It was 20 years in the past to the day—March 24, 2001—that Mac OS X first turned out there to customers the world over. We’re not all the time massive on empty sentimentality right here at Ars, however the milestone appeared worthy of a fast observe.
After all, Mac OS X (or macOS 10 because it was later recognized) did not fairly survive to its twentieth birthday; final yr’s macOS Big Sur replace introduced the model quantity as much as 11, ending the reign of X.
However regardless of its double life on x86 and ARM processors and its more and more shut ties to iOS and iPadOS, immediately’s macOS remains to be very a lot a direct descendant of that authentic Mac OS X launch. Mac OS X, in flip, advanced partially from Steve Jobs’ NeXT working system—which had lately been acquired by Apple—and its launch was the harbinger of the second Jobs period at Apple.
Cheetah, Mac OS X’s preliminary launch, was fairly buggy. However it launched a variety of issues which might be nonetheless current within the working system immediately. These included the dock, which—regardless of some refinements and added options—remains to be essentially the identical now because it ever was, in addition to the fashionable model of Finder. And whereas macOS has seen a variety of UI and design tweaks which have modified over time, the footprints of Cheetah’s much-hyped Aqua interface can nonetheless be discovered throughout Large Sur.
OS X introduced many new options and applied sciences we now take without any consideration, too. For instance, it enabled Apple’s laptops to get up from sleep instantly, and it launched dynamic reminiscence administration, amongst different issues.
Mac OS X’s biggest influence looking back could also be within the function it had in inspiring and propping up iOS, which has far surpassed macOS as Apple’s most generally used working system. And certainly, macOS lives in a really totally different context immediately than it did in 2001. It was recently bumped from the No.2 working system spot globally by Google’s Chrome OS, ending a really future for Mac OS because the world’s second-most fashionable desktop working system by way of items shipped.
The most well-liked desktop working system in 2021 is Home windows, simply because it was in 2001, however the most well-liked OS general is Google’s Android, which has dramatically bigger market share within the cellular house than iOS does.
So whereas Mac OS X’s affect is profound, it exists immediately primarily as a help for iOS, which can also be itself not the most well-liked OS in its class. Regardless of Apple’s resounding success within the second Steve Jobs period, in addition to within the latest Tim Prepare dinner period, the Mac remains to be a comparatively area of interest platform—beloved by some, however skipped by a lot of the mainstream.
After 20 years, so much has modified, however an entire lot has stayed the identical.