MacOS X celebrates 20th anniversary as Apple plots complete overhaul of its Mac line-up


Apple’s MacOS X has turned 20 – with the birthday arriving right in the middle of a change that could prove just as fundamental to the future of the world’s most valuable company.

The operating system was first revealed in January of 2000, with a press release that bragged that Apple was “reasserting its leadership in personal computer operating systems”. The company pointed to Aqua – a new look for the interface, parts of which such as the dock live on to this day – a well as the Darwin kernel that sat at its heart, using technology similar to Linux and promising “an entirely new foundation”.

But it would not actually launch until 24 March, 2001, when it hit stores alongside a press release in which then-chief executive Steve Jobs said Apple “can’t wait for Mac users around the globe to experience its stability, power and elegance”. Only some parts of that were true at first, with reviews praising the look and redesign but criticising the operating system for how slow it was.

The software went on to receive almost-annual updates that have improved its performance and added features. It still lives on to this day, though in entirely different computers from those it first was launched with, when Apple had only just introduced the brightly-coloured iMac.

In that time, much has changed about MacOS X. That includes the name itself, which first changed to just OS X and which Apple now styles as macOS, in line with its other operating systems, all of which are based on technologies that began with the Mac.



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