The era of Mac OS X is finally over with Apple confirming they are officially moving to macOS 11 with the Big Sur update. This update was announced after nearly 20 years of OS X or macOS 10 running. This fall, users will finally upgrade to version 10.X that Apple has been using for nearly two decades to version macOS 11. The shift to macOS 11.0 is Apple’s surprising choice. Because at one point it seemed that Apple would only be using OS X or macOS 10 as a brand name for its software in the future.
This change has a very long path. Previously, the original version of Mac OS X was released as public beta at a price of 29.99 US dollars in September 2000. That was because the successor to Mac OS 9 returned to the original Macintosh in 1984.
The release of Mac OS X was a dividing line between eras original Apple computers and a new generation of devices. Apple spent the next decade refining and enhancing OS X with updates released far more sporadically than current releases to define all of the company’s software.
Earlier versions of the OS were known by their “big cat” code names, such as Jaguar, Lion, Leopard, and Tiger. This is actually a paid upgrade that customers have to buy, not a free download.
OS X also stretches between Apple’s hardware generations from the early days of PowerPC on the iMac and MacBook, then to the 2005 Intel turnover, to newer devices such as the ultra-thin MacBook Air or the Mac Pro.
Starting 2011, Apple began transitioning to an annual release of OS X. In 2013, the company released OS X Mavericks and the company stopped using the big cat names. They also turn OS X into free annual updates.
As reported by The Verge, Tuesday (23/6), with Apple switching to macOS 11, it’s anyone’s guess what happened next. The public may be wondering whether there will be a change in the iOS version number next year with a possible release of macOS12 or has Apple started the era of macOS 11 updates with versions 11.1, 11.2 and so on being released every fall for the next two decades?
Also, the shift is a fitting end for OS X, even as Apple embarks on its latest invention from Intel-based chips to new ARM-based Apple Silicon products. It will be even more indistinguishable between iOS mobile and iPadOS devices and laptops and desktop computers.
OS X defines Mac for hardware and software generation. It’s great to see what Apple has planned next.