Apple is widely expected to announce the next version of its desktop operating system, Mac OS X 10.9, and a big mystery remains: What kind of cat will it be named after?
Since Apple introduced the Mac OS X operating system in 2001, the company has named each version after a big cat, starting with cheetah for the original 10.0 version and most recently mountain lion for version 10.8.
Apple has worked its way through nine different kinds of cats, leaving itself few obvious options for version 10.9. The company is expected to unveil and preview the operating system next week at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
Apple has already used puma, jaguar, panther, tiger, leopard, snow leopard and lion in addition to the two named above. Some speculate that Apple may drop the cat monikers altogether, but let's consider some other options:
LOLcat: Every day, countless people use their Macs to upload pictures of cats doing hilarious things. These cats are known as LOLcats. Apple could use OS X 10.9 to acknowledge this new, 21st century cat variety.
Grumpy cat: The most famous LOLcat right now is grumpy cat. If you've seen a picture of a cat looking particularly angry, you're familiar with grumpy cat. Apple could choose grumpy cat if it wants OS X 10.9 to come with some attitude.
Chinese mountain cat: On the more realistic side of things, Apple could go with the Chinese mountain cat, as suggested by a colleague of mine. This odd-looking cat would keep "mountain" in the name while also evoking some laughter. I'm telling you, just Google this cat.
Liger: Another cat that's surprisingly real is the liger. This creature, a hybrid of a lion and a tiger, is famous for its role in the movie "Napoleon Dynamite," but becoming the mascot for Apple would make it an even bigger star. If Apple wants to keep the theme of big cats, well, you don't get much bigger than ligers.
ThunderCat: If Apple is feeling retro, the company could name OS X 10.9 "ThunderCat," referencing the popular 1980s cartoon series. This cat is more ferocious than others.
Bobcat: Surprisingly, Apple hasn't yet used bobcat as the mascot for one of its OS X versions. This species, which lives throughout North America, has a classy spotted coat, is big and has some killer sideburns that would look great on the cover of Mac OS X 10.9.
Nyan cat: This dancing cat is also fictional but it's one of the biggest Internet stars of all time. If you haven't already, check out its famous YouTube video and get acquainted. So what would Mac OS X 10.9 look like if Apple went with Nyan Cat? Fortunately, someone has already created a mock-up.
Cougar: If Apple insists on going with a real cat, the cougar is another option. Apple hasn't yet used cougar for one of its OS X versions, but it has already used puma and mountain lion, and technically, all three are the same animal.
What do you think? Weigh in with your own cat suggestions below. Tune in Monday at 10 a.m. PDT to see whether Apple announces Mac OS X 10.9 and what kind of cat gets the honor of being the mascot.