OS X rebranding further marginalizes Mac

The Mac is now officially part of Apple's OSified gadget lineup

Apple Mac OS Finder icon sad, with a black eye

I’ve always loved the Mac.

Let me put that right out there. But Apple’s recent announcement that OS X has gone bye-bye in favor of “macOS” will do nothing for the Mac except accelerate its downward spiral as a fringe hardware product.

apple macbook osx

Even though operating systems are now free of charge across the board -- Linux, OS X/macOS and Windows (for the time being), the “Big Three” share the complexity of numbering suffixes when it comes to their OS names.

These systems are mature. The addition of numbers to denote specific releases and updates is not only appropriate, but helps users better understand what OS they’re using.

No dumbing down required

There are too many different kinds of Macs and subsets of Macs available for purchase. Apple seeks a return to simplicity regarding all of its choices. macOS is part of their simplification strategy moving forward. On the surface it would appear to make sense. If we look beyond that, however, we might see how this strategy could muddy the waters for both would be and current Mac users.

Apple Mac OS X - 15th Anniversary [2001-2016]

OS X has been around since 2001. Everyone who has ever considered, or has, a Mac, recognizes OS X as the Mac’s operating system. I understand that Apple has watchOS, tvOS and iOS in place for their Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPhone, respectively. Attaching “OS” to the end of a product’s name (as an operating system naming convention), is anything but representative of a company serious about simplification.

A disorderly jumble

The Mac is not a gadget like the Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPhone. It is the product that put Apple on the map in the first place. Changing the name of an already entrenched operating system (with a rich history of innovation) is consistent with Apple distancing itself from the Mac altogether.

Apple has operating system names for all of its products and that’s disconcerting. Their habit of throwing “OS” at the end of the name of gadgets they manufacture is not even practiced consistently. If it was, in addition to macOS, watchOS and tvOS, you'd still have iPhone OS, but instead, Apple saw fit to change the name of iPhone OS to iOS upon the introduction of the iPad. iOS is also the name of the OS for the iPod Touch. Perhaps Apple should drop the "i" from iMac as to avoid questions from Mac newbies as to why the iMac doesn't run iOS (instead of OSX, I mean, macOS). But iOS is only for Apple mobile devices that just so happen to begin with 'i", iThink.

Everyone talks about innovation being what Apple is lacking these days. They’re in search of the next killer product. I understand they have a car (iCar?) in development, but this won’t require consumers to know something like “carOS” -- or will it?

What about wearables and their OS naming possibilities? You already have watchOS for Apple Watch. Could “necklaceOS” be far off? What about “earringOS?” “sockOS” anyone?

56f95647b9df2a33144e4a17 Apple

The Apple Macintosh

The Mac deserves better

This is all anything but simple and completely juvenile wrapped up in one. Accordingly, I would suggest that an individual “whateverOS” name for every product Apple has is more simpleton chic than elegant simplicity.

It is embarrassing for the Mac to be lumped in with this lot. It deserves more respect than that.

OS X is no more confusing than Windows 10. Redmond hasn’t changed the name of its flagship operating system to microsoftOS. It’s Windows 10 and I think it’s no coincidence it is the numerical equivalent of OS X. Microsoft was due to attach the number 9 to its Windows operating system, but wisely bypassed this increment.

Ten connotes perfection. Bo Derek wasn’t a 9. Neither is the Mac. But macOS is an appropriate name for an operating system on a once iconic personal computer Apple would prefer fades away.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon