On March 24, 2001, a Saturday, Apple began letting customers buy Mac OS X, the successor to the classic Mac OS. The first version of Mac OS X, “Cheetah”, was known for its “Aqua” interface with a water bubble design for everything from windows to buttons.
Today, March 24, 2021, it’s been 20 years since Mac OS X was sold, and Apple’s Mac software has undergone many changes over the last two decades, but it was with Mac OS X that Apple took one of the first steps towards transforming from a company on the verge of failure to one of the world’s most successful companies. Mac OS X went ahead with the launch of the first iPod and announced what was in store under Jobs’ leadership.
Mac OS X was introduced at the Apple keynote address in January 2000 at the Macworld Expo. Steve Jobs said at the time that Mac OS X would “delight consumers with its simplicity and amaze professionals with its power.” He also said that it was the “most important software” from Apple since the original Macintosh operating system in 1984.
The Aqua interface introduced the now-well-known Dock for easy access to applications and documents, plus it included Apple’s renewed Finder for file management. And of course, Aqua was best known for its iconic look, which included transparent scrollbars and buttons.
Other features included advanced power management to wake iBooks and PowerBooks from sleep instantly, dynamic memory management and Apple’s Quartz 2D graphics engine for “amazing graphics” and wider font support. It came with QuickTime 5, iMovie 2, iTunes and AppleWorks (Apple’s productivity software at the time).
The new software, built on Apple’s “Darwin” operating system core, supported many existing Mac OS apps, but developers were required to “fine-tune” their apps, so Apple eventually rolled it out over a 12-month beta. period before you put it up for sale.
At launch, Mac OS X was priced at $ 129, and the launch was at a time when Apple was still charging Mac users for upgrades. Mac updates became cheaper over the years, and Apple eventually stopped paying for them in 2013.
The debut of Mac OS X was far from perfect, and it had some major stability issues that Apple needed to train. Apple followed it up with Mac OS X 10.1 “Puma” just six months later, and since then it has continued to repeat the original 2001 release.
Mac OS X became OS X in 2012 with the release of Mountain Lion, an operating system that introduced a more minimalist design that transitioned from the skeuomorphic designs Apple had used under Scott Forstall. OS X Mountain Lion followed iOS 7, which is known to be one of the biggest design overhauls of the iPhone operating system.
Apple introduced another major name improvement in 2013 with the launch of OS X Mavericks, the first version of Mac OS X that was not named after a big cat. Apple used big cats from Mac OS X 10.0 (Cheetah) to 10.8 (Mountain Lion).
The last significant change came in 2016 when Apple dropped the X and introduced the macOS 10.12 Sierra, with the macOS name meant to match better with iOS. We have had several versions of macOS, which culminated in the current version of the software, macOS Big Sur.
macOS Big Sur brought Apple’s biggest design update to macOS since the Mac OS X days, renewing everything from the curvature of window corners to colors and dock icon design. Apple designed it to feel fresh and familiar at the same time, including less intrusive menu bars, a more transparent dock, a smooth circular shape for app icons and completely renewed system sounds.
The update also modernized the notification center to add quick control switches, plus it has important Safari updates, messages, photos, maps and more, with details available in our summary. Later this year, we expect to see macOS 12, and while it probably won’t be the design overhaul that Big Sur was, Apple probably has useful new features in store.