OS X Sea Lion Mavericks

On Monday, at the WWDC Keynote, Apple announced and showed off a preview of OS X 10.9 Mavericks. We've been given a rough release date of Autumn this year, but no indication of price so far.

As part of the presentation, Apple boasted of iOS 6's widespread adoption, particularly when compared to Android. Had they shown a chart for OS X itself though, I daresay things would have been a little less rosy.

There are still plenty of people — including many Karelia customers — running 10.7 or 10.6. Some are stuck there by Apple's choice of hardware compatibility, but for most it's simply a question of lacking an incentive to upgrade.

Most people don't have any desire to fork over cash to Apple for an update that offers them little in new features they directly care about (this isn't a sneer at recent OS X releases; I think it's been roughly true of all releases to date). And peraps more importantly, carries a risk of compatibility issues.

Sure, there are a solid number of us who really care about this stuff, and are almost guaranteed to update. And sure we're a hefty chunk of those who buy third party software. But for everybody else it pretty much comes down to one of these routes:

  • Moving to a new Mac with the latest OS on it
  • A relative or friend insists on performing the upgrade for them
  • They particularly need a piece of software that requires a newer OS release


iOS neatly sidesteps all of this. Updates are free, so the only obstacle is the user's time and effort (with a little bit of compatibility/bug fear thrown in to counter it). Developers for iOS know this and have a greater incentive to only target the latest release, creating a positive feedback loop that encourages everybody to get updated.

It would be FANTASTIC for us Mac developers if Apple made 10.9 a free update, creating the same effect as iOS.

But I wonder, even if it is a paid upgrade, have Apple found a decent incentive for regular users at last? By touting that Mavericks will improve battery life, something concrete that everybody actually cartes about, this could well be an incentive enough for more people to fork over their cash. So let's see what happens in the autumn!

© Mike Abdullah 2007-2015