Following the successful launch by Apple of the Mac OS X Server 1.0 on March 16th 1999, the Mac OS X desktop version known as Cheetah was released 2 years later on March 24th 2001 superseding the Mac OS 9. The new generation of operating system was based on technology developed by Steve Jobs’ company NeXT through its OPENSTEP system, a move which saw Apple purchase NeXT and Jobs famously return to the company he co-founded taking the position of interim CEO.
With releases of OS X all named after big cats, new features offered by Apple through the OS X included the introduction of Apple’s Aqua Graphic User Interface, developed to improve and enhance the users experience. The use of water themed generated images that were both translucent and reflective also provided improved depth of colour and effects, replacing the Platinum GUI which featured in previous OS versions. Having made its successful debut at the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2000, further advancements with the graphic user interface would continue to be added. Through the development of its anti-aliasing technology, a greater colour palette allowed images to be rendered smaller for better quality and more detailed icons on both the desktop and software loading screens.
Version 10.1 named Puma was released on 25th September 2001 and offered as a free update to existing users of OS X. Features of this release included increased performance, improvement to the AppleScript Interface, Faster 3D via Open GL drivers as well as increased printer support.
Released on August 24th 2002, Version 10.2 Jaguar incorporated improvements to the Finder facility, as well as the introduction of Quartz Extreme allowing for a faster and more responsive system. Universal Access assisted technology was added to support those users with disabilities including visual and hearing impairment.
On the 24th October 2003, Apple released Version 10.3 named Panther and included new applications such as FileVault for increased security through encryption and FontBook font manager. Safari, Xcode developer tools and TextEdit capabilities with Microsoft Word were also on offer.
Version 10.4 Tiger was one of Apple’s most successful releases, and during its lifetime Apple announced a move to include Intel x86 processors in its technology replacing PowerPC processers previously used. Improvements and additions in this release focused on QuickTime 7, Apple’s accessibility interface VoiceOver, iChat AV for video and audio conferencing and Spotlight facilitating full-text and metadata search. Widgets were introduction via the Dashboard application, including world clock, dictionary and calendar.
In October 2007, Version 10.5 Leopard was released with both a desktop and server version available. Back to My Mac was available enabling remote access to mobile users, and Apple also introduced improvements to the Dashboard and Automator features allowing for easy workflow and recording of user actions. Also added were FrontRow, the media software application, together with Photo Booth and PodCast Capture capabilities. Leopard was also the last OS X version which supported the PowerPC architecture.
With Version 10.6 Snow Leopard launched at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2009, it was released in August and focussed on providing greater performance and efficiency rather than an array of new features and applications as in previous releases. However it still included many additions such as Safari 4, the introduction of Time Machine, Apple’s back-up software, and improvements to VoiceOver functionality.
On July 20th 2011 Apple released Version 10.7 Lion with the addition of several languages taking its total to 22, the Apple Push Notification Service was also included for over the air alerts, as well as Font Book 3 and AirDrop for direct file sharing.
Version 10.8 Mountain Lion sought to improve on the management of content across a range of devices and also included Gatekeeper malware-blocking technology. Apple added their Notification Centre which was well received together with integrated links with Twitter and later included Facebook integration. iCloud and Games Center were also a feature in this release, which was available from 25th July 2012.
On 10th June 2013, Version 10.9 Mavericks was offered by Apple as a free update and featured additions such as energy saving technology in Timer coalescing, with further enhancements to its Mission Control and Notification Centre made and LinkedIn sharing integration added. iCloud Keychain syncing functionality was also introduced as was Maps, Apple’s mapping application service. Apple also took this opportunity to change its naming process, with Californian locations set to be used in this and future releases.