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Lion still just third most popular version of OS X

updated 03:20 pm EDT, Wed September 28, 2011

Over 8 percent still using unsupported software

Lion is still only the third most popular version of OS X, according to Chitika. New weekly data produced by the analytics firm puts Lion at just 14.18 percent of the market, compared with Snow Leopard, which remains dominant at 55.54 percent. Even Leopard -- now nearly four years old -- has greater representation at 22.23 percent.

Chitika does remark however that Lion has almost doubled its share in a space of two months; the OS was only released on July 20th. Adoption is likely being spurred by Apple's decision to keep upgrade pricing at $30, making the transition relatively inexpensive. By contrast, upgrading from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7 costs at least $120.

Another notable point in the data is the percentage of people using versions of OS X prior to Leopard. 5.13 percent continue to use Tiger, which dates back to 2005, and 2.92 percent remain on still earlier platforms. Combined the figures mean that over 8 percent of Mac users are running an OS no longer supported by Apple, which typically favors only its latest products and the editions immediately prior.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Maybe if they fix the things that used to work and now don't...maybe it would gain greater popularity. Maybe it's the App Store - that people don't like that method of software distribution. Maybe it's because Lion added some visual ugliness.

    But it could be worse. We could be using Windows (any version).

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    deeply flawed

    Trying to make a convertible tow trash is just not a good idea.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Makes sense

    Leopard people on PPCs are stuck there, and well, most people don't read tech news sites and aren't even aware that Lion exists let alone understand why they would want to upgrade.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Quote: "Lion is still only the third most popular version..." - uhm, what? "Still"? Ever stopped to consider that the bIoody thing has just been out for TWO MONTHS? Bit premature to basically call it a failure, isn't it?

  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lion even prohibits...

    Intel Macs that are pre-Core2. I don't think that a good number customers are unwilling to upgrade so much as unable to do so. Wondering how many of the Mac computer purchases since Lion's release are people "upgrading" their OS via hardware???

  1. graxspoo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Compare it to Snow Leopard

    Here is an article about Snow Leopard adoption over half the time span:
    Snow Leopard adoption was quite a bit higher by any metric. This makes sense to me. 10.6 was a no-brainer if you had hardware that supported it. It was cheap and offered better performance. While some may see things in Lion they want, there's a lot to turn users off as well. It's a mixed bag. (I've seen several "How to make Lion act more like Snow Leopard" articles for example.) Also Apple changed-up the distribution channel, so people may not even be aware how to upgrade. Personally I'm sticking with 10.6 for now.

  1. chas_m




    As pointed out by the other commenters, some implied conclusions in the article aren't supportable. At this point in the cycle, there's a small but significant percentage of people who *can't* upgrade beyond Leopard till they upgrade their hardware (at a guess I'd put it at nearly 20 percent -- adding those running older versions plus half of those running Leopard).

    Taking those people out of the mix, you have Leopard at 14 percent, Snow at 66 percent and Lion at nearly 20 percent. This seems perfectly normal to me given how recently Lion was released and how slow most non-geek Mac owners are at upgrading. The nonsense about Lion being inferior is exactly that -- complete nonsense, but Snow Leopard works/worked great, so there is a little less motivation to change. Lion has some great new features, but it's mostly style changes as far as the public is concerned -- no obvious "this makes your life way better" aspect the way the move to Intel-optimized Snow offered.

    Check back after six months and I think you'll see Lion where Leopard is now, if not a lot higher. For my own part, Lion turned my 2007 Core2 into a whole new Mac (and I love it).

  1. panjandrum

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Hopefully Apple will see this as the indicator it is; an indicator that many people are unhappy with Lion. The independent Apple shops and computer support specialists in my area are not recommending that people upgrade. I work with 50+ Mac users every single working day, and not a single one (this is the literal truth, I am not exaggerating to make a point), likes Lion. Those who made the upgrade reverted back, and those who saw the "upgraded" systems running first decided not to upgrade themselves. Speaks volumes about the "quality" of the "Back to the Mac" Lion experience. (For at least a few of the users, the elimination of the "All Windows" mode in Expose alone was enough to make them back away from Lion). All in all, I'm happy to see this. I put it on right away since I support a lot of Mac users, and immediately disliked almost everything about it. Since then I found it more and more annoying every day and have also moved back to SL for all my daily tasks, only booting into Lion when I have to look at a specific feature to help someone else with it. It's nice to see this disapointment supported by the vast majority of other Mac users around me (give me hope that I'm not just getting old and set in my ways! :)

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple went too far

    All my Macs I've ever bought are all still working, and most of them work fine despite not being able to run Lion. Even those that could run Lion need Rosetta to run PPC apps. As for buying it as a download, I'm afraid I want something tangible. I want a DVD. The old family pack was much better value than the new idea of making two different family members with different iTunes IDs pay twice.

    I was going to buy a new Mac mini but it can only run the Lion OS - no downgrade to Snow Leopard possible. OK, there are tutorials out there telling you how to downgrade, but most also complain about only getting 25% of the performance the great new minis offer with Lion - and no Thunderbolt. The performance doesn't come from Lion though, 2011 iMacs that have upgraded to Lion actually run slower with Lion than they do with Snow Leopard.

    Then there's the silly merger of iOS features into OS X. Yes, there are lots of tutorials on the net showing how to reverse these, but some of them are not reversible. Some are only gimmicks anyway - why mess with the direction of scrolling for instance? That just shows a lack of real ideas.

    Then there's the change from Mobile Me to iCloud and the loss of important features such as the Gallery, iDisk and so on, the lack of choice of what pictures to put in the cloud or the lack of control of which machines to put content on, but this doesn't specifically stop people buying Lion, but iCloud was announced at the same time so it feels like a part of the OS.

    Add to that little lot the many problems with reliability of this that or the other feature - basic features like wireless connections - and there's no wonder people aren't buying Lion.

    Apple are pretty good at stopping existing customers buy more stuff though. Moving to glossy only displays has stopped many people buying iMacs due to the problems of reflections. The new Mac mini stops me buying the machine as I said because of Lion. I didn't like the iPhone 4 design so didn't buy it - I drop phones a lot and glass on two sides was just a crazy idea. I'm hopeful about the new iPhone 5 but can't help worrying it'll need to sync with Lion only, which since Lion isn't ready for serious use yet I won't be getting.

    I'll just keep on using my five year old Macs on Leopard/Snow Leopard and 3 year old iPhone on iOS 3. And I would have spent so much more money, except for Apple's strategy.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2011


    comment title

    I love Lion, it works great on my hackint0sh, though the one thing I HATED about it was that at first, it could only be installed via the App Store. I don't do that, its either clean install or no install regardless of what I'm installing it on. Upgrades are not the way to go and its absolutely shameful to see Apple, the leader in operating systems, release an OS with no official way to fresh install. Now that it's available on a USB drive it should start picking up popularity.

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