Apple uses cat names to represent versions of OS X. It is important to know both the cat name and the version number of OS X that you are using. Sometimes you will hear or read the cat name, and sometimes the version number. So knowing which ones match which is important.



Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s take a look at Mac OS X Cat Names.

If you have a new Mac you may know that you have Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion. Some people refer to it by just the cat name, Mountain Lion. Other’s refer to it by just its number, 10.8. They are one and the same thing.

Now it is important if you have a Mac to be able to identify your operating system and also know the cat name and the number. So no matter which way you hear it you know if they are referring to your version or an older one or a newer one.

If you go can choose Apple and About This Mac you will get a window like this that identifies your operating system by the numbers. In this case 10.8. It won’t tell you that it is Mountain Lion. The name isn’t used here.

But if we go to the Mac AppStore you will see that it is used. It is called OS X Mountain Lion. Its used as the name, not the number. So it is important to know that they are one and the same thing.

So let’s look at the history of the cat names. Of course we are at Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Before that we had Lion and before that was Snow Leopard. It is important not to read too much into the names because each version of Mac OS X is very different than the previous one. It is a full version different.

For instance between 10.6 and 10.5 you had Leopard and Snow Leopard. But they are very different versions. There was a big leap between the two of them. So there is really no relation because they have a similar name like Leopard and Snow Leopard or Lion and Mountain Lion. There is no relation between the versions and any indication of how big the jump is.

Now before Leopard we had Tiger and before that was Panther and before that was Mac OS X 10.2 which was Jaguar. This was the first time that Apple actually used the tiger name. Originally the tiger names were just these names that the software developers used inside of Apple. They weren’t something that was used outside. But they became so popular in the press that Apple decided to go with them as part of their marketing.

So before Jaguar there was Puma, but Puma was never actually used as a name for Mac OS X at all. Actually the original version of Mac OS X was Cheetah and that was also something that was just used internally. As a matter of fact the version before Cheetah, the beta version of Mac OS X was known as Kodiak referring to a bear, not a tiger.

It is also interesting to note that Apple has already repeated cats because of course some of these names refer to the same animal. For instance a puma, cougar and mountain lion are technically the same animal and a leopard and a panther are technically as well. It is also important to note that tiger names are kind of weird. For instance leopard and snow leopard are not related.

If you really want to know more you can go to Wikipedia’s page on big cats and there you can see how all of the different big cats are related. For instance tigers, lions and jaguars are all under the same genus but cheetahs have their own and snow leopards have their own whereas cougars are technically pumas.

We don’t yet know what Mac OS 10.9 will use as a name. It could use another repeated name like cougar which technically is the same as mountain lion or it could go and recycle one of the earlier names that wasn’t officially used, say like cheetah. Or Apple could just completely get away from the cat names and use something completely different.

Hope you found this interesting. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.


10 Responses to “MacMost Now 862: Mac OS X Cat Names”

  1. John says:

    Just found your website and tutorials. Great job! Now I don’t have to do what I’ve been thinking of doing because you’re doing it for me. I’ve told everyone in my Mac user group (Prescott Mac User Group – pmug.us) and I hope they tune it.

  2. Ofay Cat says:

    I have a MacBook and a 21 inch Mac desktop both with Snow Leopard. They both run so well and with solis state HDs, they are lightening fast. After about two years of use, they are trouble free. Why would I bother to upgrade?

    • An answer would be: new features. For instance, I don’t know how I would ever go back to Snow Leopard now that I am used to things like iCloud, Versions, Reminders, Notifications Center, etc. A second answer would be: using new software. New versions of software and brand new apps will come out that are not compatible with older versions of OS X.

  3. Mr Anthony Cotton says:

    I find the Cat names are irrelative,and I would stick to the what version it is, has it says on about this Mac. It does not mention a cat name there,so it can`t be that important.
    The only thing why Apple has a picture of a Cat,because it`s eye catching,and has you have shown in your video all the different types of Cats gets people to go and see them.
    I would also point out it`s a good sales gimmick,and I give them credit for that.

  4. Jake says:

    catamount is another name for a mountain lion

  5. dave says:

    Not useful to me; very useful to those who are joining MAC community.
    I”m running version “something.” Stay updated. It’s painless. STAY BACKED UP with Time Machine. You will thank yourself when the inevitable hardware foible bites you!

  6. solak says:

    I’m hoping for Mac OSX 10.9, “Grumpy Cat”, though “Henri, le chat noir” would be acceptable. It’s probably too late for “Keyboard Cat”.

  7. bill says:

    Maybe a good cat name for OSX 10.9.x would be “SabreTooth”, denoting it is the strongest most powerful Mac OSX yet. Just IMHO…

  8. Colin Mitchell says:

    Is there a list of the Mac OSX version numbers corresponding to the appropriate cat. For example: OSX 10.9 – Cheshire. When you’re trying to figure out what version you have and some says “Oh Jaguar or Snow Leopard” it has no relevence to the actual numbers of the OS. It’s a good marketing move but very frustrating when you just want to figure out what the next/previous OS version is.

    Thank you

    Colin

    • That’s why I created this video. Or, look at the list on Wikipedia.
      Cat names will end with OS X 10.8, as 10.9 is named after a California landmark (Mavericks).

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