Mac OS X has been around for 20 years today – a look at the past

On March 24, 2001, consumers were able to purchase Mac OS X for the first time. The first version of this system, called Cheetah, has the distinctive Aquadesign, which you see everywhere. That interface affects everything in the system: from simple buttons to entire windows.

The operating system has now existed for twenty years and has undergone many changes since then. The system was introduced in January 2000 at Macworld Expo. Steve Jobs said at the time that the OS is simple to use, but is now also powerful enough for people who expect more.

Aqua interface of Mac OS X

Jobs added at the time that this is the most important release for the company since the introduction of the Macintosh system in 1984. The Aqua interface is, among other things, responsible for the dock that you can still see at the bottom of the screen of Apple computers. and laptops.

That dock has been offering space for all kinds of applications and documents for years, as well as the then new file manager. In addition, Aqua is responsible for the iconic look of the operating system, such as the transparent scroll bars on the side and the well-known buttons.

New functions

But there were also other functions, such as:

  • dynamic power management so iBooks and PowerBooks could be opened immediately;
  • dynamic memory management;
  • Quartz 2D (graphics engine) for nice graphics;
  • wider support for fonts;
  • QuickTime Movie 5, iMovie 2, iTunes and AppleWorks (that’s the productivity software of yesteryear).

At the time, the new software had support for many Mac OS applications, but developers still had to build in support. That’s why Apple eventually rolled out the new operating system over a 12-month period, in a long beta period.

Different versions

At the time, consumers also had to pay for such upgrades. Over time, these updates have become cheaper and cheaper; now we have come to the point where we no longer have to pay for it at all. That point was reached in 2013.

However, there were some issues with the software, which necessitated updates.

  • Six months later Mac OS X 10.1 Puma appeared.
  • In 2012, the system was rebranded to OS X with the release of Mountain Lion. The emphasis was on the simpler design.
  • OS X Mavericks, the first version not named after a cougar, was released in 2013.
  • In 2016, Apple introduced macOS 10.12 Sierra. The X was dropped, so that the system was better suited to iOS in name.
  • Finally, we arrived at macOS Big Sur, which delivers its largest design update to date.

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