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Apple publishes iOS fragmentation chart on its website, target’s Google’s Android

Apple has published on its website a pie chart showing the state of iOS fragmentation, indirectly taking a hit at Google's Android fragmentation.
June 21, 2013
iOS 6 vs Android Jelly Bean
iOS (left) vs Android (right) fragmentation – data collected for both charts during a 14-day period ending June 3, 2013

Following its WWDC 2013 event, Apple has published on its website (the section dedicated to developers) a pie chart that shows the iOS fragmentation state in a similar manner to how Google’s displays its own Android fragmentation chart.

Thus, Apple is indirectly attacking Google’s mobile OS by showing potential and existing developers that iOS doesn’t suffer from the same fragmentation issue as Android.

According to the chart, 93% of iOS users are running iOS 6, the latest version of the operating system, 6% are on iOS 5 while just 1% are on al older iOS version. We’re looking at data gathered “during a 14-day period ending June 3, 2013.”

Comparatively, data gathered by Google during the same period – unlikely a coincidence – shows that the latest Android version is now on 33% of devices (Jelly Bean) while Ice Cream Sandwich is at 25.6% and Gingerbread is at 36.4%. Older Android versions still power nearly 5% of Android versions. It’s worth noting that a few months ago Google changed the way it counts Android versions, not including those devices that aren’t used to contact the Play Store. From the looks of it, Apple is also measuring iOS adoption rate with help of the App Store.

As you can see, Jelly Bean adoption is rising, but Gingerbread is still an important presence in the Android ecosystem.

Since we’re comparing Apples to Androids, we’re also going to add that over 900 million devices running Android have been activated so far, according to what Google said at its I/O 2013 developers conference, while Apple has activated 600 million iOS devices to date. The App Store has passed over 50 billion downloads to date, while the Google Play Store is at over 48 billion, but projected to pass the App Store this fall when it comes to the total number of downloads.

The chart shown on Apple’s site was also presented to the audience during Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote. On stage, Tim Cook directly addressed the fragmentation issue that affects Google’s OS and it looks like Apple is taking the comparison to the next level by showing developers interested in creating iOS apps the state of the iOS ecosystem right on its own developer pages.

In the video above, which shows the WWDC 2013 keynote in its entirety, Cook talks about iOS vs Android, starting at about the 1:10 minute, with Android fragmentation vs iOS fragmentation being one of the points he makes.

[quote qtext=”[…] if you do the math you would find that iOS 6 is the world’s most popular mobile operating system and in second place is a version of Android which was released in 2010.” qperson=”Tim Cook at WWDC 2013″ qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

On its part, Google would not publicly admit to a fragmentation problem – and this particular term is likely to cause a fierce debate between the users of the two platforms – but the company is definitely taking various measures to ensure that fragmentation is less of an issue for users and developers.

At Google I/O, the company focused on improving its services across the board including Maps, Chrome, Google+ and Search in order to offer users and developers a better overall experience no matter what platform they’re on and without requiring them to update to a newer OS version.

Furthermore, Google is rumored to have postponed the launch of a new major Android OS version to allow more OEMs to get some of their devices to Jelly Bean before having to update them again to a new version. Even Android 4.3 – the next rumored incremental Android update – is not available yet.

As for Apple, while it does says that 93% of iOS users are on the latest release, we’ll remind you that some of the iOS 6 features aren’t available on all devices. Similarly, when iOS 7 will be launched, not all supported devices will get all the new features. Moreover, while iOS 7 adoption will most likely be very high, it’ll be interesting to see how the pie chart will look this fall, considering that not all iOS devices will be able to make the jump to the latest OS version.

Naturally, the same goes for the Android ecosystem. Once Android 5.0 arrives, many devices won’t be able to run it, or will receive an update a lot later than others. For that matter, that’s how things are for every operating system out there, whether mobile or desktop. You can’t expect older hardware to be continuously updated to newer OS versions. That’s not to minimize the fact that Android updates are still not ideal for both users and developers. But unlike Apple, who’s in control of updates, in the Android universe OEMs and carriers are in charge for releasing those updates, and chances are that won’t change anytime soon, as they have their own interests in mind.

What’s your stance on Android fragmentation? Is it an issue for you?