What’s Hot: Pronunciation

Sometimes the smallest things ignite the most heated arguments, this week we were all asking the question; how do you pronounce “Mac OS X”?

This is the second episode in feature series called ‘What’s Hot’ that will look to give you something interesting to chew on at the end of the week. We’ll look at any great new Mac apps (including editor and reader favourites), interesting pieces of news, and other miscellaneous artifacts…


We all know how this goes. It’s five things today…

Five Things

1. New Schedule

First off, I wanted to offer some reassurance to loyal Mac.AppStorm readers about our new schedule. We’re really excited about it, mostly because it enables us to give you more of the stuff you love!

We’re firmly keeping our focus on Mac apps, with more reviews, and interesting roundups, in addition to a few new features. Response to last week’s post was mixed, mostly reaction to the addition of news coverage, but I wanted to make a couple of things clear.

  1. Our news posts will only cover important topics, and will rarely solely report on events – we look to always offer some commentary and opinion!
  2. Mac.AppStorm will now publish around 4 posts per day, a number we feel is pretty much perfect! It’s never our intention to overload you, I know how difficult it is to follow a feed that publishes a whole world of content – sites like The Verge have some great content, but they often post 50 or more items a day!
  3. Our focus is, and will always be, on apps!

2. Pronunciation

One of the hot topics on Mac.AppStorm this week has been the debate over the pronunciation of “Mac OS X”! Josh’s poll last week gave the consensus vote firmly to OS “Ex”, which garnered a comfortable 64% of the vote and controversially outscored the technically correct OS “Ten”.

In many ways it doesn’t matter which way you say it, although if you’re in fussy company you may get a shudder or two. What most interested me was the idea of discussing pronunciation via a non-verbal medium, all while there is a distinct and clear correct way to say the phrase…

The results...

3. Essential Apps

This week Stef Gonzaga wrote an awesome article on the 12 apps that should be in the Apps Starter Kit – well worth a read, even if you’re a seasoned veteran! There were numerous excellent suggestions made for apps that should be added, or swapped in, to the list – here are a few of the best;

  • Handbrake – a possible replacement for Smart Converter.
  • Sparrow – a great email suggestion by Andrew Jo.
  • Dropbox – one of the first apps I get new Mac users to download.
  • Pixelmator – a fantastic suggestion for image editing that is perfect for all but the most extravagant use!

4. iEducation

As the dust settles around Apple’s education announcements, it definitely worth checking out Alex’s consideredreview of iBooks Author. There’s been a lot of talk about the restrictive EULA, with some people frustrated by Apple using its competitive edge in such a bold way. It’s understandable that people were hoping for Apple to revolutionise the e-publishing industry, perhaps creating a tool that would be the Photoshop of e-book design and publishing. What Apple did was more limited in scope, and certainly more competitive – iBooks Author is an excellent, and easy-to-use, app that’s only for publishing to the iBookstore.

Combine that with Apple’s ferociously impressive financial results and you’re reminded of just how successful a business Apple really is.

5. Is iOS the Future of the Mac?

This debate starts itself, read Anna’s fascinating article and ponder over what using a Mac in five years time might be like…

What your desktop could look like with iOS.


  • Sigilist

    As to essential apps, Pixelmator would be fine (not good) if it were free. It’s unacceptable in having to use the dreaded AppStore.

    Straight out of the “box”, GIMP does everything PM does and more. It is also free, community support, runs on almost any platform, and for those who need more, it can does as much or as more as early modules of Photoshop, such as CS2, etc. Why pay for something when free lets you use a program that is not only compatible across platforms but can create layered files that are also compatible outside of itself.

    $30 for Pixelmator? I don’t think so… especially as a rec.

    http://www.gimp.org/

    • Tim

      Gimp is great for being free, but it can not do nearly as much as Photoshop. Even Photoshop 7.
      Gimp is not meant for print work.
      Gimp’s interface is awful.
      Gimp has to run in X11 = yuck!

      You would think after years and years of being available someone with good UI knowledge would step in and say, “I love Gimp! Let me design a new interface for it that not only looks good, but is also logical and easy to use, because the current one sucks.” But no one has done that. Such is the downfall of all open source software. Just look at Filezilla. Works great. Looks terrible.

      • Hawk

        While I agree that Gimp has a terrible UI, you obviously haven’t used a lot of open source software if you think that they all have that weakness.

  • http://www.webmaster-source.com redwall_hp

    What is this, 2001? I thought Apple settled that “argument” over a decade ago. “X” is a roman numeral, as they went from OS 9 to OS X, and thus it is pronounced “ten.” “Ex” doesn’t make sense.

    I guess there are a lot of n00bs out there who are used to Microsoft’s nonsensical naming schemes, and don’t know about OS 9…

    • Hawk

      So much hatred… over the pronunciation of a meaningless letter.

      • Ansatz

        I don’t think the “hatred” (which is probably more properly described as annoyance) is about the pronunciation of a letter but about ignorance of their own operating system. I’m genuinely curious what people who pronounce it as OS Ex think about the actual numbering system of the OS releases. I mean, why did Apple call Cheeta 10.0, Puma 10.1, Jaguar 10.2, Panther 10.3, Tiger 10.4, Leopard 10.5, Snow Leopard 10.6 and Lion 10.7 if the OS wasn’t called OS 10 (Ten)?

      • Hawk

        Ask your self how much it really matters. It could be called OS VL (45), and otherwise be exactly the same. The job of language is to convey meaning, and as long as you know what someone else is talking about when they say “ex” or “ten”, what difference does it make? Why not appreciate the fact that this world is diverse and that people are diverse, and that some call it “ex” and other call it “ten”? There are about nine thousand things in this world worth getting worked up about, not including the pronunciation of a letter that is more or less arbitrary and is meaningless to the context of any discussion except for the purpose of disambiguation of which version of a product you’re talking about. It’s just a bad case of first world problem.

      • Ansatz

        What in the world are you on about? First of all, of course I agree that the name of something doesn’t affect it in any functional way. Why bother pointing this out? It has nothing to do with what anyone is talking about.

        Second, I wholeheartedly agree that the general purpose of language is to convey meaning but I don’t agree with your ridiculous implicit assumption that a words “meaning” is restricted solely to conveyance between two people who already are cognizant of the word’s general point of reference. For example, consider the word microwave oven. If you had never heard of a microwave oven before, does “microwave oven” still have meaning? Of course it does because

        1. You know what microwave’s are
        2. You know what an oven is
        3. You know that it is common in the english language to use previously defined words in sequence to convey the function of an object within its name.

        If we had chosen to call the “microwave oven” a “blimboo” it would still work precisely the same way, but in doing so the word would have lost some of its meaning that it would have had if I had only just called it a “microwave oven”. Precisely the same goes for OS X. What is OS X? If I say, “do you use OS ‘Ex’” then you know exactly what I’m referring to, but some of the intrinsic meaning built into the name is lost if I mistakenly call it anything other than OS 10. Why? Because OS X wasn’t chosen just convey that it is an operating system but that it is the successor to OS 9. Again, this a common thing we do in the English language and in not playing by the standard and accepted rules, we are doing a poor job of conveying the meaning of the word.

        Think about it like this: If I introduce someone to OS X and continually call it “OS Ex” then they may ask me “What word does the X stand for”, and they would be completely justified in doing so. However, if I call it “OS 10″ then they are more likely to ask me “Was there an OS 9?”. If the two different ways of saying the OS truly conveyed exactly the same meaning, why in the world would one of them inspire a meaningless question and the other a meaningful one?

    • Harm de Wit

      OS eX does make sense. It is the first Mac OS that integrated the Unix software of the NeXt computer and OS. That are a lot of X’s don’t you think? Also the versions after OS X didn’t get any new nrs. Here you got some reasons that lead to confusion.

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