Apple Might Turn OS X Into MacOS

Illustration for article titled Apple Might Turn OS X Into MacOS

Before there was OS X, there was Mac OS. It’s a name with a ton of history and meaning, and if this slip-up in an Apple document is anything to go by, the company is heading back to its roots.


9to5Mac spotted a reference to “MacOS” in an Apple document about environmental policies. It’s since been changed to OS X, but an archived version of the page is still viewable. The change would also match up with a reference to MacOS in developer documentation seen last month.

A couple typos is far from conclusive, but rebranding OS X to MacOS would make a ton of sense going forwards. Apple’s other operating systems are all named the same way: iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. MacOS brings consistency to branding, if nothing else.

It’s also somewhat symbolic of the slow but sure integration of Apple’s different software operating systems. The long-rumored merger of iOS and OS X is still nowhere near, but features like universal search, app springboards and cross-device syncing have brought the two operating systems slowly but surely closer. The rumored announcement of Siri for Macbooks in June would only strengthen that relationship.

Obviously, there’s no timeline for the naming change, but WWDC, where Apple traditionally announces big software updates, takes place in early June. But the real question remains: is this a simple name change, or an omen of a wholesale revamp of Apple’s desktop OS? Let the speculation begin.


Contributing Editor



A short history of the name of Apple’s UNIX-based operating system:

2001~2012: Mac OS X

2012~2016: OS X

2016 ~ : MacOS

15 years ago, Steve Jobs played a very long odd and declared the original Mac OS (originally called System, and later called Classic) dead and gave developers a deadline to switch to the new UNIX architecture or be left behind. Smart move. OS X has aged pretty well because the OS in use now is in almost no way similar to the OS that launched. It does seem to be getting a little long in the tooth though, and still carries front end and back end baggage that dates back to the invention of the PC.

iOS (originally called iPhone OS, and simply “OS X” when it was announced) was a fork of Mac OS X from 2007. On the original iPhones, iOS was literally the desktop OS that was stripped of almost everything down to its core and a new, light user interface built on top of it. One that focused on touch rather than input devices, like a keyboard and mouse. It too has been slowly yet radically altered over time to be nothing like it was when it was first released. iOS and MacOS are still based on the same core code but they very different OSes now. iOS has slowly but surely gained features and abilities of its desktop counterpart, but without all the old code or any of its old problems.

I think that the future of desktop Macs lies in returning iOS to the desktop, bringing that super-light build to “truck”-grade hardware and fleshing it out again as needed. It would be much, MUCH easier for developers to port OS X code to the iOS framework than it was for them to port highly-proprietary Classic Mac OS code to Mac OS X. Most of them cheesed it and just ran their old code in emulation until Apple turned that off as well.

Sometimes tells me that more than just the name is being changed here. We have no idea what version 10.12 is going to do or look like. In lieu of an actual codebase change or overhaul, I think MacOS represents a direction change in how the operating system is built from here on out.

Should be exciting.