What breed of cat will OS X v10.9 be?

Sections: Mac OS X, Operating Systems

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With Mountain Lion the prowl now for several months, thoughts turn to what Mac OS v10.9 might be called.

The folks at AppleScoop reported this week that they’ve “learned exclusively” via a reliable source inside Apple that the next OS X version upgrade, OS X 10.9, may be called Lynx.

Maybe. Lynx, Bobcat, and Wildcat—three compact but admirable wild felines—are all names that haven’t yet been applied to an OS X version. To recap,. OS X 10.1 was Puma, 10.2 Jaguar, 10.3 Panther, 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard, 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion, and 10.8 is Mountain Lion.

There’s actually no danger of Apple running out of cat names anytime soon. According to one wild cat species resource site, there are 36 distinct species of non-domestic cats, although some are concededly so obscure that they wouldn’t be suitable for an operating system moniker.

One cat name I like is Cougar, although an objection would be certain contemporary popular cultural associations. Cougar is also a synonym for Puma, which has already been used for OS 10.1, but then so is Panther in its North American context.

The largest wild cat species on this continent is variously known as Cougar, Puma, Mountain Lion, Panther, Painter, and Catamount, plus reportedly several dozen other less-widely used names that have been recorded across North and South America.

If Apple wanted a particularly exotic variant, they might consider Eastern Cougar, referencing cats some contend still range in small numbers east of the Mississippi River in the U.S., and Canada—an assertion that remains to be scientifically verified.

Perhaps the most likely not-yet-used name for an OS X version would be Cheetah, with the positive association of being the fastest animal on the planet Running flat out, the fastest horses might hit about 43 miles per hour, while a cheetah can touch 70 MPH in short bursts.

Other Mac OS name candidates might be Ocelot (a primarily South and Central American cat that also ranges into Mexico and as far north as Texas), the aforementioned medium-sized Lynx, the smaller Bobcat, and the Wildcat—the latter a name that was used by Grumman for a World War II vintage naval fighter aircraft. The Wildcat is another family of small, wild cats with 22 subspecies that range through most of Europe, central Asia, and most of Africa. They have also reportedly been extensively crossbred with house cats.

The Bobcat is actually a species of Lynx, the smallest of four, which also include the Eurasian Lynx, native to Europe and Asia, the Canada Lynx, which ranges through Canada and the northern U.S., the Iberian Lynx, native to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and reportedly the most endangered cat species in the world.

Still plenty of cat names to choose from. What’s your preference for OS v10.9?

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  • InsanelyGreat

    “Perhaps the most likely not-yet-used name for an OS X version would be Cheetah”. Actually Cheetah was the code name for 10.0

  • Ethan

    OSX 10.0 was Cheeta

  • Charles Moore

    I stand corrected.


  • Jake Freeze

    Top Cat or Stray Cat.

  • Wouter van Caspel

    Note that Puma and Mountain Lion are identical. They are the same animal, alsno named as Cougar.

  • Charles Moore

    Note the 5th and 6th paragraphs in the column.


  • Joseph

    And what’s wrong with Tabby?

  • CyberAngel