Mac OS X celebrated its birthday on Sunday, becoming one year old. We’ve heard so much about Mac OS X in the past year, it seems like it’s been around much longer than that.
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When OS X was first released there were 350 applications available and commitments from many more companies that applications were on the way. Throughout the year many companies pledged support for the OS, many like Microsoft, Adobe, Mathematica and others, during Steve Jobs’ keynote addresses at Macworld conferences in New York and San Francisco.
The Mac community made it clear early on that for them to switch full time to a new operating system, a couple of key applications needed to be available natively on the platform: Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.
It wasn’t until late in the year when the first major application came to OS X; In late November Microsoft officially released Office v. X. Written natively for Mac OS X, the team at Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) made it clear that moving forward, all development would be for the OS X platform.
In addition to a new Aqua interface, Office v. X came with many advanced features like taking advantage of the Quartz engine in OS X. Microsoft’s Personal Information Manager, Entourage, also received a facelift when it was released for OS X.
Adobe was very quiet throughout the year when it came to its flagship product, Photoshop. The company did work on many of its applications, bringing Illustrator, Acrobat and several others to the new platform. But it wasn’t until February 24, 2002, that the second major application was announced for OS X.
Adobe announced Photoshop with new features like the Healing Brush, the File Browser and of course, a new Aqua interface.
Mac OS X has also offered opportunities for non-Mac developers to make their mark on the Macintosh. Mac OS X’s UNIX underpinnings and its roots in the NeXT operating system have paved the way for developers and publishers that either haven’t been on the Mac before or left the platform a while ago to impress users with new applications that cover the whole gamut of Mac use — from productivity applications to graphics software, games to utilities.
Speaking of games, the Mac game market has come a long way in the past year too. When OS X was first released, native games were a rarity, and often relegated to simple shareware. Now, however, just about every mainstream Mac game publisher supports OS X right out of the box. United Developers subsidiary MacPlay has even gone a step further — at Macworld Expo in San Francisco this past January, the company pledged to support Mac OS X exclusively with all new releases after its current crop of announced titles.
When Mac OS X was first introduced, Steve Jobs likened the timetable for its rollout to a twelve hour clock. When the clock struck twelve, Jobs said, Mac OS X would be the default operating system for the Mac. With each passing event, the “hours” would tick off — each roughly correlating to a month of real time.
During the Macworld Expo event in January, Jobs said the 12 hour clock or 12 month timetable was moving forward from Apple’s original plan, three months early. Since then, Mac OS X has been the default operating system shipping on new systems. So quietly but inexorably, Mac OS X has gone from being a next-generation operating system to the operating system that many of us depend on for our daily work.