Is iOS Fragmenting? Not Nearly as Much as Android.
The company this week published a chart breaking down iTunes App Store usage by operating system, demonstrating that most of the iOS user base is running the latest version of the OS. According to Apple’s metrics, 93 percent of its customers use iOS 6, six percent are on iOS 5, and the remaining one percent are on a prior iteration.
That’s a vastly different usage pattern than Android’s, which, according to Google’s own statistics, show Android users scattershot across the OS’s various releases. With a 36.5 percent share of the Android user base, version 2.3 — “Gingerbread” — is the most widely used version of Google’s mobile OS. And it’s pretty dusty, having been released in late 2010. The latest available versions of Android — 4.1 and 4.2, “Jelly Bean” — claim just 33 percent of the market. Meanwhile, “Ice Cream Sandwich,” which debuted in the fall of 2011, holds 25.6 percent.
For developers, the message is clear: Build your apps for iOS, and with one API you can hit the majority of the operating system’s addressable market. Develop for Android, and there are at least three different APIs you’ll need to deal with to reach the majority of its users. To Apple, this is a significant competitive advantage, one that the company is clearly interested in raising awareness around. Back in March, Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, told Reuters that many Android users were stuck on old versions of the OS. And at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, Tim Cook made a similar point.
“This version fragmentation is terrible for developers, as many of you know,” he said. “In fact, if you do the math, you would find that iOS 6 is the world’s most popular mobile operating system. The second? A version of Android that was released in 2010.”