Five years of Mac OS X

Mac OS X 10 was released on 24th March 2001. ArsTechnica has an article.

In retrospect, it seems almost ridiculously implausible that Apple's prodigal son, thrown out of the company in 1985, would spend the next twelve years toiling away in relative obscurity on technology that would literally save the company upon his return. (Oh, and he also converted an orphaned visual effects technology lab into the most powerful animation studio in the US—in his spare time, one presumes.)


Mac OS X arose, phoenix-like, from the ashes of the Mac-That-Was. Okay, maybe more like an injured phoenix. Also, Apple didn't light the bird on fire until a few years later. But still, technically, phoenix-like.

A side-by-side test-drive of Mac OS X 10.0 and 10.4 is shocking. The eternal debate is whether this gap exists because 10.4 is so good, or because 10.0 was so, so bad. That said, Apple's ability to plan and execute its OS strategy is not open for debate. In five short years, Apple has essentially created an entirely new platform. Oh, I know, it's really just the foundation of NeXT combined with the wreckage of classic Mac OS, but I think that makes it even more impressive. Two failing, marginalized platforms have combined to become the platform for the alpha geeks in the new century.


Today's Mac users span a much wider range than those of the past. Mac OS X's Unix-like core reached out to the beard-and-suspenders crowd (and the newer source-code-and-a-dream crowd) while the luscious Aqua user interface pulled all the touchy-feely aesthetes from the other direction. In the middle were the refugees from the Mac-That-Was, but they aren't the story here. Mac OS X is about new blood and new ideas—some good, some bad, but all vibrant. The Mac is alive again!

Posted by Antony at March 25, 2006 11:23 AM

>> more MacCentre701 March 2006 reports.