Since launching last July, sales of OS X 10.7 Lion have been through the roof. During Apple’s iPhone 4S event in early October, CEO Tim Cook explained that Lion was already running on 10% of the Mac customer base after only two weeks. In contract, Cook said, it took Windows 7 twenty weeks to reach a 10% penetration rate. As for sales figures, users downloaded over 6 million copies of Lion in about 3 months.
And though OS X 10.7 is still very fresh, Apple appears to have already begun internal testing/use on OS X 10.8. MacRumors today posted the screenshot above detailing the uptick in visitors using OS X 10.8 since this past August.
While it is trivial to falsify these records, the requests originated from Apple, Inc. IP addresses and surrounding areas. Also, the overall clustering is consistent with limited internal testing. We saw a very similar pattern for the early OS X 10.7 requests which began in October, 2009.
With that information in tow, let’s do a quick comparison.
MacRumors first noted OS X 10.7 requests in October 2009. One year later, Apple showcased some of the upcoming features in OS X Lion during their October 2010 “Back to the Mac” Event. A few months later, OS X Lion was released into the wild in July of 2011.
So if we assume that OS X 10.8 will follow the same pattern, perhaps we’ll see a preview of its features sometime during the Fall of 2012 followed by a full-fledged release during the Summer of 2013. This would correspond to Apple’s historic OS X release schedule wherein it releases major OS X updates every two years.
MacRumors also ponders what Apple might call OS X 10.8 and if it will stick to its pattern of using big cat names. With the biggest ones already having been used – Jaguar, Lion, Panther, Tiger etc. – Apple doesn’t have many options left.
“While Apple had previously trademarked the names “Lynx” and “Cougar”,” MacRumors explains, “the company has since abandoned those trademarks.”