull tabletcomputer/macbook pro in size 13″/15″/17″ in the near future, will be interesting to see how the data management will be resolved…..

Casper B. Hansen

iOS isn’t nearly mature enough to replace nor integrate with the desktop computer just yet. Some speculation on the matter of Mac OS X turning 10 (which is 22th of June, release day), that it’ll be over for the X and hello to XI. This is because Apple supposedly said Mac OS X would last for ten years, but this was probably because they wanted to do an iteration of it every year.

I don’t think we’ll skip 10.7, 10.8 or 10.9, nor do I think iOS is going to replace Mac OS X anytime soon, if ever. :)


“nor do I think iOS is going to replace Mac OS X anytime soon, if ever.”

I’m not sure about the “if ever” part. There is a grand unification somewhere down the line. I think Apple will play the string though 10.9, but I will predict there will be no OS 11. We’ve all been wondering how that would go down, but iOS changes the vector and Apple will offer a new OS with a new name. I think dual core high-Gigahertz ARM processors seal the deal. Watch out Intel!

Dan G.

Everything eventually sees extinction. I already find as limited as the iPad is that I can do most of the things I have time to do of a computer on the IOS. Having said that. I do things with my Mac today that I could only dream of when the internets became multimedia in the mid nineties. I think the ” Trucks” do have a different future than their present, and I can’t wait.


The iOS interface was already tried on computers. It was called “At Ease” and ran on Macs in the OS7/8/9 days.


If they bring iOS features to the Mac, I sure hope they think hard about the UI this time. Because At Ease was pretty limited.

Duif Henkendrecht

It’s actually kind of sad that OS X has stagnated since the success of iOS. The only recent upgrade to OS X are iTunes and XCode, both of which are really iOS upgrades.

While Apple is staring itself blind at the consumer market, MS or Google could release a real new OS meant for production computers. And while I’m dreaming, maybe Adobe should release a ‘Creative OS’. Hah!


Don’t be that negative. I think 2011 will be the year of a new Mac OSX (or whatever new name they will give it). 2010 has been about iPad, iOS, iPhone 4, new iPods, Ping, Apple TV and new Macs so far. Next year, the focus will be on the only thing that was left out this year: Mac OSX.


Interesting, I had this idea in mind as well. It would make complete sense. People already said similar things when there was no Mac OS section in this year’s MacWorld. 2011 is highly likely to be dedicated more to Mac OS.


@KsbjA, Agreed. Couple of months ago, Apple posted a job opening for a position wihtin the Mac OS X group. The new role was said to be about participating in the development of something revolutionary in Mac OS X. So if they do anything major in 2011, it will be way beyond iOS or FaceTime on iPad, it will just be about Mac OS X. I think it will happen.

joe chiarelli

Without Mac OS, you cant developer for iOS.
I dont think they can push iOS fasten enough to no push out 10.7

iOS doesnt do real multitasking. You cant edit or input stuff like video on an iPad. Its a consumer device.
iMacs and even more so Mac Pro’s create the content for iOS devices.
Kinda see that iOS is reliant on the Mac OS.

10.7 will be here.


I am very disappointed at Apples attention at its iPod’s and iPad’s, I don’t care for them as much as the Mac and I want Apple to be Apple Computer company but it changed names! Which was unnecessary and caused most of your followers to give up hope! Steve Jobs’s, If 10.7 or XI doesn’t come out soon, the rest of your fans will give up hope. :(

Dan Fonseca

im kinda apprehensive about the entire thing… We all understand how fantastic the touch based OS have been but transferring that over to our laptops? Apple will have to come up with something TOTALLY revolutionary that could bridge these two worlds. I am excited but worried at once! I cant wait!!



i’d never seen that expression! i’m definitely keeping this one in mind!!
So totally applicable here!

Tony Arnold

Sensationalist crap.

Sorry, but there are references to 10.7 in numerous public (and private) locations. Go sign up to download Xcode and search the headers of the most recent release.

At some point, the two operating systems will come together, but Macs are still required for creating iOS apps: If Apple let the Mac stagnate, iOS will stagnate as well.


From My understanding he si not saying that the will put IOS on macs but rather the mac os will be renamed and rebranded as part of the IOS label. though it may bear nop resemblance ti the current version of IOS

Alan Green

iOS is built on OSX technologies. Whether they re-brand Mac’s os or not, it’s all the same operating system and will be for many years to come.


Exactly. There are essentially two versions of Mac OS, each optimized for the type of hardware it runs on. And, as long as the world doesn’t give up desktop and laptop computers (which seems very unlikely, considering the advantages of those), we are going to see both of them.


Not jumping on anyone. I’d think there’s always some next rev OS on a company’s roadmap. I got a G4 with Panther and just now updated my Mac to a Mac Pro running Snow of course. Speculation is always interesting. I remember the discussion of flash(the memory technology)-based iPods. The back and forth. Now, the iPad naysayers. How many tablets will be out this Christmas? Without the iPad, would there be any? I am 48 and really just enjoying how far we’ve come the last 30 years or so.


I don’t think the current IOS would work for a computer OS. its not powerful enough, and its more suited for a touch screen computer. Which I expect Apple to make soon enough.

A Mix of IOS for Navigation, but with more power from SL, would be great.

Though I’ll bet there will be a 10.7.


The iPad is a media consumption device – like a computer, but with foetal alcohol syndrome.


Don’t feel bad. Though I’ve been a Mac loyalist since 1995 (interestingly enough, the same year the “revolutionary” Windows 95 hit), I didn’t get OS X until the end of 2002 when I upgraded from my iMac to a custom built PowerMac.

Since then, Apple has consistently led the way in product innovation. From the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad (which I honestly didn’t think would catch on).

Far from perfect, Apple still tries to improve and innovate and take the step toward product and user integration. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

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