The first fonts of the Macintosh

Filed under: People,Software

During the summer of 1983, after spending more than six months creating symbols and icons for Macintosh files and menus, designer Susan Kare‘s attention turned to an issue she very much cared about: fonts.

Apple Macintosh Commercial - Susan Kare

At the time, on most personal computers, each letter was allotted the same space regardless of its shape. Thanks to its bitmap high resolution display (and Steve Jobs’ obsession with calligraphy) the Macintosh was capable of rendering proportional fonts, “leaving behind the tyranny of monospace alphabets with their narrow m’s and wide i’s” as Kare recalls.

The tireless engineer Bill Atkinson had already given two fonts to the Macintosh, a calligraphic one and a placeholder one, the latter converted from Xerox’s Smalltalk systems that inspired Apple.

xeroxfonts-byte081981pag120

Free from the requirement of making digital versions of print, scalable or already existing fonts, Kare focused on optimizing screen readability creating new bitmap fonts in specific sizes, controlling every single pixel as she was wont to do. (more…)

Tuesday 24 February 2015, 2:30 pm
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Mac OS 9: still alive and kicking after 15 years

Filed under: Did you know that...

Apple introduced Mac OS 9, the last edition of the “classic” Mac OS line, in 1999 and buried it less than three years after in May 2002, at its WWDC (WorldWide Developer Conference).

During the WWDC keynote, Steve Jobs officiated a mock ceremony where he actually buried a giant box of Mac OS 9 in a coffin after a humorous and a bit irriverent funeral oration, complete with organ accompaniment.

And yet, despite its official sendoff, the “old” OS has refused to rest “in the great bit bucket in the sky” where the iCEO so hastily put it.

Mac OS 9 has not only been the main OS for quite a few years during the early and immature phase of Mac OS X’ existence, but there are users stubbornly and happily using it right now, in 2014. They are still making the most of it on supported Macs and some have even successfully hacked unsupported models harnessing all of the power of the PowerPC chips.

You see, at the time of Mac OS 9’s “death” Apple not only put all of its resources behind the newer OS, but also made it impossible to natively run the OS on its new Macintoshes, relegating it to the emulated Classic environment. Starting from 2003 Apple introduced new Mac which could only boot in Mac OS X. In 2004 this forced “transition” was a reality, also thanks to the fourth major release of OS X, Panther, which cut support for older Macs such as beige G3s and the “Wall Street” PowerBook G3s. (more…)

Thursday 15 January 2015, 4:00 pm
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The Mac OS Anthology

Introduced on the stage by Steve Jobs during the May 1999 WWDC Keynote, the “Mac OS Anthology” was a collection of many Mac OS operating systems to aid (registered) third party developers in testing their software for compatibility.

The first Mac OS Anthology boxsetIt was presented originally in the form of a boxset of 4 DVDs which included all of the releases of the Macintosh operating systems since System 7 ’til the current one which at the time was Mac OS 8.5.

The DVDs were chosen for their archival capacity and featured all of the international localizations of the systems, up to 25 languages.

According to Applefritter the back of the first four DVDs reads:

Worldwide System Software for Developers
1999 Edition
From System 7 to Mac OS 8.5 and beyond
This DVD-ROM set is the first DVD offering from the Apple Developer Connection. The DVD format was selected because it delivers so much useful data on one convenient and easy-to-use medium. This collection is designed to assist you in extending your product’s reach into international markets and environments.

A disc from the Mac OS AnthologyFrom an archived copy of the Apple website we also know the sale price: 199 USD, and just 149 for those ADC members who ordered a copy before May 14. In 2000 the price was discounted to just 99 dollars.

Volumes 5 and 6 were devoted to Mac OS 8.6, just introduced at the aforementioned 1999 WWDC so the contents of the DVDs, which by the way are not bootable, at the end of the year became as follows:

Disc 1: 7.0, 7.0.1, 7.1, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.5, 7.5.3, 7.5.5 Update, 7.6.1, OS 8.0
— Disc 2: OS 8 (continued), OS 8.1
— Disc 3: OS 8.1 (continued)
— Disc 4: OS 8.1 (continued), OS 8.5, OS 8.5.1
— Disc 5: OS 8.6
— Disc 6: OS 8.6 (continued)

The two Mac OS Anthology boxsetsLater, in February of 2000 Apple offered to ADC developers two more volumes for Mac OS 9 (in 15 languages) collecting the other four in a new, second boxset labeled “2000 edition”.

After that, in 2001, the Mac OS Anthology again grew to include two more DVDs. These were to be the last additions, featuring Mac OS 9.0.4, 9.1 and the first Mac OS X and brought the grand total to 10 discs.

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Images taken from the Apple website and from www.junewon.com

Saturday 02 April 2011, 7:54 am
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It’s just OS X

Filed under: Software

At the World Wide Developer Conference of 2008 Apple made a small but significant move in the naming of its operating systems, removing the “Mac” prefix from Mac OS X. In its promotional material at the annual developers’ gathering Apple referred to the iPhone’s OS as “OS X iPhone” and to Mac OS X 10.5 as “OS X Leopard”.

The change was pretty much evident if one took a look at pictures of WWDC banners from 2006 and 2007

WWDC 2006 bannerWWDC 2007 banner

and compared them to the new 2008 ones featuring both the Mac and iPhone operating systems

WWDC 2008 - Ground Floor and Registration

This was clearly done to unify the branding since the OS was now running on a wide gamut of devices that included not only desktops and portables but also mobiles and the Apple TV set-top.

The change was also evident in a press release in May referring to the Developers’ Conference.

Altough the title “Apple Executives to Showcase Mac OS X Leopard and OS X iPhone Development Platforms at WWDC 2008 Keynote” still featured a distinction in the following text one could read

This year’s WWDC will showcase two revolutionary development platforms, the ground-breaking innovations of OS X Leopard® and OS X iPhone™, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system.

and also

WWDC 2008 will offer over 150 information-rich sessions and labs where Apple engineers will go in-depth on the innovative technologies that power OS X iPhone and OS X Leopard.

On the other hand the footer stating that:

Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications.

had been already Mac-less at least since the 7th July of 2004.

Sunday 13 December 2009, 8:57 am
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The other new features of Mac OS 9

The most touted feature of Mac OS 9 was the new Sherlock 2 but there were lots of other new features, mostly related to the development and coming of the NeXT generation operating system, Mac OS X.

Mac OS 9 had multiple users, Voiceprint password, Keychain, automatic updating, encryption, Internet File Sharing, Internet AppleScript, and Network Browser. Many of these were direct equivalents of Mac OS X features which were concurrently developed or even backported.

The reason was of course to make the Mac OS more powerful and more modern but also to ease the transition to OS X, which at the time was believed to start in less than an year

Image taken from Toastytech.com

Monday 26 October 2009, 6:53 am
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