Since 2001, Apple Inc. has developed and commercialized macOS, a proprietary graphical operating system. Apple’s Mac computers use it as their primary operating system. It is the second most frequently used desktop OS, behind Microsoft’s Windows NT, in the market for desktop, laptop, and home computers, as well as by online usage.
From 1984 until 1999, macOS was the successor of the old Mac OS, a Macintosh operating system with nine versions. During this period, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs left the business and founded NeXT, which developed the NeXTSTEP platform, which was eventually bought by Apple and used to create macOS.
Mac OS X 10.0, the initial desktop version, was launched in March 2001, with the first upgrade, 10.1, following later that year. UNIX 03 certification is available starting with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and beyond. iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, has long been seen as a subset of macOS.
The usage of the Roman numeral X, pronounced “ten” as in Mac OS X and the iPhone X, was a significant component of macOS’s original brand identification. Apple began naming its products after large cats, a practice that continued until OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Releases have been named after California places since OS X 10.9 Mavericks. In 2012, Apple reduced the name to “OS X,” and subsequently renamed it to “macOS” in 2016, adopting the nomenclature used by Apple for its other operating systems, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. After sixteen different versions of macOS 10, Apple released macOS Big Sur as version 11 in 2020.
Beginning in 1999 with PowerPC-based Macs, macOS has supported three primary CPU architectures. Apple made the switch to Intel architecture in 2006, releasing a range of Macs featuring Intel Core CPUs. Apple launched the Apple silicon shift in 2020, with new Mac computers adopting self-designed, 64-bit ARM-based Apple M1 CPUs.
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