We could all argue until we were blue in the face on the merits of each platform’s update system, but there’s one place where iOS just has them all beat hands down: timing. If your device is going to support a big new update, you’ll pretty much always know as soon as said update is announced — and in most cases, the instant one compatible device gets the update, all compatible devices get the update.
Just 5 days after its official launch, iOS 5 is already up and running on 1 out of every 3 compatible devices.
While it’d be easy to throw these numbers up against those of Android (40% of Android devices used in the last 2 weeks are running either Gingerbread or Honeycomb, the latest builds for mobile phones/tablets respectively), the comparison would be Apples and Oranges: these numbers only include iOS 5 compatible devices (iPad 1/2, iPhone 3GS/4, iPod Touch 3rd/4th gen), where as Google’s running numbers potentially cover handsets reaching all the way back to the original T-Mobile G1.
These numbers come from the guys at Localytics, whose mobile analytics SDK is integrated into many thousands of iOS apps with a sample size they say is in the range of “tens of millions of devices.”
- 36% of iPad 2s observed are already running iOS 5
- 35% of iPhone 4s
- 33% of original iPads
- 27% of iPhone 3GS
- 23% of iPod Touch 3rd-gen
- 17% of iPod Touch 4th-gen
These numbers do not include the iPhone 4S, as that device ships with iOS 5 out of the box. Having a wildcard sitting at 100% would skew the average a bit.
I see at least two take-aways here, at first glance: A) iPod Touch owners need to plug in their damned handsets more often, and B) While iOS handset owners seem to update absurdly fast, the requirement for backwards compatibility/legacy support isn’t going anywhere.