Should OS X 10.11 be Apple’s last Mac operating system?

“Microsoft’s Jerry Nixon raised eyebrows at the company’s Ignite conference recently. He said that Windows 10 ‘is the last version of Windows,'” Peter Cohen writes for iMore. “Microsoft may be on to something, and I’m wondering how well it would work for the Mac when it comes to OS X 10.11.”

“Nixon doesn’t mean that Microsoft has any plans to cancel Windows or do something else radical with it. Instead, he’s talking about Microsoft’s plans to evolve Windows as a service, rather than as a monolithic operating system update,” Cohen writes. “While Mac users have adopted new OS X releases in large numbers, there certainly have been some growing pains… like unreliable Continuity features, trouble with new networking technology, and more.”

Cohen writes, “An incremental, iterative approach might give Apple an opportunity to introduce new technology more gradually.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple should do whatever leads to more solid, easier-to-use, and more secure operating systems.

As we wrote back in January:

Frankly, we don’t need a new Mac or iPhone/iPad operating system every year and Apple Inc. doesn’t need it, either. Annual OS releases shouldn’t be mandated. What we all really need, customers and Apple Inc., are operating systems that are rock solid and do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. Why not just add new features/services to existing OSes with continued point releases that refine and extend the experiences and services you want to deliver?


  1. Developers need stability. Otherwise, each month is a moving target.

    Moving targets lead to fragmentation.

    Operating systems should not be like Firefox where there are hundreds of builds.

    1. An OS like the Mac OS should never work in the Cloud instead. security and performance would be compromised significantzly!
      One of the core issues with Cloud Services is, the performance can never ever get even close to something like “compete with” hardwired tranferrates.
      the future cannot be unified or standardized.
      this idea seems to be overcome forever.
      we know, the future of our planet needs to follow the laws of nature in order to survive.

      and nature provides diversity everywhere.
      there is no good reason to shift the desktop OS to a Cloud (like google tries), imo…
      but there is a good reason this guy works at microdings
      and not for the badboldrich hippiecrowd (evolutionizing, as far as i concern).

    2. Total agreement. As a lone developer, trying to keep up with all the changes these last few years has been difficult and running hard to keep abreast of all the SDK changes / language changes (Swift) and OS changes at a time when not all of the changes actually worked correctly – and then using developer tools that are / have been extremely buggy has been downright (& frustrating) hard work.

      None of this is good for any of us. What we all need is to see Apple ONLY releasing software that has been tested thouroughly by real people so that when they release Apps to the App Store they are welcomed with quality ratings.

      Apple should lead the way on their own shop window but all too frequently these days Apple’s own output is voted down by users that see bugs often within minutes of opening the application. Look at the ratings for OS X Server & Xcode – they have been really poor at times. How can Apple sit in judgement of other devs when their own software hasn’t been tested properly?!

      Technical book authors backing up Apple software now see release dates constantly pushed further along than they had bargained for in order to accommodate change but we still end up with books that are outdated as soon as they are taken out of the packaging. A shining example is Fritz Anderson’s excellent Xcode Unleashed series – the Xcode 6 book is almost about to be delivered – if we get Xcode 7 following WWDC15 in June then this book may largely become redundant pretty quickly – this is just such a waste of time and money for all concerned.

      ‘It just works’ is therefore no longer true in a lot of cases. Please Apple – SLOW DOWN! For all our sakes – quality trumps speed.

  2. No, unless you feel that all Mac development is going to stop. There will always be new hardware and software to support and new features to add. I do however feel they need to stop the yearly updates and keep working on an OS until all the bugs are out. Remember Snow Leopard? It was pretty buggy when it first came out and took almost 2 years to get to the final version that everybody considers so good and stable. Rushing operating systems to keep to a schedule is a very, very bad idea.

    1. Snow Leopard is still my favorite OS. Yes there are new features I like in the new ones that are useful but SL just had a great feel to it, and just a very productive friendly OS, and still had the colored folders. I’m secretly happy that one of my Macs is so old it can’t update past SL.

      1. My old 17″ MBP is on Snow Leopard forever, and it’s a wonderful machine. I had to fire up my old beige G3 tower (to scan some slides with my old SCSI scanner) and 10.2 (whatever it’s nickname was) still looks really pretty to me. I guess that goes to show what I know about design!

        1. 10.2 Jaguar was truly the first great version of OS X. Major growing pains in 10.0 and 10.1. Then slight bloat until 10.6 Snow Leopard in 2009, and huge bloat ever since.

  3. If Microsoft is planning to evolve Windoze as a service it’s only to gauge customers/suckers even more.

    With all the different flavors of Windoze selecting their service will be like taking a plane trip, first class, business class economy, flying on one wing, in the cargo hold, Drinks will be free but you have to pay $69.95 for the glass.

  4. Not that I have any complaints, since I have none of the issues people keep complaining about, but Apple had to roll out major stuff over the last few releases. Such as airplay

    1. Oops pressed “Post Button” too soon.

      …….airplay, iCloud, handoff etc. Generally bringing mobile and desktop OS’s closer together. That kind of innovation doesn’t happen overnight. In another words, what Apple is trying to do is very very complex, while all others are JUST providing you a ‘hard disc in the sky’ and pretending that they are doing the same thing as Apple.

      1. Most of the crap that Apple has added to OS X should have been offered at the application level. There is no reason whatsoever that they had to force major OS upgrades to enable new functions on Macs. Especially when many of those new features were half-baked.

        OS X has been uglified and bloated since Snow Leopard, not improved.

  5. Frankly, we don’t need a new Mac or iPhone/iPad operating system every year and Apple Inc. doesn’t need it, either. Annual OS releases shouldn’t be mandated. What we all really need, customers and Apple Inc., are operating systems that are rock solid and do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. Why not just add new features/services to existing OSes with continued point releases that refine and extend the experiences and services you want to deliver?(Macdailynews’ take)

    Yeah, that works for me. I agree.Back in Jan. you say. You said it well then too.

    1. Yes, even though there are many smart people out there developing new technology, Apple should stop building a platform for them to showcase it on. Apple users need to be held back from the future and leave it to Google and Microsoft to lead the way. No more developers. Right?

      With any headline that poses a question with a yes or no answer, the answer is ALWAYS A STRONG NO!

    2. With each fundamental change in the hardware to be supported by Mac OS X there must be a fundamental change in some of the core pieces of the OS. This is just a fact. Apple will NOT BE ABLE to do simple, minor tweaks to Mac OS 10.10 to support a new Skylake / Thuderbolt 3 based Pro system. Going from Haswell to Broadwell was not a major change, going to Skylake will be.

      When Apple makes major hardware shifts, it requires a major change to Mac OS X’s core and services.

      I agree with everyone that the next version of Mac OS X must be a maintenance version that radically increases the stability and robustness of the OS, but it must also lay the groundwork for Skylake/Cannonlake as well as Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1. (And for those of you who think Thunderbolt 3 is worthless, the shift from TB 2 to TB 3 will be nothing like the shift from TB 1 to TB 2. TB 3 will add several new capabilities and REAL increase in speed.)

  6. Software companies seem to be all moving toward a subscription approach to their software. You see it in Adobe apps as well as Microsoft. With subscription software you no longer need a major update to bring in a new flood on money from consumers. Instead you sit on your ass at corporate headquarters and watch the monthly subscription money roll in.

    The ironic thing is that with mature software like Photoshop, Windows, and Office the subscription route is probably most appropriate. Great improvements to these software products are scarce so instead the developers scramble the interface and then sell it as a new version for full price.

    Because Apple is a hardware company and not a pure software company it needs to follow a different model. Probably a mix of continuing updates and major version changes on a longer cycle time makes the most sense. That’s pretty much the approach Apple has taken with it Work applications.

    1. However, Microsoft and Adobe both charge for their subscription service… which is great for them, but a poor experience for the user. If your company is willing to pay hundreds of dollars annually for your access to Microsoft and Adobe products, that is their decision. However, as a home user I find it unreasonable to ‘rent’ software. Once you give corporations the ability to revoke your access to their operating system or their software, then you and your creations are forever at their mercy. Corporate avarice and greed have no boundaries.

      I like Apples model… once you have purchased their hardware, you have free access to their essential software. I could be out in the mountains (without internet access) and still use Mac OS X. I could be in a post apocalyptic world (where no-one has internet access) and my system could still be made to work. Or I could own a thousand Mac’s at my company and never have to pay for Operating System upgrades. I like Apples model… I like it a lot.

      1. I agree. However, I don’t believe you have to go with a post apocalyptic world to get hard examples why, for the end user, subscription software (whether OS or App) is very bad.

        Sure, Adobe’s file formats from CS6 to CC did not change. If you own a stand alone copy of CS6 and stop paying for CC you can open those documents in CS6. However, Adobe **WILL** change the file format at some point. They will eventually add one or more features to one or all of the applications to CC and then in order to access those files created or updated in CC you MUST keep paying the subscription fee. At that point CC becomes nothing less than “Hostageware”.

        Then what about those organizations that do work where the machines *CANNOT* be connected to the Internet. You don’t have to work for a defense contractor or a spy agency for this to happen. Many companies have small LANs that are air gapped from the rest of the world in order to 100% protect sensitive projects. What about those? In 100% of the cases of subscription software I’ve researched so far the software “phones home” every so often to make sure the subscription is still active. When the software can’t phone home it either shuts down (or won’t launch) or it becomes “crippleware” allowing the user access to an extremely small subset of the application’s capabilities.

        And for those who think that subscription software or OSes will get you a steadier flow of updates: Get Real! Do you really believe Microsoft is going to do updates any more often than they already do? Do you really believe Apple is going to do updates to new hardware and functions more often than they do now? It’s not going to happen. It’s just not.

        In my opinion, there is absolutely no case where subscription software or OSes are a benefit to the end user.

  7. Unless OS X plays MUCH nicer with iOS real soon, they should fire the whole lot of the OS X team. If there’s a backwards, convoluted way of doing something the Mac OS team will go along way out of their way to do it that way. iOS=easy. OS X =hard. With the huge increase of computing power, OS X should be powerful, fast and easy. It will never amount to an enterprise OS in its current state. They seem to even be obvious to how powerful and easy a simple thing like a right click with context menu is!

    1. Maybe the OSes should be significantly different. After all, Apple has to make iOS dumbed down to work with a finger on a relatively tiny screen. And to help sell iCloud server space, Apple intentionally makes iOS file management a PIA.

      On the other hand, OS X should be highly sophisticated to run absolutely anything — peripherals, expansion cards, all kinds of intel software, you name it. As it gets dumbed down to look and act like iOS, users are finding its usability degrading. Apple needs to ignore iOS and upgrade OS X by listening to the needs of its power users, small businesses, creative professionals, etc. Merging the GUI teams has been the absolute worst thing to happen to the Mac.

  8. People are idiots. Technology doubles in power nearly every year. Anyone who thinks tomorrow’s technology will be anything like today is ignorant and should be working at McDonald’s where they belong, at least until robots and AI take over their jobs. Maybe then they can still be the custodians clean the robots.

    1. Amen.

      Between memristor and optics on chips, it is likely true that there will be fundamental changes in the OS and software as a result of these advances, when they arrive in some years down the road.

      Then we will need some fundamental changes in the way the OS and Apps can work.

    2. You are the idiot.

      What good is a more powerful vehicle each year, if it’s broken down on the side of the road.

      Even McDonald’s is smart enough to know if you come out with a new burger, you don’t *uck with the overall operations of the delivery system because of it.

      1. And we also don’t need a doubling in the number of buttons, fields, options, menu items, and settings each year. There is an ever increasing number of functions that I don’t use or even know what they do, and you can’t hide any of them. Silly.

        1. Some functions actually lost buttons/fields and, consequently, are more difficult to use. Take, for example, the file search utility in the Finder. Now, because the “File Name” button does not appear, you have to wait for a pop-up menu. If you miss it, you have to fiddle around to get it back up (e.g. type more letters). If you want to append letters to your file name string, you have to retype the whole thing; you can’t just add letters.

          Who at Apple thought this was an improvement? It only got worse.

  9. I like having new releases that freshen the experience. I might suggest that Apple does with its software what it has done with its hardware, however. Think iPhone where there is a fully new number (such as iPhone 5) followed a year later by the “s” version (the 5s) . . . The second release is always better than the first and a bit more refined. So what I’m saying is that every other OS release ought to be feature rich followed by a year of tightening the code before doing more features. By the sounds of it, that’s what is happening with this next release and a good thing!

  10. Revisions to the OS will undoubtedly be necessary to accommodate new hardware, applications and technology. But Apple should stop mindless tweaking of the interface and removing useful and desirable features, as it apparently did with Yosemite. I agree with all those who say that Snow Leopard was the most usable and stable version of the Mac OS. For now, I’m sticking with Mavericks, which works well enough.

    1. Indeed Mavericks works well enough but that’s about the best you could say about it. It certainly does not work as well, as fast or as smoothly as Snow Leopard.

  11. ‘Why not just add new features/services to existing OSes with continued point releases that refine and extend the experiences and services you want to deliver?’

    Sounds familiar thats what Apple said and did when they cancelled their big replacement for OS9 (Pink?). And then Steve returned and the rest is History. Lets hope this doesn’t presage the return of John Sculley.

  12. no I think they should move on to XI though. Mac os is long over due a major overhaul. it looks a lot more behind the times when compared to what’s coming in Windows interface wise. I know Mac os is very solid but its getting rather long in the tooth

    1. There’s a lot more to the Mac OS than how it appears. It remains an incredible engine. Adhering to industry standards and principles, I think, it what really matters. When OS X earned UNIX certification, then it really caught the attention of many people that would otherwise not even look at a Mac.

  13. Both OS X and several of the iWork and iLife apps should steps backwards or sideways that were uncomfortable for many of us. Maybe it was a necessary evil? I just hope those growing pains for Apple are now over, and they can return to a path of refinement instead of radical replacement.

    1. Coolfactor, I believe that what many perceived as a ‘step backwards’ was actually a necessity. While many companies are now providing SAAS (Software as a Service), these SAAS packages need to have reliable, high-speed internet connections to work (as well as the latest browsers).

      Apple could have gone this route with their iLife and iWork apps and abandon the stand-alone apps. But thankfully they did not. Instead they took a ‘temporary’ step back to make both the standalone and online versions of their software compatible with each other.

      Some people have prophesized a future where there are no operating systems, only browsers. And in their future all data and applications live in ‘The Cloud’. Also in that future you will pay by the byte to use the software and access your data. While their are many advantages to such a future, there are also many disadvantages.

      Apple has taken efforts to provide us with choice. And that, I believe, is a good thing.

      1. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree.

        What was frustrating about the Page 5.x release was that they stopped selling the older Pages. In our company, we had Pages ’09 as a key part of our workflow, and as soon as we purchased a new Mac, which came with Pages 5, we were suddenly faced with a situation where this brand new Mac could not integrate with our workflow, at all.

        One missing feature — linked text boxes. Without that feature, we were not able to do the weekly publication that is our company’s main product — on a brand new Mac.

        The frustration — complete silence from Apple, despite repeated attempts to get an explanation or timeline for this one missing feature to be restored.

        Dropping features, combined with discontinuing the older versions of the software, was a big black eye for Apple in many discussion forums.

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