updated 06:10 pm EDT, Thu October 24, 2013
Hits 5.5 percent adoption on first day in North American market
Apple's latest Mac OS X upgrade is seeing a quick welcome, despite some scattered reports of minor bugs. Mavericks was adopted by more than 5.5 percent of the North American OS X user base in just the first day of availability, according to online ad network Chitika. Another tracking company, GoSquared, earlier reported a less specific 6-8 percent first-day adoption rate. While the figures don't compare to iOS adoption rates, Chitika said the rate "significantly outpaces" that of Mountain Lion.
The increase works out to some four times faster a take-up of Mavericks than was seen with Mountain Lion, which took four days to reach the 5.5 percent mark. Chitika came up with the figure based on North American web traffic, but the rate is likely to be similar in other countries.
The leading factor in Mavericks' faster adoption is likely to be its pricetag -- Apple dropped the token $20 price tag it had adopted for Lion and Mountain Lion, and made Mavericks a free upgrade. "With these results in mind, it's evident that at least on the OS front, Apple's free desktop software strategy is paying dividends from an adoption standpoint," Chitika analysts wrote.
Another factor helping with adoption is that users are now trained to expect upgrades from the Mac App Store, and comfortable with the downloading and installation procedure. Apple has been more aggressive this time in notifying qualified users that Mavericks is available as an upgrade, though it is still optional.
The release does appear to have sparked may Snow Leopard and Lion users to finally take the upgrade plunge, particularly as the company has made Mavericks one of the most widely-compatible upgrades in a long time -- it is compatible with some Intel machines going back to 2007, more than six years back.
A final factor that could be playing a role is Maverick's power-conservation features, which promise that even the oldest machines capable of running the latest OS will see at least some improved battery life (about an hour on average, assuming the battery is healthy, says Apple) compared to Mountain Lion and its predecessors. Owners of the newest Haswell-equipped MacBook models are likely to see even more savings, on top of the significant improvements seen by virtue of Intel's Haswell technology.
A longer sample period of, for example, a week's adoption rate will provide a clearer picture of how well Mavericks is liked by users, since many more conservative upgraders will wait to hear from early adopters before jumping in themselves.