With Mountain Lion, Apple officially drops 'Mac' from OS X name

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After priming the transition with "OS X" trademark applications years ago, Apple has now confirmed that the word "Mac" is no longer part of the name of its flagship desktop operating system.

The unveiling of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on Thursday represented a marked change in Apple's marketing strategy. The Cupertino, Calif., company has preferred the shortened OS X moniker for some time now, but the company is now making the switch to the new name official.

Twitter user David Connell pointed out that the developer preview of Mountain Lion dropped the "Mac" name from the About This Mac page within the operating system. The latest public version of OS X Lion, version 10.7.3, still lists the system as running "Mac OS X."

Apple subsequently confirmed the official name change to The Verge on Thursday, noting that the preferred full name is "OS X Mountain Lion."

The change does not appear to reflect a de-emphasis on the Mac, though, as Apple has voiced its continued commitment to the computing platform and is actually increasing the frequency of software updates by introducing an annual release schedule for OS X.

Mountain Lion does, however, continue a trend that brings iOS and OS X closer together with increased cross-platform integration and feature sharing. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview Thursday that he views the two operating systems as "one with incremental functionality." He also left open the possibility that Macs and iOS devices may someday run on the same processor architecture.

"We think about everything. We don't close things off," he said.

Mountain Lion

OS X 10.8 will add over a hundred new features to the the Mac operating system when it arrives this summer. Notable additions include Messages, which will replace iChat; several core iOS apps such as Notes, Reminders and Game Center that will be brought back to the Mac; AirPlay Mirroring to an Apple TV and a new application-monitoring security feature called Gatekeeper.

AppleInsider discovered Apple's "OS X" trademark application in early 2009 after it was filed in Trinidad and Tobago in 2008. At the time, the company was working to differentiate its Mac operating system from its iPhone OS.

The image accompanying Apple's "OS X" trademark filings.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office lists an application from Apple for the "OS X" mark as having been filed on Nov. 12, 2008. The registration date is listed as Nov. 1, 2011.

Apple's name change for OS X has drawn comparisons to two other instances in the company's history. In June 2010, Apple dropped the word "phone" from its iOS because the mobile operating system ran on other non-phone devices such as the iPod touch and the iPad. Also, in 2007, Apple signaled its commitment to the post-PC era by removing "Computer" from its name to re-brand itself as "Apple, Inc." At the time, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said traditional computing had become just one part of the company's business as it was joined by newer product lines like the iPod and iPhone.