Yosemite's traffic share triples after public beta debuts

But still puny, at 0.6% of all Macs, or 6 out of every 1,000 in North America

Even though some users were unable to download Apple's OS X Yosemite public beta last week, the preview's debut resulted in a tripling of the upgrade's share of online traffic, an ad network said today.

According to Chitika, Yosemite's share of U.S. and Canadian Mac traffic on the company's online ad network more than doubled from July 24, the day Apple released the beta, to the next day, July 25.

By Friday, July 26, Yosemite's share had climbed to about 0.7% of all Macs, up from Wednesday, July 22, when the work-in-progress OS accounted for about 0.2%.

On Sunday, July 27, Yosemite's share took a dip to just over 0.6%, still triple that of the day before the beta's launch. The 0.6% would represent 60 out of every 10,000 Macs, or 6 out of every 1,000.

The increase in usage occurred in the face of problems some encountered last week in downloading the public beta from Apple's Mac App Store.

Several reports, kicked off by ZDNet blogger Ed Bott, referenced claims on Twitter, Apple's support forum and other third-party discussion groups that people had been stymied in their attempts to grab the free public beta last Thursday and Friday.

Not everyone encountered problems -- Computerworld staffers were able to grab the beta without issues -- and large-scale complaints were not sustained through the weekend, according to checks on several prominent forums, including the heavily-trafficked MacRumors.

Even so, Chitika believed that Yosemite's share of all Macs would not grow much beyond the small portion it accumulated by Saturday. "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," a company spokesman said in a Monday email.

It doesn't appear that Apple has exhausted its self-limited supply of redemption codes; as of 2 p.m. ET Monday, Apple was still giving out codes to new registrants.

When compared to Microsoft's last preview of a brand new OS, however, Yosemite has done very well.

On the evening of Sept. 13 2011, Microsoft launched what it called "Windows 8 Developer Preview," a build that, contrary to its name, was a free download available to everyone, not only developers. Within four days -- the same post-debut timeline as Chitika's measurements for OS X Yosemite today -- the Windows 8 preview's share of all Windows-powered machines topped out at around 0.035% -- or 35 out of every 100,000 PCs -- about one-seventeenth the share of all Macs for Yosemite as of Sunday.

(Chitika was asked to provide Windows 8 traffic data for February 2012, when Microsoft launched the Windows 8 Customer Preview -- analogous to a beta, and so a better match for Yosemite's sneak peek -- but the company said it did not have access to archived statistics from that month.)

But comparisons between OS X and Windows, even those that rely on shares of each platform, are risky at best: Windows runs on 1.5 billion machines worldwide, while OS X's global user base is approximately 80 million, giving the former a 19:1 edge. That means it is much tougher to move the needle on Windows since 19 times more users must have adopted a specific edition, or preview, to reach the same share as a version or preview of OS X.

Apple has not revealed a release date for Yosemite, but most outside observers, including Computerworld, expect the Cupertino, Calif. to ship the finished version in the second half of October, the same timeline used for OS X Mavericks in 2013.

Yosemite adoption
The release of a public beta of OS X Yosemite last week tripled the upgrade's share of all Macs, according to traffic data monitored by ad network Chitika. (Image: Chitika.)

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.


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