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What is OS X?

Apple's latest operating system, OS X (pronounced O-S ten), is an upgrade from the previous operating system. The new software allows you to use your computer in ways never possible.

With Mac OS X, you can complete all kinds of everyday tasks on your computer—for instance; you can use Mac OS X to browse the Internet, check your email, edit digital photos, listen to music, and play games.

The origins of OS X, the current version of Apple's desktop operating system, stretching back to a platform called NeXTSTEP, which was developed by NeXT, a company founded by Steve Jobs after he left Apple. Although NeXT computers did not sell well, their software gained popularity. OS X and NeXTSTEP are both object-oriented and multitasking operating systems. Jobs took the idea behind his new software model when he returned to Apple in 1996, which eventually acquired NeXT in 1997.

Even though the legacy Mac OS lost its competitive edge and lacked many in-demand features offered by Windows, Apple developed Mac OS X to meet these needs. In addition to major aesthetic upgrades like the Aqua user interface and the Dock, Apple also used Mac OS X to introduce several native applications such as Mail, Address Book, and TextEdit.

Since OS X Cheetah, subsequent releases have primarily maintained the look and feel of the original OS with minor refinements to streamline the user experience. New features have become standard since the first OS X launch, including Safari, Spotlight, Quick Look, multi-touch gestures, and iCloud. When writing this, the latest version is OS X Catalina 10.15.7.


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