Apple’s Mac OS X operating system is now 20 years old. The first version of the operating system, Cheetah, went on sale on Saturday, March 24, 2001 and was largely defined by its, at the time, modern water bubble aesthetic that ran through the entire user interface and was also visible in the transparent buttons and scroll bars. Cheetah also introduced the now well-known Mac doll with apps at the bottom of the screen as well as a new version of Finder.
The Cheetah version was followed by Puma (2001), Jaguar (2002), Panther (2003), Tiger (2004), Leopard (2007, Snow Leopard (2009) and Lion (2011).
When Mountain Lion was released in 2012, “Mac OS X” was also shortened to “OS X”. In 2013, OS X followed Maverick, which went away from the big cat names, and in 2016, Apple also removed “X” with the introduction of Mac OS 10.12 Sierra to more match with iOS. This edition then leads to today’s version, Mac OS Big Sur, which can be argued to have offered the biggest design changes since Apple OS X Cheetah was released twenty years ago.
The release of the original OS X in 2001 marked a turning point in Apple’s history. Where the company went from being close to collapse to today being one of the world’s largest. At the time, Apple’s CEO and returning founder, Steve Jobs, said the release of Mac OS X was even more important to the company since the original Macintoch operating system was released in 1984.
Twenty years later, it is still there and shows no plans to slow down.
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