According to writer and environmentalist Wallace Stegner, wilderness is both ‘an opportunity and an idea’.
With the release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Apple adopts one of the most famous wilderness areas in the United States, the gloriously wild Yosemite National Park, as a totem of its own ideology. And it’s no coincidence that the stunning mountain images which accompany it engender a sense of deep awe.
Apple is deliberately connecting us with the technobiophilic sublime.
As I wrote last year in ‘Technobiophilia: nature and cyberspace’, the vastness of the internet, both visible and invisible, can trigger a powerful sense of the sublime. I described how technology historian David Nye explained that eighteenth century philosopher Edmund Burke ‘established an absolute contrast between the beautiful, which inspired feelings of tenderness and affection, and the sublime, which grew out of an ecstasy of terror that filled the mind completely’.
Before Burke, the notion of the sublime was connected with alchemy, but as the ideal of scientific objectivity grew into the foreground it came to be seen as part of the Enlightenment project of defining reason. And as the New World was opened up, the stunning raw landscapes of America seemed made for the expression of the sublime. Said Nye, ‘to experience the sublime was to awaken to a new vision of a changing universe.’
This changing universe, presumably, is the vision Apple wants us to buy into as we scale the dizzy heights of its own digital Yosemite, yet another new growth in the company’s much-vaunted ‘ecosystem’.
 Stegner, Wallace. Wilderness Letter, written to the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission. 1969. http://wilderness.org/content/wilderness-letter
 Nye, David E. American Technological Sublime. Cambridge: MIT, 1994.