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Where OS X 'Big Cat' code names REALLY come from

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OK, so imagine this: You're Apple Computer, Inc. (still) and it's December 1997. You've just blocked British Mac-clone maker Shaye from licensing Mac OS 8, thereby putting it pretty much out of luck for new products; in fact, Shaye will revert to selling genuine Apple gear at the end of the year. Still, there's something kind of catchy about Shaye's branding... something vaguely feline: Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Lion and Lynx. Nice ring to those "big cat" names. Mrowr!

Reader Andreas Tellefsen spotted this incredible coincidence on Mac-clone history site everymac.com -- it seems that almost all of the Shaye model names have mysteriously transformed into Mac OS X release codenames. 'Lynx' is even one of the two additional big cats trademarked by Apple ('Cougar' is the other). Is this an innocent case of parallel branding? A sneaky repurposing of deprecated product names? Nothing more than a tempest in a litter box? You be the judge.

Update: Ola and other commenters note that the Mac OS X names also match up with the names of German tanks and AFVs, which is a wee bit more disturbing.

In this article: clones, code names, CodeNames, leopard, OSX, trivia
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