Thomas Brand Looks At The Changing Nature Of OS X's Default Wallpaper

2 July 2013

Thomas Brand:

The trend towards subtle more sophisticated desktop patterns continued with the dawn of Mac OS X. Only this time the default desktop patterns were restricted to Aqua Blue, and Graphite Gray to match the new look of Appleā€™s flagship operating system. With each new major release of Mac OS X the Aqua Desktop was refined, starting with 10.2 Jaguar, continuing in 10.3 Panther, and concluding with 10.4 Tiger.3 Often imitated but never duplicated, abstract default desktops became the norm among OEM PC vendors until the trend was solidified with the release of Windows Vista which boasted an abstract default desktop of its own.

I had forgotten how ugly the Vista default desktop setup was. If you haven’t used a Vista machine for a while, try and imagine what you think it looked like before clicking through to see it. It is shockingly bad and has not aged well.1

1 Contrast that to screenshots of Leopard’s interface. I think it stands the test of time quite well.