Apple now publishing iOS fragmentation data on developer site

By on June 21, 2013, 4:00 PM

Mirroring a similar initiative by Google -- and perhaps intended as a swipe at Android -- Apple has started charting the state of iOS fragmentation on its public developer page. The data, collected from Apple’s App Store during the 14-day period ending June 3, is quite telling. Only one percent of devices are still running a version older than iOS 5, released in October 2011, while 6% are currently on iOS 5 and 93% run the most recent iOS 6.

Being able to run the latest operating system on devices over three years old is big plus for many users -- even if not all features are carried over due to hardware limitations. But it’s also a major deal for developers who can focus their efforts on supporting the latest iOS version knowing nearly everyone will be able to take advantage of its features.

Android fragmentation has long been an issue for Google’s platform for a number of reasons. From manufacturers adopting the software and layering their own UI on top, to carriers enforcing bloatware on devices and restricting updates. Another reason is the fact that Android has a big install base on lower-end handsets and feature phones, not just high-end hardware, thus many of them are unable to handle the latest OS version.

But it’s getting better. According to the latest data from the same 14-day period ending June 3, Android 4.1 and 4.2 “Jelly Bean” are finally getting close to overtaking Gingerbread at 33% versus 36.5% for the aging release.

Another way Google is addressing the issue involves releasing ‘pure’ Android variants of the most popular handsets on the market. Aside from their own Nexus 4, they’ve already announced pure Android versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, and rumors suggest the Sony Xperia Z is next in line. The phones run the latest 4.2.2 version of Google’s mobile OS and should receive future updates as they become available.

User Comments: 7

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Guest said:

Well it's true that Android is fragmented with so many different providers and manufacturers.

Guest said:

It boils down to the size of the changes. You can put out a new version every two years and have fewer versions, but people have to wait a long time for new features or you can put out versions faster so your users get newer functionality faster.

The phone a user buys has the functionality they bought. If a phone does not upgrade to a newer release of software, the user still has all the functionality they bought.

Do all versions of IOS work on all versions of iPhones?

Do you have multiple vendors that make all types of different phones for Apple?

Do you have the widest possible selection of phones and features with Apple?

JC713 JC713 said:

Wow IOS fragmentation is less than I expected.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Id like to see a study asking if people would prefer to go back to an older version of iOS (or any operating system for that matter.

I updated my iphone 4 to 5.1.1 and I noticed my device was much slower with general use, worse battery life (Yes, I turned off everything I didn't use) And it gave me features that I don't use like facebook integration and twitter.

Fortunately I was able to downgrade because I was jail-broken before I updated...but I really hated 5.1.1.

I wonder, if given the chance, would people revert back to an older version?

Guest said:

Don't forget!

After the release of a new iOS all the updated apps will soon need the new iOS to function.

So.... People upgrade.

Not all Android apps need the new version of android to function.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Why is it that a lot of Apple users sign in as 'Guest'? Don't bother, I think I already know the answer to that question. If I was an Apple user, I'd also like to remain anonymous.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

What we need is another two pie charts to provide some context: price-per-device and device-age.

Without that, Apple can shove their stupid graph somewhere.

"Oh, I updated to iOS 6, everything is laggy as hell, better upgrade to latest iPhone!"

"Oh dear, 80% of the top apps don't work on my very outdated and insecure iOS5, I definitely must upgrade."

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