macOS, What is it and what’s new?
macOS is the newest name of the Unix-based operating system that runs on Mac hardware, including desktop and laptop models. And although the name is new, the features and capabilities of the Mac operating system have a long history, as you will read here.
Macintosh began his life using an operating system known simply as System, which produced versions ranging from System 1 to System 7. In 1996, the system was renamed Mac OS 8, with the final version, Mac OS 9, released in 1999.
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Apple needed a modern operating system to replace Mac OS 9 and take the Macintosh in the future, if in 2001 Apple released OS X 10.0; Cheetah, as it was affectionately known. OS X was a new operating system, built on a Unix-like kernel, which brought modern preventive multitasking, protected memory and a system which could evolve with the new technology that Apple was considering.
2016, Apple changed the name from OS X to macOS, to better position the operating system name with other Apple products (iOS, watchOS and TVos). If you have questions about macOS history, or when features were added or removed, read the following to go back to 2001, when OS X Cheetah was introduced, and learn what each later version of the operating system brought with it.
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Plan de l'article
- macOS Mojave (10.14.x)
- macOS High Sierra (10.13. x)
- macOS Sierra (10.12.x)
- OS X El Capitan (10.11.x)
- OS X Yosemite (10.10.x)
- OS X Mavericks (10.9.x)
- OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.x)
- OS X Lion (10.7.x)
- OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.x)
- OS X Leopard (10.5.x)
- OS X Tiger (10.5.x)
- OS X Panther (10.3.x)
- OS X Jaguar (10.2.x)
- OS X Puma (10.1.x)
- OS X Cheetah (10.0.x)
macOS Mojave (10.14.x)
Original release date: announced at WWDC on June 4, 2018; currently in beta; expected in late fall 2018
Price: Free download (requires access to the Mac App Store).
macOS Mojave takes its name from a desert in southern California. This is a bit of a start for the names of Mac operating systems, which had previously been inspired by the central mountain range of Sierra Nevada.
Early rumors about Mojave suggested that Apple would focus on security and performance issues, and that we wouldn’t see much new in terms of functionality. As usual, the rumors were good and bad. Mojave brings security and privacy enhancements, as well as some new features:
- Dark Mode: Adds a new system-wide appearance option that changes the current Dock, menu bar, windows and most UI elements on the dark side, or at least a dark gray appearance. It’s nothing new; apps have been using a dark theme for years, and Apple has used a dark theme in its old Aperture Image Library app. There was even a dark interface option in recent versions of macOS, but the effect was limited to the Dock and menu bar. With the new black mode, you can wear darkness throughout the system and most Apple apps. Third Party appscan also use the new user interface, but are not required to do so.
- New Mac App Store: The Mac App Store hasn’t changed much since its introduction with OS X Snow Leopard in 2010. New revisions to the store are inspired by the iOS App Store, which was revised in 2017. The new store offers easier to use categories designed to match how you use your Mac, a special discovery tool to find hidden apps and conservation collections collected by Apple publishers to help you in workflows of any kind, including games. i
- OS Apps: Four popular iOS apps are transitioning to macOS: News, Actions, Home, and Voice Memos. It was said that macOS would be able to run iOS apps, but that’s not what happens here. These apps have been recompiled, using new macOS APIs, to serve as a showcase for developers who might want to redesign an iOS app for Mac. This is a start, and it can point to some of the most popular iOS apps that will make their way to the Mac in the future.
- Dynamic Desktops: Desktops can now change their appearance depending on the time of day. The default images of Mojave’s sand dunes use the Dynamic Desktop feature to display sunrise on the dunes, the shadows that follow the sun during the day, and sunset and darkening sky in the evening. Desktop stacks have been part of the dock for a long time; now they have made their way to the desktop, where they can be used to automatically unclutter your desktop by classifying files by type, date, labels and miscellaneous metadata such as project and client names.
- Dekstop stacks : Have always been part of the dock for a long time, but since they have made their way to the desktop where they can be used to unclutter your desktop by organizing files by type, tag, dates and different items by metadata such as client or project names.
- Finder: The Finder receives some improvements, including a new metadata pane to view the details of a file, quick actions that allow you to work on a file without opening it in an application, and Gallery View, which allows you to browse file previews to find the one that you want you are looking for.
- Safari Privacy: Enhanced Tracking Protection built into Safari prevents the creation of fingerprints from users that are used to track your browsing the web. In addition, Intelligent Tracking Prevention prevents the use of social media such as buttons, Share buttons, and comment widgets to track you as well. Explicit permission is also required for any application that wants to use the message history or email database.
- Personal Privacy : Access to your image (camera) or voice (microphone) must be explicitly granted to any application wishing to use these devices. Explicit permission is also required for any application wishing to use message history or digital database.
macOS High Sierra (10.13. x)
Original release date: September 25, 2017
Price: Free download (requires access to the Mac App Store).
macOS Sierra’s main objective is to improve the performance and stability of the macOS platform. But this did not prevent Apple from adding new features and improvements to the operating system.
- APFS: The Apple File System (APFS) is actually not new; it was first included in macOS Sierra. What makes its inclusion in macOS High Sierra an important feature is that now the APFS file system is the default file system; before that it was just available as an alternative. Although APFS is now the standard, you can still use the old HFS file system if you need it.
- HEVC: High Efficiency Video Encoding (HEVC) is a new compression standard that provides better compression than H.264, the standard used in previous macOS.
- Metal 2: This new graphics technology provides Mac developers with direct access to Mac graphics processing units. Eliminating the need to use intermediate programming layers to control graphics should allow developers to dramatically improve the performance of graphic-intensive applications. Metal 2 also allows GPUs to be used for accelerated machine learning, opening new possibilities for programmers and their applications. And if your current graphics card isn’t up, Metal 2 supports external graphics cards connected via Thunderbolt 3.
- Safari: Safari, the default web browser, sees the introduction of new technology, including intelligent tracking prevention to protect privacy and allow you to customize how privacy is applied in general and site by site. In addition, Safari allows you to block the automatic playback of videos, which is an excellent complementary feature to its current ability to block the automatic playback of audio files.
- Photos : Gets a number of new tools, including a persistent sidebar, editing live photos, and a new memory category to organize your images. Facial recognition has also been improved, new filters and editing tools for Curves and Selective Color.
macOS Sierra (10.12.x)
Original Release Date: September 20, 2016
Price: Free download (requires access to the Mac App Store)
macOS Sierra was the first operating the macOS series. The main purpose of changing the name from OS X to macOS was to unite the family of Apple operating systems into a single naming convention: iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and now macOS. In addition to the name change, macOS Sierra has brought with it a number of new features and updates to existing Siri services: Siri may be old news for iOS users, but this is the first time that Siri has honoured the Mac. The smart assistant is available from the Dock and menu bar, as well as a keyboard shortcut. With some work on the part of the user, Siri can also respond directly to voice commands without having to invoke the Siri app first.
- APFS: Apple has included an overview of the new Apple file system as part of macOS Sierra. APFS was not enabled by default, and there was no other application other than Terminal that could be used to interact with the new file system. As a result, few Mac users knew that a new modern file system was available at their fingertips
- Night Shift: Night Shift was added to macOS Sierra with version 10.12.4. It mimics the iOS function that allows the screen to increase the blue light as the evening progresses. The increase in blue light, as well as the corresponding reduction in yellow light, is supposed to help sleep.
- Optimized Storage: This new macOS feature allows you to use smaller drives while having access to a large amount of data. In conjunction with iCloud Drive, optimized storage can move some of your on-premises data to the cloud, allowing you to free up space on your disk. The moved data still seems locally present, but when you need it, it is extracted from your iCloud Drive drive.
- Tabs Everywhere: Applications that include support for multiple windows benefit from the advantage that these windows are available from a tab-bar generated by the operating system.
- Disk Utility: A disk utility, this venerable application regains the ability to create and manage RAID arrays, a feature lost in OS X El Capitan.
OS X El Capitan (10.11.x)
Original Release Date: September 30, 2015
Price: Download free (requires access to the Mac App Store)
The latest version of the Mac operating system to use the OS X BOM, El Capitan has seen a number of improvements, as well as the removal of some features, causing an outcry among many users.
- Split View: The Mac supports full-screen applications from OS X Lion, but Split View mode has brought new possibilities to
- Multi-Touch Gestures: While the operating system supports multi-touch gestures since the introduction of Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, El Capitan has directly supported gestures from various applications, including Mail and Messages.
- Maps: The Maps app added transit information to regional maps. The initial support was limited to large metropolitan centres, but additional transit maps were added with subsequent updates.
- Disk Utility: Disk Utility saw a major overhaul of the user interface, resulting in the loss of many features, including the ability to create and support RAID tables.
- Spotlight: The Spotlight search engine has seen the addition of weather, stock, news and sports results as searchable items.
- System Integrity Protection: SIP (System Integrity Protection) was a new security feature built into the operating system. With SIP, most system files and processes could not be modified by other applications or systems, even if the user had root access. SIP is very effective to prevent system tampering, by malware or accident.
OS X Yosemite (10.10.x)
Original Release Date: October 16, 2014
Price: Free download (requires access to the Mac App Store)
OS X Yosemite led with him a major overhaul of the user interface. While the basic functions of the interface remained the same, the look was new, replacing the philosophy of squeuomorphic elements of the original Mac, which used design benchmarks reflecting the actual function of an element, with a flat graphic design that mimics the user interface seen in iOS devices. Lucida Grande, the system’s default font, has been replaced by Helvetica Neue, and the Dock lost its appearance as a 3D glass shelf, replaced by a translucent 2D rectangle.
- Continuity and transfer : Yosemite includes the ability for the operating system to integrate with iOS 8 or newer devices. With Handoff, a service that used Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi, users could use their Mac to make or answer phone calls through their iPhone, as well as to establish access points, allowing their Mac to connect to their iPhone data plan. Continuity used the same technology to allow users to work in an app on a device, such as an iPad, and then pick up where they stopped in the equivalent app on their Mac.
- Notifications Center: The Notification Center has added a new view today that displays current updates, such as weather, inventory, and calendar events.
- Pictures: Yosemite 10.10.3 saw iPhotos and Aperture replaced by the new Photos image management application. The original implementation of Photos lacked many iPhotos or Aperture features that users had come to rely on, and was considered a step back by many. Over time, new versions of Photos have responded to many users’ concerns.
- Dark Mode: A new system preference that has darkened the menu bar and the Dock in line with the trend in many applications to use dark backgrounds.
OS X Mavericks (10.9.x)
Original Release Date: October 22, 2013
Price: Free download (requires access to Mac App awning)
OS X Mavericks marked the end of the designation of the operating system after the big cats; instead Apple used Californian place names. Mavericks refers to one of the largest big wave surfing competitions held every year off the California coast, near Pillar Point, outside the town of Half Moon Bay.
Changes in Mavericks focused on reducing power consumption and extending battery life:
- Timer coalescing: This technique reduced CPU utilization by synchronizing tasks. This allowed the system unit to always have tasks to perform when it is awake, and allowed the system unit to stay standby for longer periods of time. The final result was a faster overall performance of tasks and reduced battery usage due to longer CPU sleep times.
- App Nap: Before App Nap, some apps worked but did not perform any useful activity; for example, waiting for user input could keep processors active, wasting energy and generating heat for no real gain. App Nap could put individual applications to sleep when they were not active, or if their windows and dialogs were hidden by other on-screen applications: Mavericks saw the introduction of a new memory management system that prevented disks from paging and better use the available memory. The final effect was that compressed memory increased application performance by making better use of space RAM FILE. It also had the side effect of requiring smaller amounts of RAM to perform tasks, so a Mac with a small amount of RAM installed works as if it had more than it actually did.
- iCloud Keychain: Allows users to securely store passwords, username, and other credentials in iCloud, and then use the information on any of their Apple devices.
- Maps: Maps app was introduced on Mac, mimicking the Maps app available on iOS devices.
- Finder: The Finder added a tabbed user interface, as well as a new marking system to organize files.
OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.x)
Original Release Date : July 25, 2012
Price: Free download (requires access to the Mac App Store)
The latest version of the operating system that bears the name of a great feline, OS X Mountain Lion, has continued to bring together many Mac and iOS functions. To facilitate the grouping of applications, Mountain Lion renamed Address Book to Contacts, iCal to Calendar, and replaced iChat with Messages. With the application name changes, the new versions have gained an easier system to synchronize data between Apple devices.
- Notifications Center: New with Mountain Lion, the Notification Center has provided a unified method of receiving and organizing alerts issued by web applications and services.
- Notes: Formerly part of Mail, Notes was broken down into its own separate application, which corresponded to the implementation of Notes in iOS. Notes were synced across all Apple devices of a user.
- Messages: The new Messages app replaced the popular iChat app which was the default instant messaging app for previous generations of OS X. Messages supported Apple’s iMessage protocol used in iOS devices, as well as XMPP (Jabber), AIM (AOL) Instant Messaging) and OSCAR, as well as connections to Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk.
- Game Center: Another new app that makes the crossover of iOS, Game Center allows you to play against other Game Center players, track scores and achievements, and follow a leaderboard for each game.
- AirPlay Mirroring: This new feature used to display your screen content on an Apple TV device on your local network.
OS X Lion (10.7.x)
Original Release Date: July 20, 2011
Price: Free download (requires OS X Snow Leopard to access the Mac App Store)
Lion was the first version of the Mac operating system available for download from the Mac App Store, and required a Mac with a 64-bit Intel processor. This requirement meant that some of the first Intel Macs that used 32-bit Intel processors could not be upgraded to OS X Lion. In addition, Lion abandoned the support of Rosetta, an emulation layer that was part of early versions of OS X. Rosetta allowed applications written for PowerPC Macs (non-Intel) to run on Macs that used Intel processors.
OS X Lion was also the first version of the Mac operating system to include elements of iOS; convergence between OS X and iOS began with this release. One of Lion’s objectives was to start creating uniformity between the two operating systems, so that a user could switch from one operating system to another without the need for real training. To facilitate this, a number of new features and applications have been added that mimic the operation of the iOS interface.
- Launchpad: This new app launcher looked like and worked like the app launcher in iOS. Because Launchpad is a application, it did not replace the existing Dock or Applications folder; instead, it simply offered another method to start applications.
- Scroll Bars: iOS uses a technique called natural scrolling, and OS X Lion has integrated it as the default scrolling method. For many Mac users, the result was very confusing, as the direction of scrolling was reversed. Fortunately, the system preferences allowed you to select the method you wanted to use. In addition to natural scrolling, scroll bars also became invisible when they were not in use. This can also be changed in the system preferences.
- Automatic Backup and Versions: New with OS X Lion, automatic backup enabled applications to automatically save documents as you worked on them; versions gave you access to past revisions of a document.
- Random Address Space Layout: This security technique assigns system and application data to randomly selected locations in memory. This can help prevent malware from targeting a location known to inject into an application or service.
- File Vault 2: Updating the File Vault can provide full disk encryption instead of simply encrypting user space.
OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.x)
Original Release Date: August 28, 2010
Price: €22.81 for single user, €38.54 Family Pack (5 users) available on CD/DVD
Snow Leopard was the latest version of OS offered on physical media (DVD). It is also the oldest version of the Mac operating system that you can still purchase directly from the Apple Store ($21.99).
Snow Leopard is considered the latest native Mac operating system. After Snow Leopard, the operating system began incorporating pieces of iOS to bring a more uniform platform to Apple’s mobile (iPhone) and desktop (Mac) systems.
Snow Leopard is a 64-bit operating system, but it was also the latest version of the OS that supported 32-bit processors, such as Intel Core Solo and Core Duo lines that were used on the first Intel Macs. Snow Leopard was also the latest version of OS X that can use a Rosetta emulator to run applications written for PowerPC Macs.
- Mac App Store: Snow Leopard was the first version of the operating system to integrate the Mac App Store to purchase, download, install and update Mac applications, including Mac operating system. The Mac App Store was added with version 10.6.6. 6.6.
- Finder: The Finder has been completely rewritten in Cocoa to help improve overall performance and take advantage of the new technology built into the operating system.
- Multi-Touch Support: Snow Leopard was the first version of the OS that included full support for native multi-touch. Earlier versions of Macs equipped with multi-touch trackpads were limited by the number of supported multi-touch gestures.
- OS Footprint: Snow Leopard’s footprint has been reduced to less than 7 GB of disk space
- AppleTalk : A The first network protocol used by Apple that is no longer supported.
- Boot Camp: Boot Camp has acquired the ability to read and copy files from HFS volumes.
OS X Leopard (10.5.x)
Original Release Date: October 26, 2007
Price: 90€ for single user and 139€ family pack (5 users): available on CD/DVD
Leopard was a major update to Tiger, the previous version of OS X. According to Apple, it contained more than 300 changes and enhancements. The launch of OS X Leopard was late, as it was originally scheduled for late 2006. The cause of the delay would have been that Apple was diverting its resources to the iPhone, which was first shown to the public in January 2007, and went on sale in June
- Time Machine: One of the major novelties of Leopard has was the first inclusion of Time Machine, a revolutionary backup application, easy to set up and use, and even easier to find and restore individual files when needed.
- Boot Camp: Although users have already had fun with the means to run Windows on Intel hardware on Mac, Boot Camp was the first official method approved and even encouraged by Apple. Boot Camp provided tools to partition a Mac’s boot disk to include a Windows volume, as well as the drivers needed to enable Windows to work with Mac hardware.
- Spaces: Allows the creation of virtual desktops, each containing applications and windows used for specific tasks. You could create a space to work with emails and web browsing, another for games and a third for productivity applications. You were limited only by the number of “places” you could find.
- Quick Look: An integrated service that allows you to quickly view documents without having to launch the applications that created them: Leopard has included a number of minor user interface changes, including a 3D dock and a transparent menu bar. The original multicolored Apple icon in the menu bar has been replaced by an entirely black version.
- Application Signing: Leopard was the first version of the Mac operating system that used public key signature to ensure that applications were not tampered with, or that updates were the same application and not malware disguised as one.
OS X Tiger (10.5.x)
Original release date : 29 April 2005
Price: €100 for a single user; 154€ family pack (5 users); available on CD/DVD
OS X Tiger was the version of the operating system used when the first Intel Macs came out. The original version of Tiger supported only older PowerPC Macs; a special version of Tiger (10.4.4) was included with Intel Macs. This led to some confusion among users, many of whom tried to reinstall Tiger on their Intel iMacs only to find the original version that did not load. Similarly, PowerPC users who bought discounted versions of Tiger on the Internet discovered that what they really got was the specific version of Intel that had been bundled with someone’s Mac.
The Great Tiger Confusion was not clarified until OS X Leopard was released; it included universal binaries that could run on PowerPC or Intel Macs.
- Rosetta: This translation layer that was included with later versions of OS X Tiger allows applications written for PowerPC processors to run on Intel Macs.
- Spotlight: This basic search technology first appeared in Tiger, allowing Spotlight to be used to search for all types of documents on the Mac. Spotlight also introduced the concept of “Smart Folders”, special folders whose content was always updated based on search filters created by the user. This allowed users to create smart folders that would contain, for example, all the documents they worked on the previous week.
- iChat AV: This addition to the iChat messaging system allowed up to four people to participate in videoconferencing.
- Automator: This scripting tool allowed users to connect applications and services residing on their Mac, allowing them to create complex workflow automation with an easy-to-understand GUI.
- 64-bit User Space: Tiger supports both 32-bit and 64-bit processors. In addition, Tiger could support 64-bit user address space, thereby increasing the amount of memory that could be directly addressed.
OS X Panther (10.3.x)
Original Release Date: October 24, 2003
Price: 109€ for a single user; 169€ family pack (5 users); available on CD/DVD
Panther continues the tradition of OS X versions offering notable performance improvements. Panther also marked the first time that OS X began to abandon support for older Mac models, including the Beige G3 and the Wall Street PowerBook G3. The models that were dropped were all using the Macintosh toolbox ROM on the logic board. The toolbox ROM contained code used to run some primitive processes that were used on the classic Mac architecture. More importantly, The ROM was used to control the boot process, a function that under Panther was now controlled by Open Firmware.
- Finder: The Finder uses a new brushed metal interface that includes a new user-customizable sidebar. Additionally, the Finder includes direct support for zipped and unpacked files.
- Fast user switching: This feature allowed a user to stay logged in while another user logged in and took control of the Mac.
- Exposed: A window manager that allowed all open windows to be displayed as thumbnails, allowing the user to quickly switch between them.
OS X Jaguar (10.2.x)
Original Release Date: August 23, 2002
Price : 133€ for a single user; 205€ family pack (5 users); available on CD/DVD
Jaguar was one of my favorite versions of OS X, although this may be mainly due to the fact that Steve Jobs pronounced the name during his introduction: jag-u-waarrr. It was also the first version of OS X where the chat name was officially used. Before Jaguar, the names of the cats were known to the public, but Apple always referred to them in its publications by the version number. OS X Jaguar included a significant performance gain compared to the previous version. This is understandable, because the OS X operating system was still being developed by the developers. Jaguar also saw remarkable improvements in graphics performance, mainly because it included finely tuned drivers for new series of ATI and NVIDIA graphics cards based on AGP.
- MPEG-4: Support for the MPEG-4 standard has been integrated with Jaguar via QuickTime.
- Address Book: This was the first appearance of Address Bookfor to store contact information.
- iTunes: Although iTunes was available for Mac before, it was the first version of OS X that included the iTunes application
- Inkwell: Inkwell provided recognition of native handwriting. This technology was originally developed for the Newton operating system and Newton’s short-lived personal digital assistant
- Appointment: This networking protocol allowed devices on a local network to discover other devices themselves, making the Networking mainly a plug-and-play process.
- Journaling: The HFS file system has been updated with logging support. Journaling increases file system reliability, and added data recovery features.
- Universal Access: This feature has brought specialized access systems to the Mac to allow easier use by people with different types of physical disabilities.
- CUPS: OS X’s printing subsystem has been upgraded to support Common Unix Printing System (CUPS). This allowed Mac users to choose additional printers, as readily available drivers could be used instead of custom drivers designed for the Mac.
- SMB (Samba) : Jaguar supported Samba, a open source server that could work with Microsoft’s SMB network system. This made it easy to install and use file and printer sharing between Macs and Windows PCs.
- Happy Mac: Jaguar marked the end of Happy Mac, a stylized home screen showing a smiling face. In his place, Jaguar used a gray version of the Apple logo.
OS X Puma (10.1.x)
Original Release Date: September 25, 2001
Price: €140; free update for Cheetah users; available on CD/DVD
Puma was considered primarily a bug fix for the original OS X Cheetah that had preceded it. Puma also recorded slight increases in performance. Perhaps the most revealing was that the original version of Puma was not the default operating system for Macintosh computers; instead, the Mac booted on Mac OS 9.x. Users could upgrade to OS X Puma, if they wanted. It was only on OS X 10.1.2 that Apple set Puma as the default operating system for new Macs.
- Better CD and DVD support: Finder and iTunes included direct support for CDs and DVDs; DVDs could be played in Apple’s DVD player app
- Additional printer drivers: Apple claims that OS X Puma has more than 200 printer drivers. Despite this, printing was still a problem with the new OS X, as few printer manufacturers supported this operating system.
- New OpenGL drivers: New OpenGL drivers have improved graphics performance, especially for 3D used in user interface and applications.
- ColorSync: ColorSync brought color management to OS X, allowing users to refine the color seen on screens and printed documents.
- Image Capture: This standalone utility has been added to Puma to allow images to be downloaded from digital cameras and scanners to Mac without requiring a specialized application from third-party manufacturers.
OS X Cheetah (10.0.x)
Original Release Date: March 24, 2001
Price: 146€; available on CD/DVD
Cheetah was the first official version of OS X, although an earlier public beta version of OS X was available. OS X was quite a change from Mac OS that preceded Cheetah. It was a whole new system operating system completely separate from the old operating system that fed the original Macintosh.
OS X was built on a Unix-like kernel composed of code developed by Apple, NextStep, BSD, and Mach. The kernel (technically a hybrid kernel) used Mach 3 and various BSD elements, including the network stack and the file system. Combined with the code of NextStep (owned by Apple) and Apple, the operating system was known as Darwin, and was released as open source software under the Apple Public Source License.
The higher levels of the operating system, including the Cocoa and Carbon frameworks used by Apple developers to build applications and services, remained a closed source. Cheetah had some problems when it was released, including a tendency to produce a panic nucleus in a twist. It seems that most of the issues came from the memory management system which was brand new to Darwin and OS X Cheetah. Other new features found in Cheetah include:
- The Dock: The Dock is an application launcher that was presented as a tape on the bottom or sides of the screen. Icons representing applications and documents can be placed (anchored) in the Dock, making them easy to access and launch
- Terminal: The Terminal application provided access to the Darwin operating system using a standard CLI. Until Terminal, Mac OS was one of the few operating systems that did not have a command-line interface.
- Mail: OS X comes with a built-in email client.
- Preemptive Multitasking : While Mac OS was capable of multitasking, it was using a cooperative system, each application’s tasks demanding and hopefully being granted system resource usage. Preemptive multitasking ensures access to the system when needed.
- Aqua UI: The new UI was called Aqua. When deploying Cheetah, Steve Jobs mentioned the three buttons at the top of most windows, claiming that they had spent a lot of time making them so beautiful that they were “lickable”
- PDF Support: Applications are capable of generating PDF files using printing services integrated with OS X.
- Quartz: Originally, Apple had considered using Display PostScript to drive OS X display graphics; the idea was based on how NextStep used Display PostScript in its products. Instead, Apple has developed its own display rendering technology known as Quartz, which uses PostScript to cache graphics in intermediate windows as templates rendered in PDF format.
- AppleScript: OS X included the AppleScript scripting language that had been included with the Mac since System 7 (Mac OS).
- Sherlock : A search system to find data residing on the Mac or the Web.
- Protected Memory : Applications are assigned memory segments that prevent an application that corrupts its own memory location from being able to cascading to other memory locations used by other applications and services system.