Developer interest in OS X Yosemite had already outpaced its predecessor, OS X Mavericks, one month following its unveiling at WWDC 2014. Apple subsequently released a public beta of the new OS on July 24, 2014, and North American Web traffic data show associated usage rates rising significantly.

UPDATE (7/28/14): Following the launch of the OS X Yosemite public beta on July 24, 2014, North American Web traffic data show associated usage rates rising significantly. Pre-release figures hovered between 0.2% and 0.3% before promptly jumping to more than 0.6% on July 25. Assuming that most of the 1 million redemption codes have been claimed, it’s unlikely that Yosemite’s share of total Mac OS X Web traffic will grow much further beyond current usage rates while the OS remains in beta. However, the new program has undoubtedly helped boost overall Yosemite activity within the U.S. and Canada.

ORIGINAL POST (7/9/14): Apple unveiled the initial build of its latest desktop operating system at the company’s worldwide developer conference (WWDC) in early June 2014. With a bevy of new features, including a tighter integration with other Apple devices and services, on top of some user interface changes, many considered Yosemite to represent a dramatic change for Apple in the desktop arena. Subsequent developer interest seems to have been equally striking, as initial adoption figures of the OS beta version in North America have significantly outpaced those of its predecessor, OS X Mavericks.

To quantify adoption of OS X Yosemite Developer Preview editions, Chitika Insights sampled hundreds of millions of U.S. and Canadian Mac OS X-based online ad impressions running through the Chitika Ad Network. The data used within the analysis were drawn from impressions catalogued between June 2 and July 2, 2014. To provide a historical comparison with OS X Mavericks Developer Preview adoption, an additional analysis was performed on impressions catalogued between June 10 and July 10, 2013. The data points were then plotted on a three-day rolling average for the purposes of clarity.

In the three days following the release of the first OS X Yosemite Developer Preview, adoption jumped significantly – hitting 0.15% of total U.S. and Canadian Mac OS X Web traffic. That figure is particularly impressive considering that adoption of the OS X Mavericks Developer Preview achieved only a 0.05% share after 30 days. The increased level of aggregate activity for Yosemite is likely partially driven by the prominent changes present in this OS version fueling a higher degree of developer curiosity and experimentation. The changes to Safari in particular may be prompting a greater amount of Web usage from current users in terms of testing and customization.

Looking at the patterns across the graph, the brief share jump experienced by both Yosemite and Mavericks slightly over two weeks following their respective debuts corresponds with Apple’s release of second Developer Preview editions. While it’s somewhat less clear what drove the smaller share rise for OS X Yosemite in late June 2014, the timing does correspond with the news that Apple is set to retire its Aperture photo software with the release of the new OS.

Viewing the larger Mac OS X ecosystem puts Yosemite’s current impact into some perspective, as users of the now nine-year old OS X Tiger still generate more Web traffic than Yosemite users. Meanwhile, Mavericks’ share has grown to 45.7% – an increase of close to 6 percentage points since our study in March 2014, with Lion and Mountain Lion usage share shrinking over the same time frame. 

Overall, the data point to a promising future for OS X Yosemite. In the short term, we expect the operating system’s usage share to grow in the wake of the release of the third Developer Preview edition on July 7, 2014. Additionally, with the increased level of developer activity thus far, along with the success of the similarly no cost OS X Mavericks, it’s very probable that OS X Yosemite adoption will outpace that of any other previous Mac desktop OS when it is released publicly later this year.