It’s been a long path to Mac OS X. Take a look at the evolution of the Macintosh operating system.
Apple released System 1.0 in 1984.
System 2.0 was released in 1985.
System 3.0 came on the scene in 1986.
Apple released System 4.0 in 1987 (see a pattern here?).
In mid-1989, System 6.0 was unveiled. No, you didn’t miss something. There was no System 5.0. It’s the missing link of Mac operating systems.
Two years later (1991), Apple released System 7.0.
In March 1994, Apple began talking about Copland, its “first” next generation OS. Later that year, System 7.5 arrived.
August 1995: Apple Senior Vice President David Nagel tells the Macworld Expo crowd that Copland will be in Mac owners’ hands by mid-1996. In November, a beta version of Copland went out to developers.
In late 1996, Apple put a bullet in Copland’s head. A new next generation operating system strategy was promised “soon.” In late 1996 (December, to be precise), Apple bought NeXT Software, the company Steve Jobs started after leaving Apple, for US$425 million. (Some wags would later say that Apple paid NeXT that amount for the smaller company to assimilate the larger.)
The following month, Apple trumpeted plans for Rhapsody, its new next generation operating system that would feature a UNIX core. In mid-1997, version 8.0 of the traditional Mac operating system (now using the moniker Mac OS rather than System) arrived, touting some of the features of the R.I.P. Copland project.
At the 1998 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), then-interim CEO Steve Jobs announced a revised Mac OS strategy and promises that Mac OS X, with pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection, would ship in fall 1999. Depending on your point of view, Rhapsody was either killed or evolved into Mac OS X.
In 1998, Mac OS 8.5 came on the scene.
Early in 1999, Mac OS X Server was released. It had many components of Rhapsody.
In January 2000 Jobs, now CEO again, said Mac OS X would go beta in the spring and be released in the summer. But at May’s WWDC, the CEO revised this strategy and said that OS X would ship as a public beta in late summer, with a final release in January 2001. In September, the public beta did actually arrive.
In January 2001, Apple pushed back the release date of the “golden master” version of OS X until spring.
Which brings us to today…