Apple's iOS 7 was released on September 18, and just over a month later, the company is already seeing the updated operating system running on two thirds of its mobile devices. That means there's big interest in the latest iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system, which translates into better standardization across the iOS platform and less consumer support issues -- two things Google's Android OS can't boast.
About 66 percent of iOS devices are already running iOS 7
Company CEO Tim Cook shared that detail during the company's fourth fiscal quarter earnings report on Monday afternoon.
"Last month we launched iOS 7, the fastest software upgrade ever," he said. "Nearly two thirds of iOS devices are running iOS 7, significantly higher than other operating systems."
Considering Apple reported selling 33.8 million iPhones and 14.1 million iPads during the quarter, bringing yearly total sales up to 150 million for the iPhones and 71 million iPads, that's a lot of new devices running iOS 7. Adding in iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models that were already in user's hands, that number jumps up substantially higher.
Apple made the process of upgrading to iOS 7 fairly easy by letting users install the new operating system without needing to connect their devices to a computer, and by offering the upgrade for free. Along with a redesigned user interface that did away with many of the skeuomorphic elements that defined earlier iOS versions, it also improved overall performance and battery life, improved iCloud file sync support, and made many commonly used features easier to access.
While there have been complaints that the iOS 7 look and feel is "too flat," that hasn't seemed to have had a negative impact on the adoption rate.
Apple's iOS has a leg up on Android adoption on another front, too, since there aren't any service providers controlling the update process. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users can update at their leisure instead of waiting for carriers to push OS updates out -- a process that in some cases never happens, leaving some smartphone owners with years-old version of Android and no easy way to upgrade.
Apple's control over the iOS upgrade cycle has benefits both for the company and developers. Since iOS 7 adoption is so wide spread, Apple can focus its customer support on the new OS, and developers have fewer compatibility issues to deal with since the majority of their users are likely already upgrading.
In comparison, it's taken more than a year for the latest Android OS to push up to the 50 percent adoption mark, but that still takes lumping together multiple versions to make that happen. Google grouped together Android version 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 to show a 48.6 percent adoption rate as of the beginning of October.
In other words, it took Apple about a month to blow past Android's Jelly Bean one-year adoption rate.
There are still devices in the wild running versions far older than iOS 7, but that percentage is below the fragmentation developers deal with on Android. That also fits with Apple's overall design philosophy: Move forward or get left behind. Apple is empowering its users so they can make that choice while many Android users are left unable to upgrade thanks to their carrier's whims.