The Takeaway: Could Apple's El Capitan arrive sooner than expected
Although Apple has been vague about when El Capitan will arrive, the cadence of the first six developer preview builds has already surpassed the timeline of 2014's Yosemite.
Yosemite debuted on June 2, 2014 at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), then ran through seven more builds before Apple on Sept. 30 issued the first of several "gold masters." Yosemite finally arrived for the general public last Oct. 16.
Here's why speculation is mounting that El Capitan could arrive earlier than that this year:
The faster cadence means that if Apple sticks with the same general timeline as last year, it could have a gold master ready by the end of this month. That would roughly match the launch timetable of OS X Snow Leopard, aka 10.6, which shipped on Aug. 28, 2009. Snow Leopard was billed as a polished version of its predecessor, Leopard, just as El Capitan is touted as a maintenance upgrade for Yosemite.
"We wanted to build on the strengths of Yosemite," Craig Federighi, who leads OS X and iOS development at Apple, said in June at WWDC. "So the name came from within Yosemite."
Whenever it arrives, OS X El Capitan will be free, just like 2013's Mavericks and Yosemite.
With reports by Gregg Keizer at Computerworld.