Fragmentation has long been one of the biggest issues with Android. While new versions of the operating system are pushed out, it isn’t uncommon for high-end phones to be left out of the update, whether its because the manufacturer doesn’t think the phone can handle it, or whether it doesn’t meet minimum specifications required for the new operating system (which is usually not the case). However, this has never been seen as an issue with Apple and iOS devices since the Cupertino company has always supported the previous three years of iPhones with the latest software update.
In new data released today, the version distribution for iOS once again proves that Apple continues to support older devices with the latest version of the operating system. Over 90% of iPhones in North America are currently running iOS 6, the most recent version of the software released to the public. Another one percent are already on iOS 7, which is expected to be publicly released with the next version of the iPhone. This means that only 7% of iPhones are running iOS 5 or earlier.
The numbers are slightly different for iPads, where 82% are running iOS 6. While this is quite a bit lower than the percentage for iPhones, it isn’t a huge surprise because a lot of iOS 6 improvements were cellular based, and many iPads are WiFi only, meaning that the update wasn’t necessary.
While there will be a time soon where the distribution is much different (most likely split between iOS 6 and iOS 7), it is likely that the numbers will shift heavily in favor of iOS 7 in the next few months as people begin to update their devices to the new software. The only reason I can imagine that this chart won’t shift heavily in favor of iOS 7 is if people decide that they don’t like the new design and decide not to update, which I still find unlikely.
Do you see fragmentation becoming a problem for iOS at some point in the future, especially with radical redesigns in the software? Sound off in the comments section below and let us know what you think!