July 17

It has been 20 years and change since Apple first introduced Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar. Here’s a bit from the press release:

Apple today previewed the next major version of Mac OS X, code-named “Jaguar,” to more than 2,500 Macintosh developers at its Worldwide Developers Conference. “Jaguar” will be available to customers in late summer 2002, and will further establish Mac OS X as the most advanced operating system in the world.

“Jaguar is packed with incredible new features that Mac OS X users are going to love, including our iChat instant messaging software,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Jaguar takes the world’s highest-volume UNIX-based operating system to the next level, adding amazing new technologies never before seen in any operating system.”

That news broke in May 2002 at WWDC. A few months later, on July 17, Steve Jobs demoed the OS again at Macworld New York 2002, giving the public a closer look at the new version of OS X. Apple had a second press release for Jaguar, which was a bit spicier:

“Jaguar is light years ahead of Windows XP. There’s never been a better time to switch to Mac,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With Unix at its core, and the most advanced object-oriented environment ever, Mac OS X is delivering more software innovation than our industry has seen in a decade.”

Jaguar brought a ton of quality-of-life features to Mac OS X, including:

  • Junk filtering in Mail
  • iChat, a first-party AIM client
  • An overhauled Address Book
  • Inkwell for handwriting recognition
  • QuickTime 6
  • Universal Access
  • Sherlock 3
  • Rendezvous (now known as Bonjour)

The July announcement came with something new — a calendar application named iCal. It even got its own press release:

Apple today introduced iCal, a new calendar program with built-in Internet sharing that lets business users, consumers and educators manage multiple calendars, share them over the Internet and automatically keep them updated.

Users can “publish” their iCal calendars on the web, so colleagues, friends and family members can “subscribe” and view them in iCal on their own Mac. In addition, iCal can automatically check for updates to imported calendars on a regular basis, so shared calendars are always up to date.

“iCal lets you see all the calendars that make up your life,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With built-in Internet sharing, iCal opens a new era of wide-area calendar sharing between colleagues, friends, family and schools.”

(As an aside, the development of iCal is really interesting, as it took place in Paris by a small team of developers. This old AppleInsider article covers it well.)

The concept behind iCal was that life is too busy for just one calendar. As such, iCal made it easy to run multiple calendars in parallel, each with their own setting.

Jaguar shipped on August 23, with iCal shipping on September 10 as a free download on Apple’s website.

Thankfully, the Wayback Machine has a copy of that original iCal website, and it is a gem. Apple praised the application for its design:

iCal is an elegant personal calendar application that helps you manage your life and your time better than ever before. iCal lets you keep track of your appointments and events with multiple calendars featuring at-a-glance views of upcoming activities by day, week or month.

iCal lets you create separate color-coded calendars for your home, school and work schedules, and it lets you view all your different calendars at the same time from within a single unified window. That way you can quickly spot scheduling conflicts — and just as quickly identify where you still have lots of time.

Here’s a list of features Apple touted at the time:

  • Keep track of your schedules, events and appointments, with at-a-glance views of upcoming activities by day, week or month
  • Manage and view more than one calendar at a time from within a single unified window to quickly identify schedule conflicts and pockets of free time
  • Share your calendars online with your colleagues, family and friends, using your .Mac account
  • Subscribe to other calendars to keep up with work schedules, family and school events, and more
  • Send standards-based email event invitations to people listed in your Mac OS X Address Book
  • Keep your priorities straight with built-in To Do list management
  • Get notification of upcoming events on screen, by email or via text messaging to a mobile phone or pager
  • Use a lightning-fast search tool to quickly locate any event, task or name entered into iCal

In addition to hosting the download itself, Apple also kept a list of shared calendars that users could subscribe to from within the application.

One unique feature of iCal was its Dock icon. When the application was running, it showed the current date,1 which was quite a trick. When iCal was closed, it showed a static date: July 17.

This was in honor of the day the application had been introduced, and if you’ve ever used the calendar emoji, it should seem familiar.

This is from the Emojipedia entry for Calendar:

A single date on a calendar. Generally depicted as a page torn off from a daily desk calendar, displaying month and day on a white, square page.

Like Tear-Off Calendar and Spiral Calendar, commonly used as an icon for specific upcoming events or memorial dates. Also used for various content concerning time, date, schedules, planning, and observances and occasions more generally.

The date shown is July 17. This date was first used by Apple as a reference to when iCal for Mac premiered at MacWorld Expo in 2002. Since 2014 Emojipedia has celebrated World Emoji Day on July 17, because of this emoji.

Major platforms previously used a variety of dates on this calendar, but have changed in recent years to also show July 17, to avoid confusion on World Emoji Day. Some vendors still feature easter egg dates marking company founding or other milestones:

This is my single favorite emoji Easter egg. Happy World iCal Emoji Day.

  1. Well, it did after a bug fix.