Apple OS X may become macOS at WWDC 2016
Hold on to your hats: the rumour that OS X is going to get a change of name in June may not be a mere rumour after all. Following a report back in April by 9to5Mac, where the company accidentally posted a reference to “MacOS” on its own website, Apple has made yet another slip-up.
This time, Apple’s been caught out on one of its developer FAQ pages where it referenced “iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS”. The big difference this time around is that “macOS” now mimics the lower-case style of Apple’s other existing operating systems.
The page has since been edited to replace all mentions of “macOS” with “OS X”, but although MacRumors’ Juli Clover sensibly suggests that this gaffe could simply could be a human error, the fact that it’s the second such error on Apple’s website only bolsters the likelihood of an impending name change at WWDC 2016.
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What’s in a name? Mac OS, macOS, OS X and Mac OS X
Anyone old enough to remember the pre-OS X era will know that this will be the second time Apple has used the “MacOS” brand. The company rebranded its operating system from “System 7” when it launched the programme of Mac clones in 1996, eventually becoming “Mac OS X” before finally shifting to “OS X” in 2012.
From the perspective of consistency, the rebrand would make a lot of sense. Apple currently has four operating systems, all based on OS X code, but named differently: iOS, used in the iPhone and iPad; watchOS, for the Apple Watch; tvOS, for Apple TV; and OS X, used on the Mac. OS X is the only one that doesn’t feature the name of the device.
However, there remains the simple possibility of an error by the copywriter involved – perhaps they’re old enough to remember the pre-OS X era – and this was initially given added weight because of the capitalisation of “MacOS”. As this second slip-up is styled consistently with the names of the other operating systems in Apple’s portfolio, there’s a stronger argument for an imminent rebrand being on the cards.
But maybe we’re all reading to much into these minor hiccups. One glaring question is whether a copywriter for an environmental web page at Apple would be aware of a significant change in branding months ahead of time. Apple is a company that prides itself on its ability to keep things secret and operates on a “need to know” basis about its research, marketing plans and so on. Unless the change is happening in the next few weeks, it’s unlikely that copywriters would have been briefed on the modification yet.