The most recent strain of Mac OS, OS X has revolutionized computing for many. Revamping the original Mac operating system first introduced in 1984, OS X has gone from strength to strength, since its inception in 2001.
Originally titled after various cat names, such as Cheetah and Lion, the operating system is now following a line of Californian landmarks, such as Yosemite and El Capitan. One thing that has remained the same, however, is that each new version has incorporated a series of features that many of us now take for granted.
Here’s a look at OS X’s path to success.
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Cheetah and Puma: Huge changes often involve a bumpy start. That's what happened with Cheetah. Introduced in March 2001, the operating system was arguably not ready for public consumption.
Despite that, it was the perfect foundation to build upon. While it was slow and buggy, it also offered now familiar features such as the Dock, Terminal, and TextEdit.
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Puma: Later in 2001, Puma was released, correcting many of Cheetah's flaws, while also providing DVD playback, easier disc burning options and a slightly more stable working environment.
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Jaguar: In August 2002, it was Jaguar that proved all the more reliable. Alongside increased reliability, the operating system introduced many features that users continue to use today, such as the Address Book, and Apple Mail.
Rendezvous (now known as Bonjour) ensured that discovering devices across a network was easier, while Inkwell offered handwriting recognition software built into the OS. Finder enjoyed better search options, forming the basis of a much more powerful search tool for the future.
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Panther: Panther's arrival in October 2003 ruffled some feathers, given certain older computers could no longer run it, but it was a hefty update for Macs. Finder now offered a live search engine feature, as well as secure deletion, file labels, and zip support built in.
TextEdit was now compatible with Microsoft Word documents, while Preview made PDF rendering much more efficient. Most importantly, Safari was introduced, replacing Internet Explorer for Mac, and giving users a whole new way of browsing the internet.
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Tiger: In April 2005, Tiger was released to the public, and provided users with OS X's killer feature - Spotlight. Spotlight allowed users to not just search for file names, but also within documents, calendars, and address book contact cards. Indexing files improved the speed significantly, meaning it takes seconds to look up anything. It's a feature that continues to be hugely popular amongst Mac users today.
As well as that, Dashboard was included, allowing for the addition of widgets on your desktop, and Automator made it possible to link together various applications through a series of automated actions.
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Leopard and Snow Leopard: Leopard's arrival in 2007 boasted of over 300 new or improved features. Automator was much easier to use, and the desktop saw a significant makeover. The addition of back up tool, Time Machine, and the ability to use Boot Camp to install other operating systems (i.e. Windows) were the most noteworthy of inclusions though, changing many people's perspectives on what Mac OS X could do.
In 2009, Snow Leopard built upon Leopard's foundations, by providing various tweaks to improve performance, as well as introducing the Mac App Store for the first time.
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Lion: Lion was released in July 2011, bringing with it a focus on gesture driven controls, as well as various valuable tweaks and adjustments. Taking note of iOS, Auto Save was now included for all native apps, ensuring nothing would be lost from your precious documents. AirDrop was also introduced making it easy to share files via Wi-Fi Direct.
Launchpad added an iOS style flair to proceedings, with its launcher lining up apps, just like on your smartphone. Emojis were supported for the first time too, seeming a little pointless at the time, but look how that turned out.
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Mountain Lion: 2012 brought with it Mountain Lion, and a bevy of improvements to Lion. Integrating further into iCloud, as well as Game Center, Notes and Reminders synced seamlessly between your iPhone and Mac.
iChat was replaced with Messages, tying into the iOS way of doing things. Notification center was added to Mountain Lion, offering a quick overview of alerts from applications, as well as allowing for tweets and Facebook updates to be posted from the same sidebar.
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Mavericks and Yosemite: Mavericks dispensed with the cat theme of OS X, upon release in 2013. It was a more subtle improvement upon Mountain Lion than its name would suggest, focusing on reducing power consumption, and making it an ideal upgrade for laptop users. It was Yosemite in 2014 that made more significant changes, with a major overhaul of the look of OS X's user interface, and even more of a focus on continuity between Apple devices.
You could now use Handoff functionality to place and answer calls with your iPhone, via your computer, as well as pick up where you left off in other apps. iPhoto and Aperture was also replaced by the more cohesive Photos.
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El Capitan: El Capitan is the current Mac OS, having been released in September 2015. It's another release that focuses on performance and stability improvements, promising to make opening files much speedier and more efficient, even on older systems.
New support for snapping two windows side by side, further boosts productivity for users, and there's multi-touch gestures available for apps such as Mail and Messages.