Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs spells out a new strategy for Mac OS

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Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs introduced the world to OS X.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

May11 May 11, 1998: As part of his mission to turn Apple around, Steve Jobs spells out the company’s Mac operating system strategy going forward.

The company will ship Mac OS 8.5 and the first customer release of an OS called Rhapsody that fall, he says at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. The big news, however, is that Apple is hard at work creating a major new operating system called OS X, scheduled to arrive the following year.

Today in Apple history: Apple’s first watch is a freebie for upgraders

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watch
Apple's first watch was... well, just a watch, actually.
Photo: Jonathan Morrison

May 2 May 2, 1995: Apple enters the wearables space with its first watch, a timepiece with no fitness-tracking tech, no on-screen notifications and a whole lot of 1990s styling.

The (real) first Apple watch comes two decades before wearables will become a thing. A regular wristwatch, the freebie gadget is available as a special mail-in offer to System 7.5 upgraders.

Today in Apple history: The seeds of OS X are sown

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nextstep
Look familiar?
Photo: The Color Convergence

Nov25November 25, 1996: Garrett L. Rice, a mid-level manager at NeXT, contacts Apple chief technology officer Ellen Hancock about the possibility of Apple licensing NeXT’s OpenStep operating system.

It’s the first formal step in a process that ultimately ends in Apple buying NeXT, the creation of OS X, and Steve Jobs returning home to the company he co-founded.

Today in Apple history: Apple signs damaging deal with Microsoft

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macvspc_80s
One of the most damaging deals in Apple history.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Nov21November 21, 1985: Following Steve Jobs’ departure, Apple comes close to signing its own death warrant by signing away the rights to the Macintosh’s look and feel.

The deal, between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO John Sculley, comes hot on the hells of the Windows operating system’s initial release. The pact gives Microsoft a “non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, nontransferable license to use [parts of the Mac technology] in present and future software programs, and to license them to and through third parties for use in their software programs.”

Oh, boy!

Today in Apple history: Apple’s ‘unreleased’ Mac OS ships to devs

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luke
Remember Copland? Probably not from using it...
Photo: Apple/Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

17Nov

November 17, 1995: Apple releases the first beta version of its new Copland operating system to around 50 Mac developers.

Not so much a Mac OS update as a totally new operating system, Copland promises to help Apple take on the then-mighty Windows 95, with some ahead-of-its-time features. Sadly, it was never released to the public.

Here’s Mac OS 7.5.5 running on an iPad Air 2

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An iPad Air 2, running Mac OS 7.5.5
An iPad Air 2, running Mac OS 7.5.5
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Since it was first released, people keep asking when the iPad will be able to run OS X, and while iOS keeps on becoming more like OS X with every passing version, you still can’t run Mac apps on your iPad… right?

Not quite. Technically, it’s possible to run Mac apps on your iPad Air 2. But prepare for it to be sloooooooow, and don’t expect El Capitan, Yosemite, or even Snow Leopard compatibility. This technique tops out with Mac OS 7.5.5, which was first released 19 years ago.

Crazy rumor claims Apple’s 12-inch iPad will run iOS and OS X

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How OS X may look on an iPad. Mockup: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
How OS X may look on an iPad. Mockup: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Having the ability to switch from iOS to OS X on your iPad when you need to get real work done sounds like an awesome idea, but Apple’s full desktop operating system isn’t designed to be used with a touchscreen. That’s why a new rumor that claims the upcoming 12-inch iPad will run both platforms is just downright crazy.

Why Steve Jobs replaced the Mac’s  key with ⌘

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Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.42.40 AM

Graphic designer Susan Kare is iconic — literally. The mastermind behind the friendly 32 x 32 and 16 x 16 icons used in the original Mac operating system, Kare’s work has reached more people than almost any other graphic designer on Earth.

Yet the way she stumbled into designing the icons for the Mac operating system was pretty much a lark, and in a recent presentation at the EG conference in California, Kare spoke a little bit about how she stumbled into the job.

It’s a fascinating talk, not just for the details she shares about early Mac operating system development, but also because Kare finally reveals why Apple switched from the Apple symbol to the Command key.