Apple's latest desktop operating system - Mac OS X Lion - is off to a strong start and is expected to be a runaway success for the technology giant.

Probably, within the first 15 hours, about 650K to 720K Mac OS X Lion have been installed by the customers, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry wrote in a note to clients.

Most of the installations ramp up occurred by the word-of-mouth, with Apple creating a social feature within its Mac OS X Lion Installation called Tell a Friend.

Our research indicates that when a person installed the Mac OS X Lion, on an average, he told 3 of his friends to install Mac OS X Lion, Chowdhry added.

On July 20, Cupertino, California-based Apple announced that its Mac OS X Lion would be available for download from Mac App Store for $29.99.

Mac OS X Lion, which a 4GB download, comes with more than 250 new features including mission control, full screen apps, picture-in-picture zoom, international braille tables in a wide range of languages, iPhoto faces, FaceTime calling from the address book, and social networking incorporated into the address book.

Chowdhry said probably USA was the slowest at an average of 45 minutes to download the software, while Japan was the fastest, with an average of 20 minutes to download the software. On an average it took another 20 minutes to 25 minutes to install Mac OS X Lion on the computer.

He also said customers liked the following 3 features:

Mission Control - Mission Control will allow the users to arrange all open windows, apps, Expose, and Spaces, and Dashboard, and give a bird's-eye view of everything on the system.

Full Screen Apps - It helps to run the application in full screen mode. One can have multiple full-screen apps running at the same time. Each app stays full screen even when one switches to another app or to the desktop.

Launchpad - Launchpad would help user to organize the various applications purchased from Mac Store. Each folder holds up to 32 apps and users can add new pages as numbers of apps increases.