Ad network: OS X is becoming fragmented

Ad network: OS X is becoming fragmented

Summary: The issue is that developers will have to code their apps to work with four major versions of OS X to be compatible with the largest number of Mac users.


Online ad network Chitika Insights has some stunning new data about the fragmentation of OS X. Its latest report on Mac OS X version distribution contains some notable findings.

  • OS X Lion/10.7 (28.0 percent) and Snow Leopard/10.6 (35.1 percent) have greater shares of Mac OS X web traffic than Mountain Lion/10.8 (26.8 percent)

  • Mountain Lion/10.8 has increased by 16 percent over the past 7 months to 26.8 percent, but that's still less than 10.6 and 10.7.

Ad network: OS X is becoming fragmented - Jason O'Grady
(Image: Chitika Insights)

With OS X 10.9 expected to be released later this year, the data points to developers having to deal with a more widely distributed Mac OS environment for the foreseeable future. The full report is available on the Chitika Insights website.

The problem is that after 10.9 is released, developers will need to code their applications to work with the "big four" desktop versions of OS X:

  • 10.9 (name TBD)

  • 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

  • 10.7 (Lion)

  • 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

While not as daunting as trying to develop an app for all the flavors of Android hardware on the market, Apple can't afford to lose any developers by making it more difficult to code for the OS X platform.

Apple drops support for older hardware with each OS release, which is part of the reason why many users don't upgrade to the latest version of OS X. (The system requirements for OS X Mountain Lion limit it to Macs with 64-bit GPUs, for example.) But it's unlikely that Apple's going to stop or slow its planned obsolescence cycle.

In addition to adding a lot of new "must-have" features, Apple should consider giving away upgrades to OS X 10.9 for free in order to entice more users to upgrade.

Topics: Apple, Operating Systems, Software Development

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  • This Is What Happens When You Leave OS Upgrades Up To The OEMs

    If the platform owner, instead of the OEMs, is directly responsible for upgrading everybody, then this would never happen.

    Oh, wait...
    • No you had it right

      When a company relies on selling hardware to make their fortune they need users to continue upgrading and replacing their hardware. There is little incentive to support older hardware if it is going to work against your bottom line.
      • Huh?

        Mountain Lion could be put on Macs from 2008, and people have even been able to get it on some that Apple deemed "not supported"

        Yeah, no PPC will be on there... but that'd be like complaining that I can't load Windows 7 on an ARM tablet.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • Intel and PPC, it's more complicated

          Leopard stops at PPC. Snow Leopard drops PPC but gets all Intel. Lion gets most Intel. MLion drops a lot of early Intels. And it looks like 64bit boot is the new minimum. So there will be a lot of Leopard, SL, and Lion for a long time. As most of those machines keep on trucking. Especially the Intels as most new "free" software has Intel as a cutoff.
  • Most likely it's pricing.

    Apple has always been known to gouge their user base at every opportunity. The proprietary nature of all Apple products is probably why I've always stayed away from iOS devices. Personally, after eight years as a Mac user, I'm a little tired of it and will probably migrate back to a Linux based system. It also helps that virtualization has advanced to such a high level of competence, that putting up with anyone proprietary BS is no longer really necessary - thank god.
    • Gouging?

      "Apple has always been known to gouge their user base at every opportunity."

      The upgrade price is ~AUD$30 and that allows for the upgrade of up to 5 devices. How can that possibly be "gouging"?

      If you really are an Apple user, then you would know that and you wouldn't have made such a blatantly stupid comment!
      • It's best to ignore the idiots

        though I have to admit they give me a good laugh.
        Laraine Anne Barker
      • Sorry, did I hurt your feelings?

        If you'd actually bought any of Apple's hardware and peripherals you might not act like such a cry baby. Putting aside the premium you are expected to pay for Apple hardware, having to pay for minor OS upgrades, all the time, seems a little over the top to me - just because they give it a new name doesn't mean it's a major improvement. Now let's talk software. When was the last time Apple brought a major software package to their platform? I can't think of anything other then MS Office (and they've had that forever), can you? I've been relying on Parallels and, (primarily) Vmware for far too long and after EIGHT years I'm fairly certain that Apple is putting zero effort into it. So why should I always be paying a premium for their products when I'm forced to rely on a virtual machine and a copy of MS Windows just to have a decent selection of programs? No, I like OS X just fine, it's a great operating system, I just wish Apple would support it properly.
        • Wrong computer!

          If you've had to use Parallels and Fusion for 8 years to get your stuff done, then you have the wrong computer.

          You should have sold your Mac whilst it was still worth something and bought a PC.

          If you have upgraded to a new Mac in that time, then you are a fool for spending even more money on a computer that doesn't work for you.
          • Says Who?

            At least Macs are worth something, unlike a PC. Upgrading a new Mac all the time isn't necessarily foolish. It depends on what you are doing and looking for. I can tell you I have upgraded my system every year. The old ones I've given away (yes, given away freely) to people who need them. I don't see it as a waste, and I certainly don't think that makes me foolish. I doubt the person you were responding to was foolish either, just simply unaware of the fact that you can indeed install windows natively on a mac these days.
        • Virtualization Not Required

          Why are you using VMware and Parallels? Just dual boot if you have to use windows, being that you have the capacity to do so. When was the last time Apple brought a major software package to their platform? Well, I would consider Mac OS X to be such. Why change an interface if it's been working well for the past 8 years? Look at windows. They did good with Windows 7 and XP, but it seems every other system they pump out (at I believe 2-4 years time) it is totally screwed up. Here's Mac OS X, still going after 8 years in the making, and actually well after that. I believe they came out with it in 2000. Regardless, why should you pay a premium for their products? Because you can literally run anything you want on a Mac, without requiring virtualization of any kind. You made the decision to go that route, not Apple. They provided you an opportunity to dual boot if you wanted to and you chose not to. Don't blame Apple for your choices.
    • most likely is nothing

      have 10.5.8 and 10.7.4 in 2 computers, reality I don't need to upgrade the first one, even if I will, eventually.

      And I'm not, in any case being "gouged". Every OSX iteration is perfectly capable for my needs, I don't need to upgrade just because there is a new OS in town.
    • Aging hardware is not compatible with the upgrades....

      I've got two iMacs. The one I bought in 2011 is running OS X 10.8.3. The one I bought in April of 2006 is running OS X 10.6.8. Each is the highest level OS that can be run on the hardware. My record for running a Windows/Linux machine was 5 years. My wife runs the older machine every day and sees no reason for me to upgrade it. Amazing.
      • Exactly

        Not my PCs that would/could run that long. My 2007 MBP is still cruising along 10.6.8 as well.
  • @Jason O'Grady?

    "In addition to adding a lot of new "must have" features, Apple should consider giving away upgrades to OS X 10.9 for free in order to entice more users to upgrade."

    Not a bad idea, but the price of OS X is already incredibly cheap - AUD$30 for up to 5 devices. So, would your idea really solve the problem? I wonder if the real problem is the requirement to download the latest OS X versions across the Internet?
  • many unaccounted for reasons to

    Why not just accept, that some users are either lazy or simply do not care. I have cases like this around me, who already have the upgrade but are too lazy to upgrade (all of their computers).

    Then, OS X versions aren't that different to code for. More or less the same API is available across the board and you can of course check on what version you run and enable version specific features (such as iCloud integration, Facebook and Twitter integration etc minor tweaks) only if you on an OS that supports these.

    The rest of the APIs are identical. Which can't be said about most other platforms.
  • I'm always well behind the times, Jason

    but I'm surprised that so many people are still using Tiger. I upgraded to Lion only because I needed to use some software that wasn't available for Snow Leopard. There are things I don't like about OS X (I LOATHE the dock for instance; much prefer to open an app or change to another app with keyboard shortcuts) and I'd have it out of sight permanently if I could, but I realise most people love it or Apple would get rid of it. Don't like Launch Pad either.
    Laraine Anne Barker
    • Hide the Dock...

      (I LOATHE the dock for instance... and I'd have it out of sight permanently if I could...)

      Go to the Apple menu...
      Go Dock...
      Choose Turn Hiding On.

      The Dock will only appear when you mouse over it. Otherwise, it's out of sight. :-)
  • Rosetta.

    Many companies like mine still have program/applications that were written in PPC which the company are not updating to Intel or don't exist to update them. We have many functional, but old, test instruments that we use for our research lab that we also can't afford to replace so I keep Mac OS 10.6 (aka Snow Leopard) so I can still access these programs/applications to access these systems.
    I was a pain for us for us to migrate some user to newer systems without Rosetta. I wished that Apple would put put Rosetta as in additional install for the newer operating systems so I can upgrade to them.
    • Upgrade Rosetta, Apple!

      I would consider upgrading from 10.6.8, too, but I have hundreds (thousands?) of documents created and *formatted* in AppleWorks over the years, so many so that I can't bear the thought of all the page formatting **mishaps** whenever Pages is set to open one. Margins, headers, footers, etc.—anything set by me beyond AW's "default" settings, AFAIK—thrown ALL out of whack on many, many pages that I had the spacing set up *exactly* for my *exact* needs.
      Boo. How hard would it be for Apple to get Rosetta to keep on working? Maybe there IS some kind of coding issue at work here, but for now I feel pretty stuck until I decide to open many, many of my older AW files, one at a time, correct and then then save in Pages.
      There's never been any explanation other than Apple doesn't support Rosetta anymore. Planned obsolescence indeed! Oh, well...