Apple has published new usage share statistics for iPhone users, in affect begging developers creating applications to compare its platform with Google’s Android operating system.
According to the pie chart and Apple, of all the users who visited the iTunes App Store, 93% of them were using Apple devices powered by Apple’s iOS 6 (the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system). iOS 5 is running on just 6% of all devices that used the App Store over the same period. Only 1% used anything older than iOS 5.
Apple says that these statistics were compiled over a period of fourteen days ending on June 3 of this year.
As a whole these statistics seem to beg developers to compare Apple’s fragmentation statistics with those of Google’s Android operating system. By comparison, statistics released by Google show that Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean currently account for about 33% of all devices that used the Google Play Store over the same fourteen day period ending June 3. Android 2.3 accounts for nearly 37%, nearly two years after Google last updated the operating system.
While operating system statistics might seem like inside baseball for the most part, keeping platform fragmentation in check is key to attracting developers who make the latest and great applications. Because of these statistics we now know that it’s much easier for iOS developers to create an application that runs on the latest iOS and reaches the largest amount of users possible, giving them a wider audience and much higher potential profit.
On the other hand, Android developers have to contend with a near unlimited mix of devices, screen sizes, and at least four operating systems that are still very much in use. Creating an application that can be used by each one of these versions of Android takes a huge investment and effort.
Android’s operating system fragmentation is one of the reasons many believe Apple’s iOS platform is usually the first to receive the latest and greatest applications, as developers are choosing the ease of developing for a unified user base over the larger install base of Google’s Android.
Though Apple does boast a much healthier upgrade path for both users and developers, Google has been working with its largest hardware partners to create devices running their latest Android operating systems without the software add-ons that nearly all devices outside of Google’s own Nexus line ships with. Without these customizations, users and developers should expect faster updates. If Google can convince users to purchase the HTC One Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus in droves, it could drastically change its update path down the road.
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