When Apple releases an update to iOS, all devices that can run it have access to it on launch day. Compared that to Android, which has to roll out updates through manufacturers and carriers, leading to a slow release that can take months, or never be completed. Though Android Lollipop was released 2 months ago, finding an Android device that is running it is difficult (I recently tried, gave up, and got a KitKat device). Many users were excited about iOS 7, with its slick new interface, users downloaded their updates as quickly as they could. iOS 8 has some great new features as well, and when it was launched, the percentage of users spiked even more rapidly than it did for iOS 7. It has since slowed down, and has even begun to level off. Apple could have to change their strategy to get the rest of their users updated.
In less than 2 weeks after the release of iOS 8, 40% of users had upgraded to the new OS. That’s incredibly quick. In comparison, in the same amount of time since release, Android’s latest operating system, Lollipop, had only 0.13% adoption. This means that even the people that can upgrade right now (almost exclusively Nexus devices and “Google Play Editions”) haven’t been updating their phones, and you can’t get Lollipop from other manufacturers right now. These are the two extremes, the fastest and slowest updated operating systems. However, now, almost 4 months since iOS 8 has been out, adoption has slowed. A majority of iOS users are using iOS 8, but it’s only 68%, less than iOS 7 was at at this point.
In just 3 months, iOS 7 was at 74% adoption. What has made iOS 8 different? First, most of the updates were under the hood, or features more advanced users were excited about. This means people weren’t anxiously waiting for it as much as they were iOS 7, which had a clean, glossy new interface with some great eye candy. Secondly, iOS 8 had some issues when it was launched. There were plenty of bugs that didn’t get fixed from the betas. iOS 8.0.1 even made the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus useless, an update that never should have gone out. Thirdly, the update is huge. It’s over 1GB for iPad users, and over 700mb for iPhones. That means users with less storage space can’t even update until they free up some space, and many users don’t want to do this. Finally, many users of older devices, such as the iPhone 4s, reported odd bugs with the operating system, including slow speeds. No one wants a slow phone, isn’t speed one of the reasons to get an iPhone in the first place?
Ok, Apple has a popularity problem with iOS 8, one that even the extreme popularity of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus over the holidays wasn’t enough to push the update through. Apple can’t do much about the size of the update, but they can make sure that it’s not bug ridden when released. Right now, they can continue their work fixing their bugs, as they have been. Apple could advertise the new features of iOS 8 better, perhaps in their commercials, which rarely feature any actual OS interaction. Features can be discussed and credited better though, without showing too much, and the iOS update could be mentioned in some way. Apple could also send out emails to users describing the fantastic new features of iOS 8, especially if they can single out the users that haven’t upgraded yet. Finally, for iOS 9, Apple can make sure that even their older devices can take advantage of the new features, without slowing them down.
If you’re using an iPhone 4s or older, you’re likely due for an upgrade from your carrier. Since the full price of your phone is subsidized through your bill, and you’re done paying for it after 24 months, you’re just wasting money every month by not upgrading. You’re going to pay for a new phone through your bill, regardless of whether or not you get one, so why not get a new iPhone? Upgrade your device and enjoy iOS 8 like it’s supposed to be enjoyed. For everyone else, you should probably update to iOS 8, which runs just fine on the iPhone 5, 5c, 6, and 6 Plus, as well as most iPads. There are some fantastic new features, which you can explore here. Also, there’s still 4% of people using iOS 6 or older. What’s wrong with you guys? Get with the program!