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Third-party data on iOS 9 disputes Apple's adoption claims

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 23, 2015
Apple says iOS 9 has already cracked 50 percent, and is the 'fastest iOS adoption ever;' data from metrics vendor Mixpanel says different.

Talk about adoption rates and iOS shares is more than academic, of interest only to developers, and more than just bragging rights about which operating system customers grab quickest.

In a separate post Monday (subscription required), Dawson pointed out that for iOS 6 through iOS 8, each succeeding version topped out at a lower level: 2012's iOS 6, for example, reached 94% by Apple's accounting, while iOS 7 and 8 peaked at 92% and 87%, respectively. The adoption rate slump, Dawson added, could be due to any number of reasons, including user apathy, larger-sized upgrades, older devices falling off the list and device owners deliberately choosing to stick with the tried-and-true rather than risk problems.

OS fragmentation has plagued Android devices for years -- the latest version, November 2014's Lollipop, currently has a 21% share, less than iOS 9 accumulated in days -- a trait Apple has at times used to knocked its mobile rival. But iOS suffers from fragmentation as well, albeit one much less substantial.

Thus far, iOS 9 appears to running counter to the fragmentation trend, as it's leading last year's iOS 8 in the preliminary numbers, Dawson said.

And iOS, even at lower peaks, remains the standard other operating systems, even Apple's also-free OS X, must be measured by. "Anyone can get it, you get prompted to upgrade, and after the first 24 hours, it's usually a smooth process," said Dawson when asked why iOS led other OSes in uptake. "These are devices you use daily," Dawson added, unlike a personal computer, Mac or not. "And you get a new phone, to some extent [with each upgrade]."

iOS 9's uptake beats predecessor
iOS 9's early adoption -- as of 10 a.m. PT Tuesday -- was 8 percentage points higher than 2014's iOS 8 at the same point in its release cycle, but remained far behind -- more than 18 points -- 2013's iOS 7, still the benchmark. Click on image to enlarge. Data: Mixpanel


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