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The Transition to X

Some folks are discussing whether "10 million Mac OS X users" is really the same as "the transition is essentially complete." They say Apple is ignoring 60% of its market. Some simple math backs up Apple's statement.

Apple ships around 500,000 computers per quarter. Macs need a G3 and USB ports to run Panther, and such machines have been available since late 1998 - that's 22 quarters of "capable Macs." (2 in 1998, four each in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003). 22 quarters x 500,000 machines/quarter = 11 million machines capable of running Mac OS X.

If we consider that there are about 25 million active Mac users, then clearly about 14 million Mac users are using machines incapable of running Mac OS X. 11/25 = 0.44. In other words, nearly everyone capable of running Mac OS X is.

The transition is complete. Those with machines incapable of running Mac OS X will be running it when they buy a new machine. You can't market an OS to people with hardware incapable of running it - you market hardware to those people.

This isn't rumor. This isn't speculation. It's simple math. Nearly everyone capable of running Mac OS X is running it.

The transition to Mac OS X is complete.

9 Responses to "The Transition to X"

  1. That 500,000 per quarter figure doesn't sound right. Here's what I found in some quick searching. All the numbers I found were above 500,000 per quarter.

    833,000 in 2003 Q4

    771,000 in 2003 Q3

    711,000 in 2003 Q2

    808,000 in 2002 Q3

    850,000 in 2001 Q4

    1000000 in 2001 Q3

    905,000 in 2000 Q3

    MacNN's reporting of Anderson's statement makes it sound as though Apple thinks there are 20 million machines that can run Mac OS X.

  2. I know that this is true. One of my friends has been running macs forever and is still on os9 simply because she is used to it, and it does everything she needs it to do. Not everyone has to have the latest and greatest apparently 🙂

  3. Not every one of those machines is capable of running Mac OS X, and some quarters were lower than those quoted. I wonder what the actual number is, though - it's not too far off.

  4. I know of several individuals who have machines (G4's) capable of running OS X but haven't because of several reasons

    1.) Have a setup that works and don't want to mess with it.

    2.) Fear of the unknown. They haven't a clue about OS X or what it would take to recreate their current setup under OS X environment. Some haven't even heard of it (WTF?); I guess their lives take up too much of their time.

    3.) Bootleggers. Check out bitTorrent sites and see just how many people are downloading Panther.

    You can't just categorize all users into one or more theories and say all those that wanted too have and those that haven't chose to purposely not to do so and have that be the end of the discussion.

    In truth there is no real way of knowing exactly how many machines are capable of running OS X. And if there is no real way knowing then what's the point?.

  5. Actually, the Beige G3 came out in November of 97, and it is fully capable of running 10.2.8 (not Panther). Also, some quarters Apple shipped as high as 750,000 Macs. Although I agree that most Macs capable of running X do (most,) I don't quite agree with your particular facts and figures.


  6. Beyond the actual numbers, I think the point here is that app development on OS9 is finished, all new Mac software titles are OS X only and no one is buying new machines anymore intending to run the old system. In all of these real dollar and cents ways the transition is over.

  7. Mac OS X adoption

    Eric has a nice analysis of the numbers surrounding Mac OS X adoption. the reality is, some folks simply won't update to OS X, and others won't update until they replace and upgrade their machine. But as I keep pointing out in meetings, if you haven't ...

  8. I agree with the basic point (although as others pointed out the figures are slightly different). And even if there are Macs capable of running OS X, I don't know what Apple can do about it.

    What I find more disappointing is that the total Mac user base hasn't seemed to increase much over the years. If 40% equates to 10 million, that's 25 million total, which is about what Apple had a few years ago.

  9. OS 9.1 works fine for me. I also have 10.2.8 on a B&W , but I prefer my "old" 7600 w/G3-400 upgrade. The only thing 10 can do that 9 can't, because no comparable program was written for 9, is record any music to AIFF files, which is useful sometimes, for streaming radio or DRM files.

    They're both good, Apple needs to chill. Doesn't Microsoft have even a smaller percentage of Windows users that have gone to XP?