Mac OS X drops the X to become macOS

Apple's WWDC keynote today was all about its major software platforms. The company teased upcoming features in watchOS, iOS, and tvOS, but the biggest changes are coming to Mac OS X—now called macOS.

macOS Sierra, as the next version of the operating system is called, has a ton of new features, but Apple didn't even announce the biggest change to the Mac (and its other platforms) on stage. Noted Apple blogger John Gruber discovered that the company is holding a session tomorrow to discuss the Apple File System, or APFS. We don't know much about this next-generation file system yet, but Apple's description of the "Introducing Apple File System" session says the platform is "designed to scale from an Apple Watch to a Mac Pro." It's also "optimized for Flash/SSD storage, and engineered with encryption as a primary feature." Apple has a preliminary guide to APFS up on its developer site.

Siri is also coming to the Mac with Sierra. Users can invoke Siri from the Dock and ask her questions about the status of their Macs, their files and folders, and all the other sorts of queries we've grown used to on iOS. Another iOS feature Apple is bringing to macOS is Apple Pay. Using Continuity, users can choose Apple Pay as a payment method at supported retailers and approve the transaction on their iPhones or Apple Watches.

Continuity is also the brains behind a new feature called Universal Clipboard. When a user copies any object on their Mac or iOS device, that picture or text snippet or whatever will be available to paste on any of the user's other devices.

Apple may have given Mac owners a reason to wear an Apple Watch now, too. macOS can now recognize when a user is wearing Apple's timekeeper and use that as a security factor to instantly unlock a Mac when it's awoken from sleep, somewhat like Windows Hello.

Finally, Apple is introducing a global tab API that brings a tabbed interface to pretty much any application, not just Safari. The company presents its Pages word processor as just one example. Apple software head honcho Craig Federighi said the feature should work in existing apps without much work on developers' parts.

macOS Sierra will only run on some newer Macs. Ars Technica caught the slide with that info, and the site says you'll need a late-2009 MacBook or iMac, or a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro made since 2010. Owners of older Macs will need to start thinking about upgrading if they want to run the latest macOS when it arrives this fall. A beta version is available now for developers, and Apple says it'll be conducting an open beta later this summer for the general public.

Comments closed
    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Continuity is also the brains behind a new feature called Universal Clipboard. When a user copies any object on their Mac or iOS device, that picture or text snippet or whatever will be available to paste on any of the user's other devices.[/quote<] This seems perfectly secure and I am sure there will never be any negative consequences or vulnerabilities that result from this, ever.

    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    Return of the Mac! You know I’d be back!

    [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w[/url<]

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 3 years ago

    Now when it syncs it’ll delete ALL your personal files, not just music

    • Peter.Parker
    • 3 years ago

    To be fair, that “X” from “mac OS X” was only introduced with the version 10, meaning that the X was the Roman notation for 10. It just seemed cleverer this way.
    So in a way, the system was always called “mac OS” and it just happened to be at version 10.
    Before that it was mac OS 9, mac OS 8, and so on…

    And now, they are probably at version 11. I’m guessing.
    They just couldn’t find a nice cute name for that. “XI” is not really that witty, and 11, well, it’s too dull.

    just my 2 cents.

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      Well… maybe. I’m not sure. I had the impression the X was doing double duty, not just as the roman 10, but also as a reference to the Xnu kernel in particular, and more generally the fact that this was an entirely different OS from the MacOS that came before. It was just a happy coincidence that X could fill those dual roles.

      So I think X is a hold-over from a by-gone marketing era. It no longer signifies anything that’s very important. All of Apple’s OSes use the same kernel, so that’s not important. The version number doesn’t really deserve so much attention. The thing that differentiates this OS really is that it runs on Macs, not on the other device classes that Apple sells.

      I wonder if iOS will be the next thing to get a name change, particularly if iPads and iPhones start to diverge. Will we get phoneOS and padOS?

    • kuttan
    • 3 years ago

    May sound weird. Apple should consider selling their Mac OS to PC!! So that PC users have a genuine alternative to Microsoft Windows. Plz apple plz

      • Prestige Worldwide
      • 3 years ago

      [url<]http://lmgtfy.com/?q=hackintosh[/url<]

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      Apple actually did have licenced clone makers that used their OS. They also considered OSX for the Vaio line by Sony. But Apple in the last 10, 15 years? Why would they when they’re laughing at everyone on top of a pile of money.

      It’s far from the first time licencing OSX has come up. They did it before, and stopped as part of becoming a high margin company.

        • End User
        • 3 years ago

        Apple has always been a high margin company. 25.8% in 1995 as an example.

          • tipoo
          • 3 years ago

          The clone systems were in the 80s to ’91, that’s what I’m saying. Instead of letting people get their OS on these razor margin systems, they wanted it all to themselves.

          [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_clone[/url<]

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            The official clone era (early 1995 through mid-1997) was a colossal mistake. It lead Apple to the brink of bankruptcy. Apple wanted it all to themselves because they needed it all to survive.

            • tipoo
            • 3 years ago

            Not sure where this disagreement loop is going. Apple killed the clones that were on razor margins with disagreeable licensing fees for Apple, so that they could sell more of their own high margin devices, that’s exactly what we both seem to be saying.

      • End User
      • 3 years ago

      Not going to happen. Apple makes the bulk of their money on hardware.

        • Deanjo
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]Apple makes the bulk of their money on[s<]hardware[/s<] ecosystem.[/quote<] The OS is just as responsible for the popularity of the Macs as the hardware is. It is a part and parcel situation.

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      Why would you really want to run macOS on a PC — why not just buy a Mac?

      Is it because you like building your own PC, but you don’t like Windows? Is it because you want less expensive hardware than what Apple offers? Why not just use Linux?

      From my perspective, the value proposition of buying Apple products really only makes sense when you go for the full ecosystem. Combining macOS with a PC makes about as much sense to me as combining a Mac with a Windows Phone.

      Also…. I’ll bet that if Apple were to sell macOS for PCs at a price that is profitable to them, you wouldn’t want to buy it.

        • smilingcrow
        • 3 years ago

        “why not just buy a Mac?”

        One reason is because they make such a small range that it doesn’t cover many common form factors.
        My current convertible touchscreen laptop or my decommissioned tower desktop were not areas covered by Apple.
        My next PC will probably be a 13.3″ Core M Dell 7370 which has a decent range of ports and a 3 year onsite warranty neither of which Apple offer.
        It’s like a MacBook for adults. 🙂
        Although the way MS is going with Windows I may look at Hackintosh and Linux support before changing system.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    I still remember seeing a demonstration of a preview build of Mac OS X put on by Apple employees a few months before it launched. Remember that this was in the same time frame as the runup to Windows XP!

    I totally asked the guy to bring up a Unix command prompt for some real fun and he refused 🙁

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      Mac OS X was kind of a joke compared to win2k and XP for the first 5 or so years of its existence at least from my perspective. I don’t think it was a decent competitor until Tiger. If it wasn’t for Vista, I wouldn’t have given the Mac a second (or even first) look.

      But I am grateful to the true believers who kept buying Macs despite their slow PPC processors and beta OS. They kept the company alive so that fair weather fans like me can bask in the summer sun.

        • adisor19
        • 3 years ago

        I’m tempted to think the same but after reading every single one of Siracusa’s OS X reviews starting from the DP and the Public Beta, I kinda regret not having a mac back then.. Mind you I thouroughly enjoyed MS-DOS, Win 3.1, 95, 98, 2k, XP and 7 years but I kinda wished I had access to a Mac to experience the transition from the old guard of os 9 to OS X..

        My first experience with my OWN OS X was running 10.4 under pear PC on my Athlon 1.2Ghz. That lead to me buying my first mac : a Mac mini 1.1Ghz in 2005 as soon as it was announced. I could actually afford a mac for the first time ever !

        I upgraded that bad boy with 1GB of RAM and a HUGE 200GB HD and I experienced the transition from 10.3 to 10.4 to the final 10.5. It was quite the eye opener and while it wasn’t the fastest machine, it convinced me to get an MBP in 2007 that has served me well for a long time as well.

        Still I wish I made the jump earlier on.

        Adi

    • sweatshopking
    • 3 years ago

    AND OMG IMESSAGING LOOKS LIKE THE WORST THING TO EXIST EVER NOW

    • sweatshopking
    • 3 years ago

    With the possible exception of the new files system, basically all the features they announced came out already on other platforms. Pay pal? Cortana? Oneclip? A collection of copy cat “innovations”
    That being said scorpio likely only exists because of that ps4 rumor, and LinkedIn is stupid.

      • Ninjitsu
      • 3 years ago

      To be fair, wasn’t Cortana a response to Siri?

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      I wonder if Sony is pulling a second round of letting Microsoft play their hand first. Microsoft went and outright gave hard specs for them to target, and it’s not in production for another half year at least. Maybe they had a plan B specification for this.

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      Fair enough, given Apple’s history of mocking competitors for copying features from Apple.

      But almost everything Apple announced either makes the products better or does no harm. Given the low bar set by Microsoft with every other version of Windows inciting rebellion, I’d say that’s a big win.

        • sweatshopking
        • 3 years ago

        I don’t disagree. My point is that the days of innovation seem over.

          • blastdoor
          • 3 years ago

          I guess it depends on where you set the bar for what counts as “innovation.” No single feature that I’ve read about in APFS is “new” in the sense that it has never been thought of or implemented by any other person in the history of the universe. But it is “new” in the sense that Apple is rolling their own file system with many modern features and it will improve Apple products. The same is true for just about everything else that they are doing here.

          The same could also be said for the iPhone. It wasn’t the first phone, wasn’t the first phone that could do e-mail, wasn’t the first device to use a touchscreen, etc.

          But sometimes combining existing ideas in new combinations has tremendous value. Sometimes implementing an existing feature in a product that lacked it (but had many other great features) is very valuable.

          Some innovations are big, some are small. The sum of a lot of small things can sometimes be big. I think that’s what’s going on here.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            That’s a low bar for innovation. Saying adding something already designed, implemented, and used, to a different product is innovation. It isn’t. Nothing here is iphone level changing. It isn’t even iphone 4 level innovation. It’s just them adding similar features to the competition later.

            • adisor19
            • 3 years ago

            It was hard upvoting you.

            If the next iPhone has no killer feature, I expect 10% sales drop compared to last year.

            Adi

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            Any killer features will be an edge style display or camera gimmicks, etc. They wont be doing anything new.

    • Krogoth
    • 3 years ago

    I blame hipsters for the new product name. MacOS would be too mainstream and straightforward.

      • CuttinHobo
      • 3 years ago

      How did the hipster burn his mouth?




      He drank his coffee [i<]before[/i<] it was cool. (•_•) ( •_•)>⌐■-■ (⌐■_■)

        • Krogoth
        • 3 years ago

        [url<]https://youtu.be/6YMPAH67f4o[/url<]

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        YEEEEAAAAHHHH!

    • jihadjoe
    • 3 years ago

    So in the spirit of DOS can we start abbreviating this as MOS?

      • Ninjitsu
      • 3 years ago

      And confuse the hell out of electrical engineers 😀

    • BillyBuerger
    • 3 years ago

    A tab API that all applications can use? Good idea Apple. Microsoft seems to fight tabs in some places (Explorer) and when they do use tabs, they like to do it different every time. Such as Excel and Access which both suck. Not that I’ll be using the Apple Tab API anytime soon as I don’t have/use anything apple. But just contrasting how Microsoft doesn’t seem to get what people want. They were forced to put tabs in their browser because every other browser was doing it but then they just stopped there. Explorer + QTTabBar + ClassicExplorer make a much more useful tool.

    • blastdoor
    • 3 years ago

    Overall I think the announcements today are pretty positive. All the new features seem to be inoffensive at worst and potentially genuinely useful in many cases.

    The AFPS “announcement” is particularly cool. It’s very encouraging to know that Apple is hard at work on “real” computer stuff, even if they do keep it kind of quiet. As a pro user, this kind of thing gives me hope for the platform. The reference to the Mac Pro was also nice to see — maybe it will finally be updated sometime before they release a car…

    • anotherengineer
    • 3 years ago

    c’mon

    I wanted mac’n’cheese OS

    😉

      • snowMAN
      • 3 years ago

      And the Mac Pro should be called the Big Mac?

        • CuttinHobo
        • 3 years ago

        Mac Daddy. It includes a complimentary gold chain.

        • jihadjoe
        • 3 years ago

        McOS

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    Regarding dropped support, What does a 2009 Macbook do better than a 2009 Mac Pro? Sometimes I wish Apple would better explain their thought processes behind these decisions.

    There were specific limits before like 32 bit UEFI or 32 bit graphics drivers, but what causes the cull this time? I guess few could complain about a 7 year support life, but considering that Windows 10 will chug along happily on an Athlon XP, if the user is patient enough…

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    The Apple File system is huge for something that just casually tricked out post-keynote. It won’t be ready until 2017 though which is probably why they didn’t make a big deal of it. But I’m so glad, HFS+ can bit-rot in hell.

    Siracusa:
    [url<]https://twitter.com/siracusa/status/742435975079419905[/url<]

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      The file system is the most exciting thing for those of us who actually care about the OS technologically and not as an advertisement mechanism.

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        Absolutely. Especially as most macs are shipping with SSDs these days, when you have storage capable of tens of thousands of IOPS and processors performing tens of billions of operations per second, 1 second sampling was an eternity for instance. NTFS at least tried to stay somewhat modern with 100ns timestamps for example, and other such modernizations, though it’s not particularly new either (’93).

        • blastdoor
        • 3 years ago

        I think it’s kind of ironic that since Apple dropped the “Computer” from its name, it’s actually done more hard core “computer” R&D than ever before. APFS is just the latest example, following things like LLVM, Swift, and the A# chips.

          • Kretschmer
          • 3 years ago

          Yeah, but their computer hardware is rarely refreshed. E.g. the Mac Mini – not updated since 2014 or the Mac “Pro” – not updated since 2013.

            • tipoo
            • 3 years ago

            The appropriate processors for the Pro were only released recently I think. The Mini, yah, that’s on them. They also added a metal plate at the bottom to bar upgrades for no reason, not like it got smaller.

            • blastdoor
            • 3 years ago

            I think the 2013 Mac Pro was Ivy Bridge. Apple could have refreshed with Haswell but skipped it. Now they could refresh with Broadwell, but so far nothing. Will they refresh with Skylake? I dunno.

            But there’s more to refreshing the Mac Pro than the processor. There’s also GPU and the version of thunderbolt included. And I would like to see a dual CPU, single GPU option. So I don’t think we can blame Intel for this.

            • tipoo
            • 3 years ago

            Yeah, not sure why they skipped Haswell EP. Though Broadwell Xeons only are a recent-ish development that they could have moved to. Skylake Xeons in this class are probably still a while out.

            [url<]http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/03/intels-new-broadwell-xeon-server-cpus-offer-up-to-22-cores-per-socket/[/url<]

            • blastdoor
            • 3 years ago

            The iMac and the laptops are refreshed more frequently.

            But I agree that I would like to see those other two lines refreshed more often.

      • tootercomputer
      • 3 years ago

      Hmm. Let’s see what the new file system looks like once it’s completed. Remember the new MS file system that was supposed to rolll out with Vista?

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        On the other hand, remember Vista?

        I had to, too easy. I actually had no issues with Vista.

          • adisor19
          • 3 years ago

          You must have had 16GB RAM and an SSD.

          Adi

            • tipoo
            • 3 years ago

            4GB and a HDD. Studio 1555 that shipped with it. I guess it was a bit after the initial driver craziness and everyone shipping it with 1 or 2GB RAM. Not saying it was great, just never had a showstopper on it either.

    • xeridea
    • 3 years ago

    I suspect the reason for the change is because they ran out of cats.

      • End User
      • 3 years ago

      That was three years ago with OS X Mavericks.

        • xeridea
        • 3 years ago

        Ya I remembered that shortly after I posted but I was away from computer.

        • alloyD
        • 3 years ago

        Always thought they should have followed Mavericks with Icemans.

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    I currently us MacID to unlock my various Macs with my phone/watch. MacID just got sherlocked.

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    Thank heavens. I no longer have to cringe whenever someone pronounced it OS ex instead of OS 10.

      • xeridea
      • 3 years ago

      I almost always pronounced it like that. To be fair though, it is written “OS X”

        • biffzinker
        • 3 years ago

        Even though it was written as “Mac OS X” who hasn’t ran into or heard of Roman numerals?
        [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals<]Roman numerals @ Wikipedia[/url<]

          • sweatshopking
          • 3 years ago

          Im aware it is os 10, but your average person isn’t. Expecting them to assume roman numerals is silly.

          • Wirko
          • 3 years ago

          So, Mac OS X = thousand ack owe arse ten? Sounds like magic words to summon some RDF down here.

        • Saribro
        • 3 years ago

        “The ‘X’ makes it sound cool.” (Bender B. Rodriguez)

      • BlackStar
      • 3 years ago

      Then you must cringe a lot. I’ve never heard *anyone* pronounce it “os ten”.

        • End User
        • 3 years ago

        It has been an absolute nightmare.

        It was made worse when they dropped the Mac and just kept OS X. Everybody kept calling it Mac OS “ex”. Absolutely horrifying.

      • DrDominodog51
      • 3 years ago

      I always pronounce it OS ex due to the UNIX tradition. And I know it is supposed to be a Roman numeral too.

    • WhatMeWorry
    • 3 years ago

    In another three years it will be known as the Ma operating System.

    • bthylafh
    • 3 years ago

    The lowercase M is going to bother the hell out of me.

      • superjawes
      • 3 years ago

      Glad I’m not the only one.

      • MarkG509
      • 3 years ago

      camelCase

      Edit: the 1 hump kind, in this case (pardon the pun).

        • bthylafh
        • 3 years ago

        In a product name it’s unnecessarily twee. One leading lowercase character, okay, but three?

        I’ll die on this hill: it’s MacOS.

          • superjawes
          • 3 years ago

          I could actually forgive “macOS” if they also used “macBook” (or even “imac”). But if you’re going to capitalize “Mac” anywhere, you have to capitalize it everywhere.

          • bthylafh
          • 3 years ago

          Hmm. Now I wonder how those damnfools who insist on referring to Apple’s computers as “MAC”s will capitalize this.

          I know people in IT who call them MACs. People who should know better.

        • DrCR
        • 3 years ago

        Does that make it dromedary case?

          • MarkG509
          • 3 years ago

          They’ve been done with ‘cats’ for a few years, so why not?

      • nico1982
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, it sticks out like a sore thumb…

      • Mr Bill
      • 3 years ago

      Apple does not want anyone to capitalize on their OS?

    • Sargent Duck
    • 3 years ago

    To be fair, a computer from 2009 is 7 years old…

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, at this point if you’re still using a 2009 MacBook (GeForce 9400 graphics, Core 2 Duo processor), you’ve gotten your money’s worth.

        • bthylafh
        • 3 years ago

        It’ll get security updates for another couple years, then after that you should be able to run a modern Linux on it for several more years.

          • DrCR
          • 3 years ago

          I never did have good success with Linux on MBP. It always ran too hot. In fact that was the case for everything but a no-load OSX situation. At this point I shun a laptop with anything other than Intel integrated.

            • davidbowser
            • 3 years ago

            I have the same issue with Linux on Atom processors. The systems only seem to do thermal throttling and not idle throttling.

            • bthylafh
            • 3 years ago

            Seemed OK on my old Macbook 2,1 once it was a few years old and drivers had caught up. Good call on using only Intel GPUs on Linux, though, their drivers are far and away the best on that platform.

            • thor84no
            • 3 years ago

            After installing Ubuntu on a MBP I had the same issue. Turns out you need to install fan management software to make the fans turn on at all. I still have a few issues (brightness buttons don’t work, Ubuntu doesn’t deal well with switching between high DPI display and normal external displays), but for the most part it’s fine.

            • slowriot
            • 3 years ago

            Bigger issue is the MacBook chassis. People are still pretending like all aluminum for something you touch is a good idea…. Linux (or Windows) not running with all the optimizations just makes it stand out more.

        • blastdoor
        • 3 years ago

        I’m still using my 2009 Mac Pro. I’ve been holding out for a more appealing Mac Pro upgrade than what came out in 2013. I guess I’ll have to start considering options. I certainly don’t need to have the latest OS, but I probably don’t want to be more than a year out of date, so come fall 2017 I’ll have to bite a bullet.

          • the
          • 3 years ago

          Yet the 2010 Mac Pro, which is virtually identical, is officially supported.

            • blastdoor
            • 3 years ago

            Is there a bluetooth difference? The bluetooth in the 2009 Mac Pro was broken (at least in mine). (I have a bluetooth USB dongle to make things work).

            I wonder if Apple has just reached a point with Sierra where too many features just won’t work on the 2009 Mac Pro because they require bluetooth (all the continuity stuff, the apple watch unlock). And if too many features don’t work, then what’s the point?

        • pikaporeon
        • 3 years ago

        Got a 2006 Core 2 Duo 2ghz iMac still chuggin along I use as a recording station

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      An Athlon XP tower I had from what, 2001 I think, ran Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 just fine on the other hand. Tossed that one, but a Core Duo (not 2) Yonah (remember Yonah?) Toshiba laptop from 2006 still runs 10 as our always on server.

      Those macs did get a fair bit of life, but I’m curious as to the why now. The previous cull points were 32 bit UEFI and 32 bit graphics drivers – what’s holding them back now? ANd what does a 2009 Macbook do better than a 2009 Mac Pro?

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