updated 01:46 pm EDT, Thu August 30, 2012
On track to outperform Lion, Snow Leopard still dominant
According to tracking from ad network Chitika, the latest version of OS X is already installed on over 10 percent of Macs accessing the Internet, a reliable measure of the active user base. The figure comes only one month after the launch of Mountain Lion, meaning the OS version is well ahead of Lion penetration at the same point in its release schedule. Currently, Snow Leopard still has the largest share of Macs, followed by Lion and Leopard.
Like previous OS X releases, Mountain Lion saw a huge spike in installs immediately in the first week of release, reaching a high of six percent of the whole user base within the first week. Since then, growth has been steadily rising, bolstered by positive reviews and few reports of problem installs or serious glitches. Apple has released one "update" patch since Mountain Lion shipped.
According to Chitika's figures, Mountain Lion is likely to surpass Lion's adoption rate in early September, taking roughly half as much time to hit 15 percent penetration as Lion did. All other versions of OS X saw small drops in their adoption rate in August as users upgraded their older machines, beyond the number of new buyers who received Mountain Lion with their Mac purchases.
A rolling average chart shows that Lion users appear to be the most likely group to jump to Mountain Lion as logic would suggest, with Lion dropping from nearly 35 percent of the base to 31.48 percent between July and August. Likewise, Snow Leopard dropped about 2.2 percent in the same time period, with older OS versions showing smaller decreases of under one percent.
Snow Leopard is still most common OS version one might find on a Mac, currently with 43 percent. It is not unusual for the previous or second-most previous OS version to maintain a high percentage, as most users never or rarely upgrade their OS version from the one that came with the machine. The reasoning behind this is a (sometimes misguided) desire for stability and compatibility with the users' current set of software, which also generally stays un-upgraded.
Lion is currently the second-most popular OS X version, with 31.5 percent share of the base, followed by Leopard with 13 percent. The figures suggest that the transition to Intel is complete, six years or roughly 1.5 product cycles after it was initiated (much to the surprise of the user base at the time). A total of 87.5 percent of the active Mac user base are running Intel-only versions of OS X, leaving the PowerPC user base (almost all of whom would be on 10.4 Tiger) at just over 12 percent.
Should present growth rates continue, Mountain Lion should increase its share by around four to five percent per month, giving it a majority share of the OS X landscape before its first anniversary. [via Chitika]