Apple is still shipping Macs with Mountain Lion, not Mavericks

Apple is still shipping Macs with Mountain Lion, not Mavericks

Summary: Not all Macs sold and shipped by Apple are being shipped with Mavericks. Even when the order page says they are. We know because we got one.


This is a little thing, but it was odd enough that I thought some of you might want to know.

Not Mavericks
What's wrong with this picture? These are not the bits you're looking for.

As I mentioned yesterday, I ordered a brand-new, highly maxed out iMac directly from Apple. I waited until after the October 22 Apple event because I wanted to base my decision on the iMac vs. the Mac Pro on as much information as possible.

I placed my order on Monday 10/28 and it arrived today. I fully expected it to be running Mavericks because the iMac I ordered was not a common build and because Apple was all about Mavericks and its immediate availability.

Imagine my surprise when I booted up the brand new iMac and it was running 10.8.4. Not even 10.8.5, which released more than a month ago. 10.8.4.

I ran an update, which got it to 10.8.5 and made a nice restore image of the Mountain Lion installation.

I'm still waiting for Mavericks to download from the Mac App Store.

So there you go. If you order a brand-new Mac, it might not be running the latest version of Mac OS X. I was particularly surprised, because when I ordered the machine from the Apple Store, the spec information called out Mavericks as included. Thankfully, the rest of the order is correct.

Apple's attention to detail is supposed to be legendary. Maybe not so much anymore.

Stay tuned. More to report soon from my project attempting to push the limits on an iMac. 

Topic: Apple


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • Re: Apple is still shipping Macs with Mountain Lion....

    This comes as no great surprise. I would have thought Mountain Lion is still being shipped on the non-retina MacBook Pro. as it has not received an update this year.

    In light of this it is likely that the non-retina MacBook Pro will soon be discontinued.
    • They did discontinue the 15 inch variant

      I think they're just keeping it around for the price point? I don't see any updates coming with their current designs. I suppose it does also hold a nice I he in the apple line up for those that like the more traditional laptop with optical drive and user replaceable optical, hard drives as well as RAM?

      As for shipping mountain lion, they do this every year, just in the past the new OS was free to those who purchased in a certain window of launch. It's no different to PC OEMs - go into PC world right after a launch and you get a PC with the older version installed and a free upgrade to the version. When I went into PC world to buy windows 7 near launch they were selling laptops with windows 7 installed, windows vista installed, netbooks with XP and a NetBook that had a free upgrade to windows 7 starter but that had co installed - that's 4 variants of windows. I think consumers are more used to this than we give credit for. So long as they can upgrade from their running system and don't have to pay again, it's relatively painless. The downside would be users that don't realise or who aren't informed by sales staff.

      I'd imagine if you went into apple in September all the iPads had iOS 6 on. (As they changed their whole iphone lineup over night I'd assume they all shipped 7)
  • No one will notice

    No need to worry.
    Sean Foley
    • Sean Foley: "No one will notice"

      Actually, some iMac users that aren't ZDNet bloggers might not notice that their kit shipped with Mountain Lion. Which could be a problem. Has Apple released security updates for Mountain Lion yet? You know, those fixes that were included with Mavericks.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • OS X Mountain Lion

    Can you either dual-boot Mountain Lion and Mavericks or run Mountain Lion as a guest OS in Parallels (or some other VM) software?

    Assuming, of course, that Apple releases security updates for Mountain Lion that were included with Mavericks.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Re: Can you either dual-boot

      Of course you can.

      You can also boot OS X from any number of externally connected drives, ever USB sticks. Whatever you chose. You can also boot it in VMs etc.

      Mountain Lion and Mavericks are different actually, so they will eventually have different fixes. But Apple has released already updates to Mountain Lion, after releasing Maverick, so the answer to your wondering is: yes.
      • Not true

        >>But Apple has released already updates to Mountain Lion, after releasing Maverick...

        They have not. All the vulnerabilities disclosed as fixed in Mavericks remain unpatched in Mountain Lion
        • Huh?

          He didn't say they patched everything, he said they've released patches to ML after Mavericks was released. As in... Mavericks was released, and even after that they're supporting ML. That's not false, stop spreading misinformation.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • No, they haven't

            They haven't issued a single update to ML since the release of Mavericks
          • Didn't they recently

            release a supplemental update for 10.8.5?
            Michael Alan Goff
          • Not that I see

            That would be the update below: It's basically a driver patch for very recent iMacs. It addresses none of the dozens of vulnerabilities that they patched in Mavericks on 10/22 (now 18 days ago). Since it addresses a conspicuous problem and Apple is still shipping this version of OS X I guess they figured this was different. If you ask me, it's just further evidence that they're not going to patch the big things anymore.

            The iMac OS X v10.8.5 Supplemental Update 1.0 is recommended for iMacs (Late 2013) using NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics and running OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.5.

            This update:

            Fixes an issue that may cause external drives to be ejected after the computer goes to sleep
            Fixes an issue that may prevent certain USB Bluetooth adapters from working
          • Well, yes

            Not every vulnerability will ever be patched.

            I also admit I was wrong.

            I don't think they're going to just forget ML, though. I get the feeling they'll get at least one more update within the next six or so months. Just a feeling.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • cite one

            Please, come up with a list. The closest thing I can see is that they updated Safari for ML at the same time as Mavericks, but it's probably the same exact binary and they've always updated Safari separate from OS X
      • Re: Booting OS X from External Drives....

        Indeed I have a fully fledged OS X Mountain Lion installation booting from an External USB 3.0 Hard Drive with no reduction in performance.

        High Definition stored on the OS X External Drive are played with ease when connected up to my iMac.
    • Errrr....

      Unless you buy a full license, you can't. The free upgrade from Mtl Lion to Mavericks assumes you are upgrading and not using the upgrade for a fresh install in a dual boot or VM setup.
  • Apple just wants you to experience...

    …how painless it is to do an OS upgrade on a Mac.
  • Inventory Management?

    So.. You are going to say that they have their inventory control down to a week to get products in a box and out to you. Things to keep in mind include you have the iMac which is one of the slower moving products, which also happens to be one of the larger products which probably still is assembled in China and takes a bit to cross the ocean on boat. The development time was a bit more crunched and so Mavericks wasn't able to be loaded onto the last few batches of iMacs that shipped out. Fortunately this is a free upgrade, so putting the latest OS on a device isn't as important.
    • So then don't say it has Mavericks

      Pretty simple, just say it doesn't have Mavericks, say it has a free upgrade to Mavericks in the spec sheet.
      Stuart Becktell
      • Um, what‽

        Who said it has Mavericks? The spec sheet for that model says CLEARLY that it ships with 10.8.
  • Apple used to include an upgrade disk...

    ..this isn't really new for Apple, though in the past if a new OS came out and there was older stock left to ship out, they would include a disk in the box so you could do the upgrade once you fire it up.

    Even if your machine was physically built after Mavericks came out, I'm sure Apple would be plowing through their stock of hard-drives that already have the older Mac OS X image loaded on them, and then having you upgrade after the fact rather than spend the time (and expense) re-imaging all those hard drives themselves.