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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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RE: .
By omnicronx on 9/15/2010 12:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think version requirements for apps have a lot to do with it too. Its not like you can use many of the new features found in iOS4 (aside from multitasking) on a non iPhone 4 anyways.

I have yet to update my iPad just because I am lazy, and I can still use pretty much every app I need.

Same can't be said for Android, don't have a 2.* phone? Can't use a lot of apps..

If you don't give users incentive to upgrade, many probably won't.

RE: .
By Iaiken on 9/15/2010 2:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Same can't be said for Android, don't have a 2.* phone? Can't use a lot of apps..

That is a bold-faced LIE!

If the author sets up version specific publishing, it will install the version of the app that is appropriate for your version of Android.

With proper source control, devs can then maintain separate streams for each, or hybrid streams and choose when they want to stop supporting different versions. Those that don't will likely suffer much more hectic dev cycles than those that do.

This is, of course, entirely up to the developer, which is more than what can be said for Apple's single stream approach where if you wanted to, you'd have to submit them for approval as wholly separate apps.

RE: .
By MonkeyPaw on 9/15/2010 5:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
iOS4 took a total dump on my 3G, so I performed the unofficial downgrade to 3.1.3. I hear 4.1 is supposed to fix all the problems I had, but at this point, I just don't believe it. Also, a lot of iPhone users I know never connect theirs to a computer, and rarely do they know there's even an update for it. Maybe if your phone actually told you an update was available and let you know how to upgrade it, Apple might see the upgrades happen.

Then there's the fact that you have to connect your phone to iTunes, which gets updated seemingly every over week (and requires a large download). Once that's done, you have to download another big update. Also, you have to be sure your iPhone is registered to work with the PC you're connected to. If you don't use iTunes as your music manager and keep it updated, even syncing your iPhone is a pretty big hassle.

RE: .
By macthemechanic on 9/16/2010 11:04:25 AM , Rating: 2
You are right. IOS 4 really should not be used on anything older than a 3GS. The processors in earlier iPhones cannot keep up with the demands of IOS 4 and the multitasking code built into it. We have an original iPhone still in use and we're staying on the earlier 3x version for now until we need to upgrade or replace the phone (not the IOS).

RE: .
By chripuck on 9/16/2010 12:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
The original iPhone is never getting iOS4. And the multi-tasking comment is crap. I had multi-tasking running on my original jailbroken iPhone w/ 3.1.2. It's Apple's implementation that is crap.

I'm really unhappy with the multi-tasking as implemented by Apple on my new iPhone. I open Skype for a reason damnit, don't close it because you think I don't want it open anymore.

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