To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of OS X, we thought we’d share a simplified version of the story detailing its humble birth. The story of OS X is as intriguing as it is remarkable. Read on for the details.
The groundbreaking computing platform that so many of us love and cherish today (and which formed the basis of iOS) was announced to the public on March 24, 2001. This single product – the Mac OS X platform – helped to drive Apple’s turnaround in the computing market. Before OS X, Apple computers were in a deeply troubling situation of low sales and ever-dropping market share, seemingly having been defeated by the IBM-based PC.
Steve Jobs had been dismissed from Apple as part of an internal power struggle in the company, and left to found his own company, NeXT, continuing his innovations apart from and outside of Apple. In Apple’s fallen state, they took notice of the work that Steve Jobs was doing at his new company – namely creating a Unix-based software platform called NeXTSTEP. Apple, having realized that their platform was woefully outdated, decided to purchase Steve’s company to make use of his innovations.
It was at this time that Steve Jobs became intimately involved in OS X. Jobs and his team adapted his software to work with Apple’s hardware solutions, and in March of 2001, they unveiled the culmination of their labor – the first version of OS X.
The software’s launch was so successful that it drove Apple’s computer systems in an entirely new direction, and resulted in Jobs famously being declared the CEO of Apple, which arguable has led to the iconic, cult-like status that Apple and Steve Jobs have to this day.
Steve Jobs work on OS X may have been the ultimate salvation of Apple’s computer hardware (along with the natural pairing of the Mac and the original iPod being so natural, fluid, and intuitive), and cemented both Steve’s role in the company, as well as a new chapter in the life of a once-dying company, which has now grown to become a giant of the modern world.
For a much more detailed account of the creation of OS X, beyond the simple back story, I encourage you to check out CultofMac’s extremely thorough, well-written, and superbly thought-out article on the topic, which they have excerpted in part from Inside Steve’s Brain: Expanded Edition.