In Depth: MacOS through the ages: a visual guide

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MacOS through the ages: early years

When you are hectic making picture books in iPhoto, searching the web in Safari, or preparing rich, beautifully laid-out files in Pages, it’s easy to forget about the os that powers your Mac. It’s just … there, is not really it? It’s such a basic part of your Mac that great deals of people naturally struggle to even really understand exactly what an operating system is. Without one, however, your Mac would just be a very but utterly worthless collection of metal, plastic and silicates, so let us take a moment to recognize the Mac’s os.

This, after all, is the soul of the Mac. Generally speaking, nowadays it’s the only thing that separates a Mac from a PC– at least at the level of the specific components that make it tick– and makes it special.

There are two fantastic ages of the Mac OS, the first started with the intro of the original Macintosh a full 30 years ago, and the 2nd started in 2001 when OS X made its formal debut. Mac OS X– the Roman character being pronounced ‘ten’, of course– was a much larger change from Mac OS 9 than the easy version number increment might recommend.

It could be for you that what follows is a beautiful warm hug of fond memories as you bear in mind icons and quirks of the OS that have vanished, however if you are new to the Mac, enjoy watching the evolution of the operating system you are using today …

Macintosh System Software

Introduced: January 1984
System requirements: 68000 processor or later on, 128KB of RAM
Distribution: 400KB floppy disk

Macintosh System Software

30 years ago, Apple introduced the world to the graphical user interface– and the world enjoyed it. No, Apple wasn’t the first to make a GUI, and no, the Mac OS hadn’t been even Apple’s first GUI. However it was this method– using metaphor and pictures to make it simpler and even more user-friendly to make use of a computer compared with having to bear in mind and properly type lines of code to achieve anything– that stuck, and influenced every personal computer that followed it.

It’s only now that we are beginning to get a look of a computing system that’s not a direct descendent of the Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers paradigm presented with System 1– with touch-based, personal devices such as the iPhone, and afterwards potentially with wearable gadgets such as Google Glass and immersive platforms such as the Oculus Break.

System Software 0.7

Introduced: January 1986
System requirements: 68000 processor or later on, 128KB of RAM
Distribution: 400KB floppy disk

System Software 07

System Software 5

Introduced: October 1987
System requirements: 68000 processor or later on, 1MB of RAM
Distribution: 800KB floppy disk

System Software 5

System Software 7

Introduced: May 1991
System requirements: 68000 processor or later on, 2MB RAM (4MB recommended), 4MB hard drive space
Distribution: 800KB or 1.44MB floppy disks

Sysatem Software 7

System Software 7.5

Introduced: September 1994
System requirements: 68000, 68020, 68030, 68040 or PowerPC processor, 4MB (68K) or 8MB (PPC) RAM, and 21MB hard drive space
Distribution: 1.44 MB floppy disks, CD-ROM

System Software 75

System 7.5 included a great deal of features to the Mac’s operating system– lots of by the easy expedient of Apple acquiring shareware apps and incorporating them into the OS. It had taken 12 years, as an example, prior to there was a clock in the menu bar– formerly a control panel called SuperClock. Stickies, the capability to break down a window down to simply its title bar, a hierarchical Apple menu system, and even the app for handling system extensions were all third-party acquisitions, too. Plus, the bundling of MacTCP meant that, for the very first time, a Mac might link to the web from the box.

System 7.5.5, the last version of System 7.5, was the last version of the Mac os to operate on Macs with the initial 68K processors– and it was the last version to be called ‘System Software’.

MacOS through the ages: OS years

Mac OS 8

Introduced: July 1997
System requirements: 68040 or PowerPC processor, 12MB genuine RAM (and virtual memory approximately 20MB if you’ve less than 20MB RAM), and 195MB hard drive space
Distribution: 1.44MB floppy disks, CD-ROM

Mac OS X 8

Mac OS 9

Introduced: October 1999
System requirements: PowerPC processor, 32MB physical RAM with virtual memory readied to a minimum of 40MB, and 190-250MB hard disk space
Distribution: CD-ROM

Mac OS X 9

The end of the traditional Mac OS versions. Undoubtedly, when OS X was presented, an emulated variation OS 9 was consisted of, actually called ‘classic’ mode.

Although it was entirely various technically and cosmetically to the OS that was to prosper it, its impact on the Mac OS’s set of features is clear, OS 9 introduced a central Software application Update engine and the idea of a password Keychain along with a lot of technical structures we still use today. The great-grandfather of iCloud, iTools, also made its launching in OS 9. Although it looks old-fashioned to us these days, it is not really functionally that much various to OS X.

And do you remember Sherlock? It was an app for searching the web and your hard disk, and it generated the term ‘Sherlocked’, utilized to explain a scenario where Apple is accused of just copying a third-party app (Karelia Software’s Watson in this case) without payment.

Mac OS X 10.1

Introduced: September 2001
System requirements: PowerPC G3 (original PowerBook G3 not supported), 128MB RAM, and 1.5 GB hard disk space
Distribution: CD-ROM

Mac OSX 101

Mac OS X 10.2

Introduced: August 2002
System requirements: PowerPC G3 (original PowerBook G3 not supported), 128MB RAM, and 3GB hard drive space
Distribution: CD-ROM or DVD-ROM

Mac OSX 102

With the introduction of 10.2, it was now accepted that running OS X as your primary operating system was certainly sensible. While 10.0 (Cheetah) was missing out on numerous functions and was slow, and 10.1 (Puma) included features but was still slow-moving, 10.2, for the very first time was both quickly sufficient and feature-complete enough for lots of folks to embrace it full-time.

One enjoyable aside: although it was common to have code word for operating systems specifically, they were normally for internal use just. But with 10.2, its ‘Jaguar’ (or ‘Jagwire’, if you were Steve Jobs) code word leaked out ahead of the OS, and Apple chose to accept it. Since then, we’ve actually understand each OS version progressively more by its code name than by its version number– despite the fact that now we’ve actually switched from big feline names to places in California with Mavericks.

Mac OS X 10.3

Introduced: October 2003
System requirements: PowerPC G3 or later,
built-in USB, 128 MB RAM, 3GB hard disk space
Distribution: CD-ROM or DVD-ROM

Mac OSX 103

Mac OS X 10.4

Introduced: April 2005
System requirements: PowerPC G3 or later on, built-in FireWire, 256MB RAM, 3GB hard drive space
Distribution: DVD-ROM or CD-ROM

Mac OS X 104

Mac OS X 10.5

Introduced: October 2007
System requirements: Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster), 512MB RAM, 9GB hard disk space
Distribution: DVD-ROM

Mac OS X 105

Mac OS X 10.6

Introduced: August 2009
System requirements: Intel processor, 1GB RAM, 5GB disk space
Distribution: DVD-ROM

Mac OS X 106

Mac OS X 10.7

Introduced: July 2011
System requirements: Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor, 2GB RAM, 7GB hard drive area, and Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later on (10.6.8 advised)
Distribution: Mac App Shop or USB thumb drive

Mac OSX 109

OS X 10.8

Introduced: July 2012
System requirements: iMac (Mid 2007 or newer), MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum or Early 2009 or more recent), MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer), MacBook Air (Late 2008 or more recent), Mac mini (Early 2009 or more recent), Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer) or Xserve (Early 2009), 2GB RAM, 8GB hard drive space, and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later
Distribution: Mac App Store

OS X 10.9

Introduced: October 2013
System requirements: iMac (Mid 2007 or newer), MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum or Early 2009 or newer), MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or more recent), MacBook Air (Late 2008 or more recent), Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer), Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer) or Xserve (Early 2009), 2GB RAM, 8GB hard drive space, and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later
Distribution: Mac App Store

Mac OS X 109

OS X 10.10

Introduced: June 2014
System requirements: iMac (Mid 2007 or Newer) MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Very early 2009 or later) MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later on), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later) MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later) Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later on) Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later) Xserve (Early 2009), 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB of offered storage, and OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or later
Distribution: Mac App Store

Yosemite

OS X’s user interface is now a strange combination of bare minimalism, subtle color impacts and cartoonish icons.