Mac OS X, the Unix-based operating system running on all Apple computers since 2002 is a major part of the brand image, carefully cultured by the company over the course of a decade. All releases of Mac OS X are named after big cats (Cheetah, Jaguar, and Snow Leopard to name a few), lending itself to a slight spot of irony as Apple has become one of the largest predators in the personal computing space. iOS, one of the dominant mobile operating systems, actually spawned out of Mac OS X, and has been bringing significant innovations back to the desktop OS, such as gesture and application support.
Much of the seamless integration between mobile and desktop operation is expected to occur in Apple’s latest version of their desktop OS, Mac OS Mountain Lion, projected for release this summer. In light of the upcoming release, Chitika Insights conducted an investigation to determine the current market share of Mac OS Mountain Lion in the wild, as an indicator of developer activity and preparation for the version push, since the March 16th release date.
To quantify this study, Chitika Insights analyzed a sample from the Chitika Ad network taken between March 19th and March 25th, composed of hundreds of millions of unique impressions. Within this data set, the user agent from individual impressions was analyzed to first determine operating system (in this case, Mac OS X), and then separated out by version. Then, each version’s share of overall web browsing traffic was calculated in accordance with overall OS share.
The graph above depicts Mac OS Mountain Lion averaging a .06% share of all Mac OS X traffic during its first week of availability. In comparison, after the same period of time post-release, Windows 8 Preview averaged a .021% share of all Windows traffic. Thus, Mountain Lion actually trumps Windows latest operating system release by more than double. Surprisingly, Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) still makes up the lion’s share of Mac OS X users, with Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) settling for second place.
Even though both Windows 8 and Mountain Lion’s first week adoption totals may seem low, there is no cause for alarm. Low levels of use for unreleased versions of software are typical within the technology industry, given that in the early stages of a product, the heaviest users tend to be developers who are focusing on testing and preparation of the release. For advertisers and publishers alike, the low yet existing share of Mountain Lion can stand as an indicator of the fast moving pace of the tech sphere, and the importance of preparing sites, campaigns, and other platforms in the face of an upcoming software release.