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This chart demonstrates just how slow some of Apple's users are.  (Source: Loyalytics)

The study looked at upgrade rates for the iPhone 3GS (left) and the Android-powered Motorola Droid (right).  (Source: DailyMobile)
Android is handily beating iOS in terms of upgrade rates, making life easier for its developers

Market researchers at Localytics looked at the Apple iPhone 3GS and Motorola Droid and upgrade rates to the latest respective OS versions -- iOS 4.0 and Android 2.2 "Froyo"  -- over their first two weeks of availability.  What they found was that nearly twice as many Android users upgraded to the latest OS as iPhone users.

The study showed the dramatic benefits of Android's over-the-air OS updates -- something Apple has either been unable or unwilling to implement.  IOS 4.0 saw a steady crawl upwards in adoption rates, that allowed it to temporarily get ahead of Android 2.2.  

But when the Android OTA packages landed, in a single day the Android 2.2 adoption jumped incredibly from around 42 percent to around 92 percent.  By the end of two weeks, Android's upgrade totals had reached 96 percent, while Apple had a mere 56 percent.

One thing Loyalytics says the study shows is that iPhone users are using iTunes less.  If they had plugged into iTunes they would have been prompted to update, but many users still appeared not to have connected after almost two weeks.  This may be a result of Apple enabling over-the-air content downloads from its iTunes store, which is directly accessible from the iPhone.

However, the study brings mixed news to developers on both fronts.  For Android developers the rapid updates are good in a way, because they can be assured a homogeneous platform.  It can also be bad, because if an update breaks your app, you may only have have a couple of days to fix the problem before the majority of users can't use it.

For iPhone developers the opposite is true.  The platform is more heterogeneous in terms of OS versions, which can be confusing as to which versions to target and when.  On the other hand, iPhone devs have more time to fix bugs created by OS updates.

The researchers conclude:

The extent to which the iPad is or isn’t cannibalizing PC sales is being debated. But it seems reasonable to assume that even fewer iPads will be plugged into computers than iPhones, suggesting that iPad upgrades to iOS 4.2 later this year will lag iPhone upgrades. At some point, Apple will probably need/want to provide OTA upgrades to both the iPad and iPhone, at least over WiFi.

Of course as anyone who knows Apple could tell you, the company is sure to take adopting this new feature at its own pace, however fast or slow that may be.

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By SOSTrooper on 9/15/2010 12:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well for me, I've been on crappy DSL and it would take 15 mins to update. I'd rather not update and use the nice ping to play COD4 or something.

RE: mmm
By dubldwn on 9/15/2010 1:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it takes some time. Really, the reason for this is because you have to hook your iPhone up to a computer, which I personally haven't done in months, as opposed to an over the air update. That alone makes this "study" ridiculous.

RE: mmm
By bespoke on 9/15/2010 1:51:11 PM , Rating: 2
Really, the reason for this is because you have to hook your iPhone up to a computer, which I personally haven't done in months, as opposed to an over the air update. That alone makes this "study" ridiculous.


How can they even compare adoption rates when the process of updating and the user involvement are completely different between the two systems?

My mother-in-law has an iPhone. She never hooks it up to her computer. Does this mean she's slow to adopt the latest iOS? No, it means she never hooks up her iPhone to her PC!

RE: mmm
By Alexstarfire on 9/15/2010 10:47:34 PM , Rating: 1
I think that's kind of the point. Showing that when you don't have OTA updates you can get some pretty bad fragmentation for the device. It's not like people are sitting around waiting for updates for their devices. I'd imagine most of them, the iPhone users, don't know of the update and/or don't think it'll benefit them that much. I know that when I find an update to a product I have I get it, but it's not like I go searching for them unless I'm waiting for them to fix a serious problem. Though if there is a serious problem I likely wouldn't have that product in the first place.

Many people continuously say that Android is fragmented and that the iPhone is not. It would seem that the iPhone is fragmented as well, and will likely only continue to get worse as older devices can't support newer and newer versions of iOS.

It'll happen with any OS though since not every device will support the latest version. The problem with Android isn't that the devices can't support the latest versions, but that they simply aren't available to get for a specific device. The problem lies with the cell carriers and the manufacturers though since they have to customize the ROM for their devices. It's rather sickening to think that many devices are held back because the companies that make and service the device simply don't give a fuck.

RE: mmm
By clovell on 9/15/2010 1:56:55 PM , Rating: 3
Um, no. The study isn't ridiculous. It's just common sense proven by data.

It demonstratively shows that upgrade rates are lower when yo have to plug in to a computer. I hadn't actually known this about the iPhone, and it really makes me like it even less - people buy a smartphone specifically so they don't have to tether it to a computer.

RE: mmm
By Iaiken on 9/15/2010 2:08:35 PM , Rating: 2
People buy a smartphone specifically so they don't have to tether it to a computer.

Score one for syncing data over the cloud...

RE: mmm
By tng on 9/16/2010 9:17:54 AM , Rating: 2
That is part of the reason, but when I saw the title of the article I had to laugh.

Many people buy an Android phone so they can write their own code for it, while people who buy Iphones for the most part don't know what code is. Allot of people who buy an open OS like Android do it just for that reason, while people who buy Iphones just want a cool phone.

After all, isn't part of owning an Apple product the slogan "It just works"?

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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