Microsoft may have the numbers, but one thing Apple is really good about is getting people to shift their Macs over to the latest and greatest version of OS X in a timely manner.
For example, even though OS X Mountain Lion was only released in July, over 25% of all Macs ran it by October. OS X 10.5 Leopard hovers at a little less than 10%, while OS X Lion is on about 30% of all Macs.
What’s most surprising, though, is what operating system ties OS X Lion for the most popular version of OS X: OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard.
In a recent poll made of unique visitors to almost 40,000 websites, Net Applications found that Snow Leopard had maintained a surprising popularity over the last few years, despite having been released way back in in August of 2009.
It’s easy to see why it’s still so popular. For one thing, it’s the last version of OS X to run on 32-bit processors, and it’s also the last version of OS X to not be heavily inspired by iOS. It’s also a remarkably backwards compatible operating system, since it’s also the last version of OS X to support running Carbon application.
I’m a huge fan of OS X Snow Leopard. I’d find it hard to go back, but there’s little doubt in my mind that it’s the most streamlined and efficient operating system Apple’s ever done. With Snow Leopard, Cupertino chose to do something unique, and focus an operating system update on stability and refinement, not new features. No wonder it’s still so popular.