Apple Mac OS X versions named after German tanks?

During this summer, I realized that Apple’s naming of versions seems a tad odd…


We were sitting around a table in the beautiful Swedish archipelago, having a drink and chatting a little. Big men talk about big guns, right? So, we were discussing different German tank models. Not being just a man, but a computer geek as well, it hit me that the name of German tanks are the same as the name of OS X versions.

Names of tanks and operating system versions

When I got back online, I did a quick search, and Internet being what it is, naturally I hadn’t been the only one thinking about it. In German armored vehicles and Apple Mac OS X all these are listed, but please allow me to present a short list:

Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah
Tank: Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard (Gepard in German means Cheetah in English)
Mac OS X 10.1 Puma
Tank: Sd.Kfz. 234/2 “Puma”
Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar
Tanks: Jaguar 1 and Jaguar 2
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther
Tank: Panther
Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger
Tanks: Tiger 1 and Tiger 2
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
Tanks: Leopard 1 and Leopard 2
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
Haven’t found the corresponding tank yet, but I’m sure it exists… πŸ™‚


I’m really not sure where all this comes from, and it might just be coincidence – trust me, I’m not implying that Apple is some kind of Neo-Nazi movement in disguise (thinking about when especially the Tiger tank was mostly active). And sure, I can see why you would like to name something after great mighty cats.

But, what I really think, is that if you’re going to name a product line of any kind, don’t you just stop a moment to think, to contemplate:

a) Have anyone else used this naming convention?

b) Could there be any kind of negative connection?

Maybe my guess for the next iPhone to be named iPhone 3G SS isn’t so far off after all… πŸ˜‰


  • What's so negative about German battle wagons? πŸ˜€

  • a reader from German says:

    It’s just a coincidence.

    There are lots of Mac OS X users in Germany, Apples market share grew over the last years. Of the people I talked to, all had the notion that the Mac OS X versions were named after cats (Apples’ visuals help), no one thought of ‘our’ tanks. Besides, the Leopard (II) tank is the only one which is known by name by at least a few people, the others – especially older ones – are basically unknown outside the military.

  • Mikael Grön says:

    Snow Leopard – I can only find toy remote controlled tanks called Snow Leopard, but that might be linked through "OS X Snow Leopard" being a smaller upgrade than the rest of the OS X:s

  • Götz says:

    Hi Robert,

    I actually liked calling OS X Leopard a tank! But I never noticed that other OS X names also correspond to some German tank models. Though it's very likely to be a conincidence, it's nice to know.

    There are also some more guesses to be found concerning what is behind Apple's naming scheme … but the tank theory is kind of catchy πŸ˜‰

    Best wishes from Germany (not driving my Leopard right now, but just boring old XP),


  • David says:

    I guess Apple just want's to point out the good qualitiy of the OS. It is solid and rocks like german tanks πŸ˜‰

  • Chris says:

    The mentioned tanks are post-WWII-tanks. So not nazi anymore (just to clarify: most people in germany aren't nazis nowadays).

    Best wishes from Germany, too

    Chris πŸ™‚

  • Nollbit says:

    Someone forgot about Occams' Razor it seems.

    Most likely the Apple just used the same naming scheme as the Germans.

  • Keith says:

    Presumably, if Apple really were using the German Tank naming convention, they'd have named Snow Leopard, "Leopard 2". For that reason I believe it's a simple coincidence – but an interesting one.

  • Ed says:

    Are we sure there wasn't a version of the Leopard tank equipped for snowy conditions? That would seem likely.

    Good spot though. This will come as useful artillery in the whole Mac vs PC wars discussions.


  • Robert Nyman says:


    Well, they were a good craft, but some were used at a bad time in history…

    a reader from Germany,

    Actually, from what I've heard at least, the Tiger tank is the most well-known tank. But I agree, many of them aren't that well-discussed,

    Mikael Grön,

    Ha ha, brilliant! πŸ™‚


    Yes, lots of guesses, but I like this unexpected, coincidental or not, connection. πŸ™‚


    Right, German quality. πŸ™‚


    Well, actually, Panther and Tiger tanks were indeed part of World War 2. But definitely, every German I've meet have been a nice person and I've been to Germany many times – let me also state that it was in no way an attempt to say or imply anything bad about Germany.


    Absolutely, it could be coincidental, or absolutely intentional. WOuld be nice to ask the people behind it. πŸ™‚


    Well, Leopard 2 isn't really a catchy name, is it? πŸ™‚ But we'll see what the next version will be named, and continue to guess from there. πŸ™‚


    I'm sure there's a winter version, we just have to find it. πŸ™‚

  • youngApprentice says:

    Ah nice idea but the Snow Leopard was a US tank

  • Chris says:

    […] let me also state that it was in no way an attempt to say or imply anything bad about Germany […]

    I know that πŸ™‚ And I'm fine with making fun about stereotypes as long as it's just for fun.

    And I realized that I was wrong about post-WWII just after hitting sent and hoped so much nobody would realize *dang*! πŸ˜‰

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Oh, too bad!


    Yeah, I know you know, but I felt I should clarify that nevertheless. πŸ™‚

  • Kind of amusing that this post has an ad now for model tanks, with pics of a Tiger and a Panther.

    Whoever said the older tanks are unknown should watch A Bridge Too Far (the best war film ever made). And maybe Kelly’s Heroes too for the bit at the end where Clint Eastwood goes up against a Tiger I.

    Have you seen the ad for OS X Def Leopard?

  • Richard Fink says:

    I've named some of my dogs after famous generals as kind of an inside joke. (Montgomery and Sherman.) In the US, it's been common practice to name tanks after generals. Sherman being one of them.

    I also have a dog named Winston and somebody at the veterinarian's office once quipped that since I have Monty and Winston, all I need is a dog named Patton and I've got WWII completely covered.

    I don't think Apple's naming scheme is a co-incidence. But it's not a statement, either. Just an approach to naming so you don't have to go through the whole "Well, what should we name it?" debate every time a new OS upgrade is ready to be released.

    Nothing to read into there. I don't think we'll be seeing Mac OS Guerring anytime soon.

    A harmless conceit, I think it is. Kind of like an Easter Egg. Some of the characters in Joseph Heller's famous novel Catch-22 are named after streets in Montreal, Canada. Why? – I think Heller was just interested in seeing if anybody noticed.



  • Robert Nyman says:


    Yes, Google sure has some entertaining ads. πŸ™‚

    Me, I knew about at least a couple of the tanks beforehand.

    And oh, OS X Def Leopard is great! πŸ™‚


    Yeah, maybe. But having a series named after something where some of them were part of World War II could, even if not meant to, be offending to some people.

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Ah, true – unfortunately, it's not a German tank.

  • […] 02: Apple Mac OS X versions named after German tanks? […]

  • Cole says:

    Chris said “Most people in Germany aren’t Nazis nowadays.”

    Based on their statements – Sharron Angle about “Second Amendment remedies” Joe Miller having his security people handcuff a reporter, Rand Paul’s people beating up a protester – It appears that many of the American Tea Party Republican candidates and their supporters are wearing the cloak of fascism.

  • Fernando says:

    Now it’s “Lion”, is there a tank named after that?!

    My big question is…what will be the next OSX version?
    WilyKit or Wilykat? =P

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Of course there’s a German Lion tank. πŸ™‚

  • […] an invitation showing a lion (a lion? All its OS versions have had tiger big cat-themed names, or possibly German tank-themed names) apparently peeking out from behind a silver Apple logo, with the words "Back to the Mac."That has […]

  • John Bejesus says:

    Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
    Tank: Panzerkampfwagen VII LΓΆwe (LΓΆwe in German means Lion in English)

  • Robert Nyman says:


    Awesome, thanks!

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