Mavericks by David Nickolson


Why I think Apple chose this name

A few days ago, Apple previewed its updated operating system, and announced that it’ll be called “Mavericks”, finally departing from the series of big cats that have given their names to the previous 9 versions of OS X. Apple also explained that Mavericks is a Californian beach that’s famous for its surf, and that the new iterations of the OS will all have a Californian theme.

The Apple press have lapped this up, pointing out that the famed beach has already appeared in Apple’s promotional materials, that it’s not far from where one of its directors lives, which other landmarks will be next, and so on.

I think that this is just a smokescreen, an ‘Easter egg’ in computing parlance, hiding an emphatic tribute to Apple’s own Californian landmark, Steve Jobs.

First, consider the meaning of the word. According to the OALD, a maverick is “a person who does not behave or think like everyone else, but who has independent, unusual opinions”. Now consider the text of Apple’s influential ‘think different‘ marketing campaign:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

‘Maverick’ is notable in this text only by its absence, but who are these people if not mavericks? This is what the Oxford Thesaurus of Synonyms gives for ‘mi