Several months back, I published a blog called “Uncovering iOS Distribution Trends” to help shed some light on the state of iOS fragmentation (or lack thereof). This is juicy information that our Marketing and Mobile teams utilize to make important decisions about which OS’ to support, when to advise our clients to upgrade their apps, and which devices/OS’ to test our apps on. The problem is, Apple isn’t as transparent about their usage and distribution data as Google is, I suppose because fragmentation is rarely an issue due to the company’s effective approach to new device and iOS launches.
After digging around in my favorite mobile technology blogs, forums and news sites, I came across a blog written by app developer David Smith, creator of the Audiobooks apps. Smith utilized download and upgrade statistics from the massive pool of Audiobooks users to generate a representation of iOS usage trends.
David recently updated his blog with a weekly segment dedicated entirely to this data titled “iOS Version Stats”. This information is updated every Monday, and reflects active unique users each day across all Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch).
We can see here that the adoption of iOS 5 has fluctuated between about 64-82% of Audiobooks users throughout the summer. This might come as a surprise, as Smith’s data from March to April 2012 showed a steep trend of iOS 5 upgrades, and was right around 82% on April 15, 2012. We would expect that upgrades to iOS 5 would either taper off and remain steady around 80% or continue to increase towards 100% adoption. However, I suspect that Apple’s announcement of the impending release of iOS 6 in fall of 2012 during WWDC this June may have contributed to iOS 5 updates losing steam. Upgrades to iOS 5 will likely hold steady or even continue to taper off slightly throughout the summer as the release of iOS 6 approaches.
It is important to note that the oldest iOS versions, 3, 4 and 4.1, are all hovering under 10%. The same cannot be said for Android distribution. Gingerbread (2.3-2.3.7), which was released on December 6, 2010, still dominates 64% of Android devices. About a year later, Android came out with Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0-4.0.4), touting significant upgrades to the UI, browser, camera and speech recognition. Due mostly to the inconsistencies among the 100+ Android Devices on the market, the rollout of Ice Cream Sandwich has been painfully slow and the OS has failed to claim more than 11% of Android users. Now that the Jelly Bean (4.1) rollout has already begun, it’s likely that many Gingerbread users will update directly to Jelly Bean when they can, skipping Ice Cream Sandwich altogether.