July 22, 1997: Apple unveils Mac OS 8, its next-gen working system. The primary main working system refresh for Macintosh since System 7’s launch in 1991, it’s destined to change into an enormous hit with customers.
Mac OS 8 introduces simpler browsing of the web, a brand new three-dimensional look and different options. It will get nice critiques — however arrives at a really difficult time for Apple.
Mac OS 8 launch
Though everybody associates Steve Jobs’ reign at Apple with OS X, Mac OS 8 was truly the primary new working system to launch after his return to the corporate in 1997. Jobs had little or no to do with Mac OS 8, although, since his predecessor, Gil Amelio, had solely stepped down as Apple CEO a few weeks previous to the working system’s launch.
Mac OS 8 constructed on the work that went into Apple’s doomed Venture Copland, which the corporate introduced in March 1994. Cupertino positioned Copland as a complete rewrite of Mac OS to accompany the introduction of the primary PowerPC Macs.
Venture Copland provides to Mac OS 8
Nonetheless, the software program’s builders regularly missed deadlines. Finally, Apple folded Venture Copland into “System 8,” which grew to become generally known as Mac OS 8. The brand new working system allowed larger ranges of consumer customization for options like system fonts, accent colours and picture desktop backgrounds.
Apple’s different enhancements included new pop-up context menus, spring-loaded folders, dwell scrolling, a built-in internet browser and a multitasking Finder improve.
Mac OS 8: Sneaky title, massive hit
The newly modernized working system grew to become an enormous industrial success.
Retailing for $99, Mac OS 8 got here at an important time for the money-losing Apple. Gross sales exceeded expectations by an element of 4, with 1.2 million copies bought within the first two weeks of availability. This made Mac OS 8 probably the most profitable Apple software program product on the time.
Curiously, probably the most fascinating facet of Mac OS 8 had little or no to do with the software program itself.
As Keith Bosse, a monetary analyst with Robert Cohen & Firm, stated on the time: “Mac OS 8 shouldn’t be the actual story…. This isn’t a expertise drawback. The product itself shouldn’t be the difficulty. [Apple has] a gross sales and advertising drawback. It’s a model mismanagement drawback. The model is being so underutilized at this stage.”
Mac OS 8 title counters the clone Macs
One of many massive issues Apple confronted on the time was the presence of clone Macs.
Many individuals pushed for making Mac OS run on different computer systems within the Nineties. Microsoft efficiently employed such a technique with Home windows. Nonetheless, it labored much less effectively for Apple.
Apple CFO Fred Anderson labored out that the clone Mac technique truly value Cupertino cash. The $50 price Apple acquired for each clone Mac bought didn’t come near recouping the cash misplaced from individuals selecting to purchase third-party computer systems as a substitute of the pricier ones made by Cupertino.
A part of the explanation for calling Apple’s working system improve “Mac OS 8” as a substitute of “System 7.7” was that the settlement with Mac clone-makers solely prolonged to cowl System 7 updates. By naming the replace “Mac OS 8,” Apple might negotiate new phrases with third events licensing the Apple working system.
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