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Early Apple OS X Mavericks adoption "significantly" outpaces Mountain Lion

Apple's move to give away OS X Mavericks, its new operating system, for free seems to be paying off when it comes to user adoption.

Some 5.5 per cent of Mac users downloaded and installed Mavericks during its first 24 hours of general availability, "significantly" outpacing its predecessor Mountain Lion, which was released in July 2012, according to new stats from online advertising firm Chitika.

In comparison, Mountain Lion reached just 1.6 per cent of Macs in its first 24 hours and took approximately four days to reach Mavericks' day-one level.

"While Mountain Lion wasn't particularly expensive, it's likely the lack of a price tag on Mavericks spurred additional users to upgrade in the early going," Chitika said.

Chitika took a sample of millions of US and Canadian Mac OS X-based online ad impressions on its network from 22-23 October and compared it to the 24-hour Mountain Lion data it gathered last year.

"Those in the tech industry saw Mavericks' pricing as a means for Apple to use its OS as more of a service-delivery mechanism rather than a product in itself, very similar to the company's strategy with iOS for mobile devices," Chitika said.

"With these results in mind, it's evident that at least on the OS front, Apple's free desktop software strategy is paying dividends from an adoption standpoint."

Mavericks contains hundreds of small tweaks that, most notably, extend battery life and improve memory on your Mac. The new OS also includes a new Maps app with fly-over looks, iBooks, as well as boosted support for multiple displays and AirPlay-connected HDTVs.