Today in Apple history: A phone call sows the seeds of OS X

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Look familiar? NeXT's OpenStep operating system laid the groundwork for OS X.
Look familiar?
Photo: The Color Convergence

Nov 25: Today in Apple history: The seeds of OS X are sown with NeXT OpenStep November 25, 1996: A midlevel manager at NeXT contacts Apple about the possibility of Cupertino licensing NeXT’s OpenStep operating system.

Garrett L. Rice’s communication with Ellen Hancock, Apple’s chief technology officer, is the first formal step in a long process. It ultimately leads to Apple buying NeXT, the creation of OS X, and Steve Jobs returning home to the company he co-founded.

Today in Apple history: After a horrible quarter, Gil Amelio gets the boot

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
This was the end of Amelio's 500 days running Apple.
Photo: Apple

July 6: Today in Apple history: After a horrible quarter, Apple CEO Gil Amelio is fired July 6, 1997: Following a massive quarterly loss for Apple, board member Edgar S. Woolard Jr. calls CEO Gil Amelio and informs him that he needs to step down. “You’ve done a lot to help the company, but the sales haven’t rebounded,” Woolard says.

Steve Jobs denies being responsible for Amelio’s ouster. However, the move results in him becoming Apple CEO for the first time. Now it’s time for a real turnaround!

Today in Apple history: Yosemite brings a visual overhaul to OS X

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Screen_Shot_2014-06-02_at_18-2
Yosemite more strongly visually resembled iOS than previous versions of OS X.
Photo: Apple

Jun2 June 2, 2014: Apple shows off OS X 10.10 Yosemite for the first time at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Following the Jony Ive-redesigned iOS 7, Yosemite boasts an aesthetic change that brings Apple’s desktop computers closer than ever to the look of the company’s mobile software.

Named after Yosemite National Park, the update follows the previous year’s Mavericks as the second Mac operating system named after a famous California landmark.

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

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Why Salesforce chief gave up AppStore.com for Apple
Steve Jobs introduced the world to OS X.
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

May 11: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs spells out a new strategy for Mac OS May 11, 1998: As part of his mission to turn Apple around, Steve Jobs spells out the company’s strategy for the Mac operating system 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.

Front and Center makes the Mac Finder behave like it should

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Front and Center screenshot
The window 'manager' you never knew you wanted.
Photo: John Siracusa

If you’re at your Mac, go ahead and click a window for another app (don’t forget to come back right away). Clicking an app’s window brings it to the foreground, of course. But did you notice that only the window you clicked came forward. If that other app has any other windows open, they will stay hidden. It wasn’t always this way. In pre-OS X days, the default behavior was to bring all those windows to the front. And now, thanks to a new app called Front and Center, from John Siracusa, you can get this behavior on a modern Mac.

The Mac mini is back and better than ever

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Apple Mac mini 2018
Save on the new Mac mini while you still can.
Photo: Apple

After being forgotten for four years, the Mac mini is back with an upgrade that was well worth waiting for.

Apple’s most affordable desktop, which is still small enough to stick anywhere, is vastly more powerful than it’s ever been before. You now get quad-core processors as standard, significantly faster graphics, all the memory you can shake at stick at, and so much more.

It also comes in gorgeous space gray.

Today in Apple history: OS 9 is ‘classic Mac’ operating system’s last stand

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Mac OS 9
Mac OS 9 brought welcome new features.
Photo: Developers-Club

October 23: Today in Apple history: OS 9 is 'classic Mac' operating system's last stand October 23, 1999: Apple releases Mac OS 9, the last version of the classic Mac operating system before the company will make the leap to OS X a couple years later.

It does not veer far from OS 8 in terms of look and feel. However, OS 9 adds a few nifty features that make it well worth the upgrade.

Today in Apple history: NeXT customers get early taste of OS X

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NeXTstep
NeXTStep was an operating system ahead of its time.
Image: NeXT

September 18: Today in Apple history: NeXTStep gives NeXT customers an early taste of OS X September 18, 1989: Steve Jobs’ company NeXT Inc. ships version 1.0 of NeXTStep, its object-oriented, multitasking operating system.

Incredibly advanced for its time, NeXTStep is described by The New York Times as “Macintosh on steroids.” In an ironic twist, the operating system Jobs plans to use to compete with Cupertino turns out to be one of the things that saves Apple a decade later.