Came as a big surprise that Apple announced OS X v10.8 "Mountain Lion" yesterday! It's not even an year post releasing "Lion" (even though they announced Lion in Oct, 2010). This is when I thought I should backtrack a bit on Apple's rather unique OS naming.
Apple's penchant for consistently naming its products after felines dates back to 2001, when they internally codenamed their OS 10.0 as 'Cheetah' in 2001.
Why the code name?
Simple - It's less confusing to remember a name like Lion instead of a number like 10.7, and the fact that these cats look royal and unbeatable!
Here is a chronological look at Apple's big cat (except once!) connection:
2000 - Public Beta (Kodiak)
The codename was that of an animal, but not from the cat family! - Kodiak, a bear found in Alaska.
2001 - Cheetah (10.0)
This remained an internal codename, but the start of the feline naming!
(* internal codename, so no approved Apple images, just the box below)
2001 - Puma (10.1)
This remained an internal codename.
(* internal codename, so no approved Apple images, just a fan boy image below. For your viewing pleasure only)
2002 - Jaguar (10.2)
This remained an internal codename again, but this is when the rage caught on, and Apple considered to take the naming public and do Marketing around it.
(* internal codename, so no approved Apple images, just a box picture. Even that looks grand!)
2003 - Panther (10.3)
The codenames go public. Apple starts marketing around the names.
(*not sure if this one was approved by Steve though, but looks good and the beast looks stunning!)
The OS-CD looked like this:
2004 - Tiger (10.4)
(*Not sure if this is the Steve approved Tiger shot, most probably done by some fan boy, the animal looks ROYAL!)
The OS CD looked like this:
2006 - Leopard (10.5)
(*Again these do not look like a Steve approved Leopards, most probably done by some fan boy, but I liked these wall papers!)
The OS-CD looked like this:
2008 - Snow Leopard (10.6)
Note the transition from Leopard to Snow Leopard. Now I'm getting to the Steve approved cat shots! Yeah, he had a big say in the actual pictures and the shots used - as per Adam Lashinsky's, Inside Apple
The CD looks stunning again!
2010 - Lion (10.7)
It's Lion time! And again the actual Lion used is below!
2012 - Mountain Lion (10.8)
I didn't know an animal called Mountain Lion existed, until I read today morning about this new OS announcement (will do another post about what I like about this Mountain Lion - No! not about the animal.). Also, the image below is Apple approved. Would Steve have approved this before he left?
Leopard in 2006 to Snow Leopard in 2008
Lion in 2011 to Mountain Lion in 2012
What will they call the next one?
How many felines are left? Lynx? Cougar? (both of these had been trademarked earlier, but the TM lapsed)
Apple is super famous and super particular about packaging. Even the boring OS has to be packed up so well! Checkout some of their older packs, from a time when Apple was not kicking real ass: