As part of Apple’s multi-faceted event held on October 16, 2014, the company officially released OS X Yosemite to the general public. Apple had previously made a public beta of the OS available for the first time in the company’s history, and this seems to have helped boost initial adoption rates slightly beyond what was observed for OS X Mavericks back in 2013.
To quantify the first week of OS X Yosemite adoption, Chitika Insights sampled tens 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 from October 16 through October 22, 2014. For comparison, the first week of OS X Mavericks and Mountain Lion adoption data we catalogued in previous years are overlaid on the same graph.
The day OS X Yosemite was released, more than 1% of total North American Mac OS X-based Web traffic was already being generated by users of the new version. This is more than double the North American adoption rate of Mavericks or Mountain Lion going into their respective release dates. However, that advantage was relatively short lived, with both OS X Yosemite and Mavericks posting remarkably similar adoption rates by the end of their respective first post-launch weeks.
The adoption rate of OS X Mountain Lion lags noticeably behind that of both Mavericks and Yosemite, likely primarily due to the latter two OS versions being available to users at no cost, while Mountain Lion sported a $19.99 price tag following its debut in 2012.
With these data points in mind, it’s clear that the free upgrade model continues to assist Apple in posting impressive rates of OS X adoption. This is particularly beneficial for Apple when it comes to Yosemite, as the OS boasts a much tighter integration with iOS, a pillar of the company’s longer-term strategy. The higher adoption rates of these free upgrades, and their benefits to the associated ecosystem, hasn’t been lost on Apple’s competitors. Rumors have been swirling that Microsoft will make its subsequent iterations of Windows free to consumer users, if not business users. While this would represent a substantial change to Microsoft’s revenue model, it speaks to the level of success Apple and others have realized with free software upgrade programs in recent years.