When Apple acquired NeXT in the last century, the original release of the long-promised industrial-strength operating system seemed to take forever. First, there was Rhapsody, and when developers balked at having to recode all or most of their products, Apple went back to the drawing boards and begat Carbon and Aqua. The former made it much easier to port applications, and the latter delivered an enhanced Mac interface.
But it took until September 2000 to release a public beta, and the supposed final version of Mac OS X didn’t arrive until March of 2001. Even then, it was far from feature complete. You couldn’t even burn CDs. How soon we forget.
For a while, it seemed that new Mac OS X reference releases came at a breakneck speed. Only the first upgrade, 10.1, was free. For the rest, you had to shell out $129, unless you happened to buy a new Mac or, perhaps, an upgrade kit of the previous version within a few weeks of the new one’s shipping date.
Between Tiger and Leopard, however, 30 months passed, and it seemed as if Apple had decided to take its time building new system upgrades. To be sure, Tiger had a flaky beginning and some suggest that only with 10.4.11 did it come into its own. Even then, there are still a few out there who will staunchly maintain that Tiger was still plagued with serious bugs.