Apple aggressively pushing iOS 5 deployment to users

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is pushing hard to make sure iOS users upgrade to the latest and greatest 5.0 version of its mobile platform, with the result of making it easier for developers to build and test their apps as well as simpler for users to stay current with the latest features.



Unlike other mobile platforms, Apple has retained control of the iOS software update cycle rather than allowing mobile carriers to inject themselves into the update process via their typical practice of "over the air" mobile device upgrades. Carriers, along with hardware makers, have historically complicated software updates with their own customizations, frequently delaying the upgrade process for their users by months after the OS vendor releases a new version.



Apple's latest iOS 5 update now incorporates "over the air" upgrades, but does so directly from the phone to Apple's servers rather than relying upon carriers to deploy the updates. The company is initially deploying iOS 5 via iTunes, as existing versions of Apple's mobile OS can't perform a wireless update.



As has been the case in previous updates, the relative ease of Apple's direct update process, and the immediately availability of iOS 5 for models dating back to 2009 has resulted in the new software already accounting for 20 percent of the installed base on Chitika's ad network having installed the upgrade within just the first five days of its release, the advertising firm announced yesterday.







In contrast, based on Google's latest reported figures, it appears to have taken about seven months to update a similar 20 percent proportion of the active installed base of Android users to last winter's most recent reference release of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. In part, that's because even among some of the most popular Android handsets, there was no upgrade to Gingerbread available until this month.



The Importance of Being Updated Earnestly



Apple's ability to rapidly roll out new updates to the vast majority of its customers globally through voluntary updates means that iOS developers can trim their coding and testing efforts related to previous iOS versions, and quickly adopt the new features and development aspects of the latest operating system.



That makes it easier for developers to support new features such as iCloud (in addition to the fact that iCloud accounts are now included for free), as developers observe that the majority of users will not only be able to take advantage of the new cloud storage and document management features, but will be clamoring for such support. Other features, including Twitter integration, can also be rolled out with confidence.



Additionally, without any significant platform fragmentation developers can rapidly adopt new development tools and technologies Apple has released as part of iOS 5, including UI Storyboards for planning apps in Xcode, UIKit customization for creating apps that reflect a custom appearance, and Automatic Reference Counting for more efficient, semi-automatic management of memory allocation. Developers can also employ the latest APIs, knowing that virtually their entire audience will already have iOS 5 installed.



The reduced busy work for developers allows them to devote more of their efforts into making better apps with greater functionality and sophistication for their customers. Apple benefits from a stronger App Store library and users benefit from less complication in shopping for apps and a wider variety of better apps.



Free as in beer



Apple has worked to make it easy for existing iOS users to upgrade, and even essential for running its own latest apps, such as the new Find My Friend app. Attempting to install the new app without updating to iOS 5 results in a warning, as noted in a blog post by developer Appcubby and pictured below.







From the original debut of iPhone in 2007, Apple has pushed to make the latest releases of its mobile operating system widely available, even constructing a subscription method of accounting for the iPhone to ensure that its planned series of regular software updates wouldn't run afoul of US accounting rules, which mandate that products that are improved over time not have their revenue booked up front until the planned value is actually delivered.



Apple's subscription accounting of the iPhone, which deferred a large part of its iPhone revenues over the phone's lifespan, had the initial side effect of obscuring part of the commercial success of the new device in Apple's initial quarterly earnings, but it allowed Apple to push regular, rapid updates incorporating new features and functionality, to its new users, attracting development and progressively building a dynamic ecosystem around the product.



In contrast, the company didn't pursue the same strategy with its iPod touch, and instead charged a nominal fee for iOS updates on that device. The result was that while iPhone users regularly and promptly updated their phones to the newest software, a large proportion of iPod touch users didn't, demonstrating the significant barrier of even a $10 upgrade fee in getting people to accept rapidly evolving new technology.



A case for open and closed



In parallel with Apple's proprietary but free iOS updates, Google and Microsoft developed their own competing strategies for managing their mobile platforms, with Google leading an open source effort to develop Android as a platform anyone could obtain and tinker with, while Microsoft originally attempted to sell upgrades of its Windows Mobile platform in the model of Windows OS releases for PC users.



Neither Microsoft nor Google were making any money from hardware sales as Apple did. Microsoft only earned minor licensing fees from its hardware partners while Google reportedly subsidized at least some licensees to get them to adopt Android, a so called "less than free" model that was regarded as potentially "disruptive" in 2009.



Microsoft's retail upgrade model for Windows Mobile didn't work out, as few users opted to buy upgrades. In many cases, every new major release of Windows Mobile advanced its requirements to the point where it couldn't really run on any existing phones anyway. Google's Android, on the other hand, rapidly replaced existing free or low cost alternatives (such as Linux paired with Java) among smartphone makers.



However, by Android's third generation, Google realized that free and open updates were difficult to sustain from a marketing and operational perspective, resulting in the company closing the development of Android 3.0 Honeycomb and refusing to make its code available to smartphone users who wanted to play with the new tablet-oriented release on their devices.



The development of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was similarly closed, with Google working only with a limited number of partners on the new release in order to deliver a distinguished launch of specific new models, including the Samsung-built Galaxy Nexus.



Android 4.0 upgrades



However, the result of Google's new closed development model for Android is that licensees and carriers will now have even less time to prepare to deploy Android 4.0 updates. So even though Google distributes Android for free, Android users who should be able to upgrade their phones to Android 4.0 are unlikely to actually get it any sooner than the typical minimum of a three to six month waiting period that has occured with previous releases of last year's Froyo or Gingerbread.



Google and its partners also have demonstrated less interest than Apple in supporting the majority of their installed base with the latest OS updates. While iOS 5 was made available on day one for all Apple devices released in 2009 or later, Google has indicated that only brand new devices will have any hope of upgrading Android 4.0, even leaving unanswered whether last year's Google Nexus One would get an update.



Google's Gabe Cohen reportedly told Engadget that the company was "currently in the process for releasing Ice Cream Sandwich for Nexus S" released last winter, noting that "theoretically [Android 4.0] should work for any [Android Gingerbread] 2.3 device." However, that only indicates support for phones sold over the past year, with some room for "theoretical" doubt even among those new handsets.



So, while Apple is rapidly pushing to upgrade its entire installed base to iOS 5 as quickly as possible, Google hasn't even articulated plans to support its own iPhone 4-era model with Android 4.0, and the majority of Android phones sold this winter won't ship with, or immediately be upgradable to, Google's latest OS update.



That's not a new development, as many Android licensees have only recently deployed last year's Android updates on even their most popular Android models. For example, HTC and Verizon didn't update the very popular Droid Incredible (which in April Engadget called "the best Android device that you can purchase in America right now") to Android 2.2 Froyo until August (at which point the OS release was over a year old), and then didn't even begin to release Android 2.3 Gingerbread for it until September. Many users were still waiting for the update into October, by which time the release was again nearly a year old.



If Apple followed a similar upgrade program, iPhone 4 and iPad users would just now be getting the features of iOS 4, including Folders and Game Center.







Windows Phone, BlackBerry, webOS updates



Other platforms aren't faring much better than Android in rapidly rolling out support for new features of new operating system releases. RIM announced this summer that its latest BlackBerry OS 7 would not be made available for any existing devices, even new models that shipped weeks before the release.



In February, HP announced that it wouldn't be delivering its latest webOS 2.0 (as originally promised) for last year's webOS phones released alongside iPhone 4.



Microsoft erased all backwards compatibility support for Windows Phone 7 on its current crop of Windows Mobile 6.x devices when it launched its new OS last winter. Starting with WP7, Microsoft has followed Apple's strategy of bypassing mobile carriers to deliver new updates itself. However, it hasn't been able to deliver updates with nearly the same speed or efficiency as Apple. The company just announced that for "three weeks we?ve been watching quality while sending update notices to a growing fraction of phones" for Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, the first major update.



Microsoft began releasing the update at the end of September, but while saying it is now "fully opening the spigot" on delivering updates, there are still phone models in the US that are listed as still being in the "testing" (Samsung Focus 1.4) or "planning" stages (Dell Venue Pro), while internationally the Samsung Omnia 7 is still in "testing" stages on two carriers.



That indicates that Microsoft's update system isn't quite as simple as Apple's, which had pioneered the concept of using desktop computers to update the iPhone as easily as the company had been updating iPods. Another aspect strongly favoring Apple's business model is the lack of a wide variety of different hardware models to support, an issue Microsoft attempted to address through strict rules defining minimum standards for Windows Phone 7 devices.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    I hope that Apple releases an update to iOS 5 itself soon. I have noticed two problems with my iPhone 3GS that I have been having since I updated last week .. 1) the phone seems to use much more power (even when all settings that are supposed to be set low to save battery are set to low) which causes battery life to be much shorter, and 2) the audio / volume is about 50% less than it used to be. Audio for some applications is very hard to listen to and hear, because there apparently is a problem with how the audio is handled now. I read something about using SSH to connect to the iPhone as "ROOT" to correct the problem, but I think this is beyond my expertise. I have also tried something called (I think) a "Springboard Reset" (changing the default language setting on the iPhone to another language, and then changing the language back to English), but none of the methods that I have tried to fix the audio problem I am having have helped. I hope that Apple knows about the power/battery and audio/volume issues, and I hope that these will be addressed very soon, in the next update.
  • Reply 2 of 31
    I had a first-gen Windows Phone (version 1.0) and there was no upgrade path to 2.0 or later versions of Windows Mobile. A huge disappointment. That, and the constant locking up when receiving a phone call requiring a hard reset. I'll never go back to Windows Phone. NEVER EVER.
  • Reply 3 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    I had a first-gen Windows Phone (version 1.0) and there was no upgrade path to 2.0 or later versions of Windows Mobile. A huge disappointment. That, and the constant locking up when receiving a phone call requiring a hard reset. I'll never go back to Windows Phone. NEVER EVER.



    Dont let you Windows Mobile experience define your Windows Phone experience.



    Windows Mobile is NOT Windows Phone



    That being said I think Apple and Microsoft's model for updating phones it light years ahead and more stable than Android's "maybe" model.
  • Reply 4 of 31
    This is the advantage of a one-stop shop for both your OS and hardware, and having that shop dictate terms to the carriers rather than the other way around.



    This is also one area where Apple's design philosophy is to be applauded - they like, promote and indeed enforce uniformity. Ironic how such a philosophy in fact turns out a unique product experience.
  • Reply 5 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Digital_Guy View Post


    Audio for some applications is very hard to listen to and hear, because there apparently is a problem with how the audio is handled now.



    That it is only happening in some applications makes me wonder if the issue is that those apps haven't been updated to iOS5. Heck the battery issue might be tied into the same thing. I had several apps that were crashing on my phone and when I looked they were all last updated back during iOS 3.



    I'm actually surprised that Apple doesn't require that apps be no more than one generation back on iOS just to make sure they are using the right battery handling etc (so apps right now could be iOS 4 or iOS 5 compliant)
  • Reply 6 of 31
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    great bar chart. one typo: iOS 4 is missing, marked as iOS 5.



    yes, Apple's OS update system is undeniably the best. and that certainly does matter a lot to users locked into two year contracts. but you won't find it listed in any of the articles comparing the iPhone/iPad to the competition. just like they never mention the free customer support offered one-to-one at Apple retail stores, also by far the best.



    regular users don't matter to the geek elite.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Coolaaron88 View Post


    Windows Mobile is NOT Windows Phone



    Interesting. So Windows Phone isn't just a rebranding of Windows Mobile? In that case, why did they call the first version of Windows Phone "7"? Shouldn't they have started over from 1.0?
  • Reply 8 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Interesting. So Windows Phone isn't just a rebranding of Windows Mobile? In that case, why did they call the first version of Windows Phone "7"? Shouldn't they have started over from 1.0?



    Doesnt matter what "branding" it has now, they arent the same OS and as such you shouldnt associate your experiences with Windows Mobile with Windows Phone. Windows Phone is a rebooted OS that runs buttery smooth and doesnt have any of the issues you had with Windows Mobile.
  • Reply 9 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    That it is only happening in some applications makes me wonder if the issue is that those apps haven't been updated to iOS5. Heck the battery issue might be tied into the same thing. I had several apps that were crashing on my phone and when I looked they were all last updated back during iOS 3.



    I'm actually surprised that Apple doesn't require that apps be no more than one generation back on iOS just to make sure they are using the right battery handling etc (so apps right now could be iOS 4 or iOS 5 compliant)



    Some apps aren't being developed anymore. At all.



    Breaking them would suck for people who paid money for them and still use them on a daily basis.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    I've been trying to update my 3GS since Friday and every time I try it failed. Still under OS 4.3.3

    - iTunes 10.5, Windows XP SP3 (syncing comp.) and MobileMe sync.



    Frustrating. My ipad though is OK.
  • Reply 11 of 31
    I doubt that most Android smartphone-using consumers even care whether their old smartphones get updates as long as the phone is working pretty well. I don't think most consumers are into that sort of stuff of waiting longingly for upgrades. Google is fortunate in that respect because Android is one hella fragmented OS. I'll take the walled garden any day. Apple was smart since the 3GS is in demand and is able to be updated to the latest iOS version 5.0. The longer Apple can keep users happy, the better. At least users of older iPhones aren't kicked out that quickly. I could imagine trying to update a hundred or so models of Android smartphones becoming a nightmare.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    iOS5 makes me feel warm a fuzzy inside. Google Android makes me want to go number 2. And further more why doesn't Android announce really cool updates to their devices. Really, we hear allot about Apple devices and the updates, even in mainstream news, but we don't hear about cool updates with android os. Sounds kinda boring. Remember this post talks about android but we don't hear it in the mainstream news like CNN and so on.
  • Reply 13 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Coolaaron88 View Post


    Doesnt matter what "branding" it has now, they arent the same OS and as such you shouldnt associate your experiences with Windows Mobile with Windows Phone. Windows Phone is a rebooted OS that runs buttery smooth and doesnt have any of the issues you had with Windows Mobile.



    OK, I'll keep that in mind. If true, it would be a welcome improvement.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    On the Open versus Closed subject



    Here's a question for Android users. How has the general Android users really used the "open" environment to their advantage in the real world?



    People would always laud Android for its openness or its flash, but in reality, i haven't seen nor experience iOS "walled garden" to hinder nor pose as an impediment to iPhone usability.



    People can talk all they want about the advantage of an open Android system, but are they really taking advatage of it? I'm not talking about changing themes or icons as those are meaningless.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    I've been wanting to upgrade to IOS 5 myself but



    1) No untethered jailbreak yet available.

    2) iCloud,I wont be able to sync to any of my computers. I have a G5 and a MacBook Pro, you need to intall Lion and they're not compatible.

    3)Siri, well, this only works with iPhone 4S, I have an iPhone 4.

    4)iMessage? to text who? most of my friends dont want o get ios5, therefore cant text them for free. I'll stick to the now free whatsapp app.



    What will I miss if I dont upgrade?
  • Reply 16 of 31
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,576member
    One company just wants to sell the most ads it can possibly sell. The other company wants to sell the most OS licenses it can. The third one wants to sell the best smart phone and smart phone experience possible. (Actually, the best device and device experience.) See, the two companies' operative phrase is 'the most', the third one goes by 'the best'.



    No wonder Apple products are at least a notch above everyone else when it comes to quality. They really sweat the stuff out to get it as close to perfect as possible.



    I can't think of any other major corporation on the face of the earth with the same quality ethic and aesthetic. (Maybe BMW, though not a very close second.) This mode of thinking is more like that of a fine craftsman or artisan who measures his or her self worth not by the money he makes but by the quality of the things he builds.



    God, I'm gonna miss Steve. And I've never even met him.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Digital_Guy View Post


    I hope that Apple releases an update to iOS 5 itself soon. I have noticed two problems with my iPhone 3GS that I have been having since I updated last week .. 1) the phone seems to use much more power (even when all settings that are supposed to be set low to save battery are set to low) which causes battery life to be much shorter, and 2) the audio / volume is about 50% less than it used to be. Audio for some applications is very hard to listen to and hear, because there apparently is a problem with how the audio is handled now. I read something about using SSH to connect to the iPhone as "ROOT" to correct the problem, but I think this is beyond my expertise. I have also tried something called (I think) a "Springboard Reset" (changing the default language setting on the iPhone to another language, and then changing the language back to English), but none of the methods that I have tried to fix the audio problem I am having have helped. I hope that Apple knows about the power/battery and audio/volume issues, and I hope that these will be addressed very soon, in the next update.



    When I updated my phone, iTunes installed all the applications available in iTunes. One of the apps costantly accesses data even when the app isn't running. I'm not sure if you have a similar problem, but the way I got rid of the problem was to restore my phone to an earlier date. BTW, restoring to an earlier date doesn't change the operating system.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple is pushing hard to make sure iOS users upgrade to the latest and greatest 5.0 version of its mobile platform



    If this were true, they would have included Siri on the iPhone 4.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by latafairam View Post


    I've been wanting to upgrade to IOS 5 myself but



    1) No untethered jailbreak yet available.

    2) iCloud,I wont be able to sync to any of my computers. I have a G5 and a MacBook Pro, you need to intall Lion and they're not compatible.

    3)Siri, well, this only works with iPhone 4S, I have an iPhone 4.

    4)iMessage? to text who? most of my friends dont want o get ios5, therefore cant text them for free. I'll stick to the now free whatsapp app.



    What will I miss if I dont upgrade?



    The notification center and reminder app is worth the upgrade even without all the bells and whistles in your list.
  • Reply 20 of 31
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by latafairam View Post


    I've been wanting to upgrade to IOS 5 myself but



    1) No untethered jailbreak yet available.

    2) iCloud,I wont be able to sync to any of my computers. I have a G5 and a MacBook Pro, you need to intall Lion and they're not compatible.

    3)Siri, well, this only works with iPhone 4S, I have an iPhone 4.

    4)iMessage? to text who? most of my friends dont want o get ios5, therefore cant text them for free. I'll stick to the now free whatsapp app.



    What will I miss if I dont upgrade?



    Seriously, it's time break open the piggy bank and upgrade to a Lion-compatible Mac. You're missing out on a lot of great features that will make your life easier. I also don't understand why your friends don't want to upgrade to iOS5. Is it because they have older hardware? I upgraded my 3GS and it actually runs more smoothly than before.
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