As soon as this spring, Apple may announce the beta for its next major OS X version. Since Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah's debut in March 2001, Apple has updated OS X every one to two years (though Mac OS X 10.1 Puma came only six months after 10.0 Cheetah). Since 10.2 Jaguar, the cat code name has been part of the OS's official name, with the cat's image -- or at least its hide -- featured on the product boxes.
The next OS X version will be 10.9, suggesting it's the end of the line for the big-cat versions. So what should that last cat's name be?
Me, I'm rooting for Sabertooth, though choosing an extinct animal may be a bad omen. So maybe the short-lived cheetah -- the first OS X cat -- should get the honors of being the last OS X cat, completing the circle. Or one of the two big-cat names left unused by Apple: cougar or clouded leopard (appropriate for the iCloud era!). Alternatively, perhaps a medium-size cat such as lynx or ocelot will have its day. Vote your pick below.
For the record, here are the cat names used so far: 10.0 Cheetah (March 2001), 10.1 Puma (September 2001), 10.2 Jaguar (August 2002), 10.3 Panther (October 2003), 10.4 Tiger (April 2005), 10.5 Leopard (October 2007), 10.6 Snow Leopard (August 2009), 10.7 Lion (July 2011), and 10.8 Mountain Lion (July 2012).
As for what Apple should call OS XI, I can see using the names of birds of prey, but I'll leave that for another day. After all, it could be simply iOS.
This story, "The next OS X: Tell Apple what to name it," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.