Paradigm shift: The NeXT era ends, the Swift era begins

WWDC 2019
WWDC 2019: Mind-blowing!

Brent Simmons for inessential:

I’m surely not the only person to think, all week long, that this WWDC marks the end of Apple’s NeXT era and the beginning of the Swift era…

The NeXT era began, of course, when Apple acquired NeXT, with its Unix-based operating system, amazing developer tools and frameworks, and its CEO, Steve Jobs.

Though I don’t discount Catalyst’s usefulness — we will get lots of apps new to the Mac — the real news this week was about SwiftUI and the Combine framework. This, finally, is a new way of writing apps, and it’s based on Swift and not on Objective-C. It’s very much not from NeXT.

It’s early. It has bugs. It’s not nearly complete. Sure. But it’s also how we’re going to write apps in the future.

And it’s mind-blowing. Apple’s marketing for this year’s WWDC had it right.

MacDailyNews Take: Here we go! Next up are ARM-based Macs with Apple designed SoCs and we can’t wait!


  1. Interesting. I would really love to see SWIFT for iPadOS. Where you are allowed to write apps that are as sandboxes as any others with access to a sandboxed file space and network services, and APIs.

  2. As long as MacOS or macOS is based upon a Mach kernel it will be NeXT based, and we’re still in the NeXT era. No matter what development environment you use or programming language you use or even write code directly in machine language (which virtually no one does anymore) it does not change that macOS is based upon and derived from the NeXT operating system. The author of this article (and seemingly MDN) don’t seem to know what makes an OS an OS or where the development environment ends and the OS begins.

    1. That would be the BSD era, not the NeXT era. NeXT Step was an amazing system for its time. Don’t discount that. That being said, Swift still has some major performance issues to resolve. As much as I like Swift, still waiting for it to be completely baked (disclaimer: still using Swift 4.x; we’ll see what 5.0 brings to the table).

      1. BSD is not Mach based and macOS is. The overall BSD structure allows different Kernels and signaling implementations. The Mach kernel uses a specific methodology that Avi preferred. That carried over directly from NeXT, and to my knowledge was never an official implementation in BSD. The core of macOS is still based upon the NeXT code.

  3. I think the fundamentals of this article are more exoteric than literalist ie the NeXT underpinnings have become obscured to the point that so many more users (of any nature) are less aware in their direct work of those NeXT underpinnings that the overall balance has shifted enough to make that claim. Being a user who has never really been influenced by the NeXT underpinnings other than the first few years post moving to OS X when ways of Working with my Mac changed a little, I cannot possibly judge on the overall validity of the argument itself, but just trying to point out you can view the argument from different perspectives even I suspect amongst the coding community most familiar with the specifics.

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