Digging through the frameworks of OS X 10.11.4, a reference to “macOS” was discovered by developer Guilherme Rambo. The mention was found in a private framework called “FlightUtilities” — a feature that he says enables tracking flights, but is not currently in use by El Capitan.
Rambo even went as far to create a sample application using the new, untapped framework. He theorizes that both it and the new “macOS” branding could debut as part of the next-generation Mac operating system, widely expected to be introduced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June.
Makes sense to me. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to the big-X branding, but at least there won’t be any ludicrous articles predicting the demise of the Mac like there were when they dropped “Mac” from “OS X”.
I’m curious about how this will work with future version numbering. My hunch is that the marketing will be simplified — something like macOS El Capitan — with version numbering appearing only in the About This Mac dialog, but this becomes out-of-sync with Apple’s other operating system families. iOS, watchOS, and tvOS all have version numbering in their marketing names, but OS X has both a version and a California place name that represents the version. This could be a good case for refining their overall OS branding.