WWDC 2014 | OS X Aqua – The End of Era

Aqua Blue Apple
Yesterday marked the end of an era.  OS X "Aqua" interface is officially dead. Yes, it's been phased out for A LONG time now, but there was always a sense of it within OS X.  Aqua started so bold, brash - different, than anything on the market at the time.  It was... ugly.  It became beautiful though.  It took 'windows' and turned the look and feel of an OS - different.  It was abrasive at first, but man, did it ever evolve to a solid, powerful, workhorse - starting with OS X 10.2.8.  I remember the first time I saw OS X along side the newly released Windows XP.  I remember it was at a CompUSA in Gaithersburg, MD.  I remember OS X was running on that infamous G4 'Cube'.  And hey, I liked the cube - being a Windoze fan-boi, even I noticed 'The Cube'.
10.2.8 vs. XP was never a contest.  Windows had its claws embedded in the next generation of geeks.  OS X 10.2.8 was scoffed at by the world, minus a few 'Mac Labs' at Colleges, where most still ran OS 9.  No, OS X 10.2.8 was never popular.  Too many of the apps that the Mac Geeks used, ran better on OS 9.
But that interface!  Transparency!  Those icons!  And... the Dock!!  I mean, there was an application launcher that was animated?  Whaaa?!
It turned my head.  I saw, iTunes 2.  The interface was simple, AND METAL!  I wanted a Mac.  Music was and is a big part of my life, and I really wanted to use iTunes as my music manager.  I stopped laughing at the 'Think Different' campaign, and started drinking Steve's Kool-Aid.  Yeah, I did.  This may be a lame reason for wanting to use a computer, but hey, I'm being honest.
I then bought a used G4 PowerMac.  I called her "Baby" (she still runs fine, by the way).  I remembered the first time I fired up Baby, and BOOM, there was that interface.  The buttons were so jelly, I wanted to eat them.  The transparency - never seen that before. The font was so beautiful. The icons were like steak - and freaking brushed metal was my music player.  It was a former art-boy turned geek masterpiece.
OS X only grew more mature and refined as time went.  OS X "Panther" made the classic "Apple" stripes subtle vs. IN YOUR FACE, and the brushed aluminum was extended to 'Carbon' apps only.  Panther was the first time OS X was serious.  Serious applications really started to support OS X.  The remaining bugs that 10.2.8 squashed, died. Finder became usable.
Over the years OS X has gotten only better IMO.  Refinement after refinement, OS X is serious.  It has surpassed Windows as the 'standard'.  Now, if people can afford a Mac, they buy OS X - no longer a PC.  To be fair, the PC has only gotten better too, but we don't have parties for 'the next version of Windows'. Instead, we have 'I hope they don't screw Windows up' days.  Sadly, they took the fantastic Windows 7 and "screwed it up".  Sorry.  But us OS X-ers still have "Release Day", where we look forward to the next version.  This is 100% backed up by adoption stats.  XP anyone?
Now, OS X is finally yesterday.  My time as the young, budding, geek, has come to a close.  Today OS 10 is touted, and the interface is akin to iOS 7.  To many this will be a welcome change.  The features touted on the web page and during today's WWDC look great.  I personally can't wait to have OS 10.10 Yosemite.  Like - I really can't wait.  It's the fresh desktop UI we've been waiting for.  It's the continuation of the love relationship of iOS and OS 10.  The features being touted is what Windows 8 should have been.  The marriage between mobile and desktop.But I can't help but to think, this isn't Steve's OS X.  This is Tim's OS 10.  I think this is the first time I heard "OS 10" than I did "OS X", by everyone on the stage.  My heyday growing up with a humbler Steve, and looking forward to the next "Aqua Wallpaper", is 100% over.  That iconic interface is gone.  And I mean 100% gone.  This is the next generation's Mac OS... and I'm fine with that. I really am.  But I will admit, I'm a little sad.
At least I can say "I was there at the beginning" of Apple's rise from the ashes.  I was there at all the important podcasts.  I was there when their stock hit $40+ for the first time in a LONG time.  I was there buying the "Mac Addict" magazines just to get a glimpse and write up of the next OS X.  Heh, one of my favorite geek memories was during a layover in Atlanta, GA coming back from my honeymoon.  "Mac Addict" release their "September 2008" issue with a preview of OS X "Tiger" on the cover.  With my sick and sleeping newly-wed wife beside me, I got up and bought that issue.
I still have it.  I look at it from time time.  The menu bar was glossy?  Whaaaa?!
R.I.P. Aqua.

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