Strong demand of Apple's iPhone 5 series driving an "anti-fragmentation" of iOS

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Just three weeks after Apple launched the new iPhone 5c and 5s, total iPhone Web traffic share attributed to iPhone 5 or newer models is up more than four percentage points to 40.6 percent, highlighting a rapid transition to modern hardware that's the exact opposite of the fragmentation occurring on Android.

iPhone share


Data from Web ad network Chitika tracking the source of mobile web requests in North America indicates what the company called "a "remarkable achievement" and represents a "significant impact on the iPhone ecosystem," with "obvious implications for mobile application and Web developers in terms of compatibility and functionality issues, but also for the technology industry as a whole."

While Apple is already known to have a growing percentage of smartphone sales (via Kantar) and subscribers (via comScore) in North America, the premium route buyers are taking to arrive on iOS is also newsworthy.

While Apple had made its latest iOS 7 software available to devices dating back to the iPhone 4 released in 2010, users are aggressively upgrading in large numbers to Apple's newest hardware. The majority of new iPhones sold last year were iPhone 5. That trend is continuing even faster now that Apple sells two iPhone 5 models, representing an increasing percentage of the iPhone installed base with a high-end model.

iPhone 5s


Just last month, Chitika saw 36.5 percent of North American iPhone web traffic originating from the iPhone 5. In three weeks, that figure has jumped by more than ten percent. As the trend continues, the firm notes that within a few months, "Apple will have a plurality, and possibly a majority, of its iPhone customer base using a device less than one and a half years old."

The company observed, "Should this occur, it would be a remarkable achievement, especially for an industry player as large as Apple."

Down on Frag'le 'Roid

In stark contrast, Android's growth, primarily through its leading licensee Samsung, was won through shipments of large volumes of low end, budget-priced devices equipped with old versions of Google's OS. Sales of higher end, iPhone-class smartphones, such as the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, have fallen significantly below expectations.

That's perpetuating fragmentation on the Android platform, most obviously in software. Developers have little incentive to take advantage of new features and must write for the lowest common denominator to reach a wide installed base of users, as even relatively new phones often ship with an old OS and rarely get software upgrades.

Analysts have repeatedly voiced expectations that Android's volumes would eventually attract developers' attention away from iOS, but that isn't happening.However, Android's fragmentation is also rooted in hardware, because low end, volume shipments are distributing outdated devices that are not only unreliable and frustratingly laggy, but also cut corners with weak graphics, slow processors, limited memory and other design shortcuts that make it difficult to develop apps and games that work well across the platform.

Google has acknowledged and pointedly sought to address Android's fragmentation problems for more than two years. Despite those efforts, the ACLU issued a complaint with the FCC this year describing how Android's fragmentation was exposing users to significant privacy risks.

Research firm Flurry also documented how Android's fragmentation makes things difficult for developers, particularly smaller independent programmers seeking to get started.

"This further clarifies why developer support for iOS is disproportionate to iOS's share of the installed device space," wrote the company's Dr. Mary Ellen Gordon. "Developers can reach more active devices by developing for a smaller number of device models on iOS and they can also capture the attention of very active users."

Analysts have repeatedly voiced expectations that Android's volumes would eventually attract developers' attention away from iOS, but that isn't happening due to the market barriers and risks involved with Android's fragmented platform.

A Schmidt-load of failed predictions

Two years ago, Google's chairman Eric Schmidt predicted that within six months, developers would be targeting Android first instead of iOS, and said they would be taking advantage of features in the newly released Android 4.0.

Android


That didn't happen. Instead, two years later just two-thirds of the installed base of active Google Play users are even running a variant of Android 4.0, and few developers are taking any special advantage of its features. Most apps are aimed at running on Android 2.x devices, from the paleolithic era of Apple's iOS 3.0.

Schmidt made similarly hollow predictions about widespread adoption of Google TV and more recently insisted that Android is "more secure than the iPhone," a remark that was met by laughter during a Gartner Symposium earlier this month.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    Schmidt just outright lies.. Wouldn't trust him with my breakfast order.
  • Reply 2 of 63
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    "Schmidt made similarly hollow predictions about widespread adoption of Google TV and more recently insisted that Android is "more secure than the iPhone," a remark that was met by laughter during a Gartner Symposium earlier this month."

     

     

    Meanwhile, back in Cupertino, Tim Cook's reaction to Schmidt's ridiculous statement....

     

     

    CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 85

  • Reply 3 of 63
    ksecksec Posts: 1,563member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Adrayven View Post



    Schmidt just outright lies.. Wouldn't trust him with my breakfast order.

     

    ROFL>............

  • Reply 4 of 63
    em_teem_te Posts: 26member

    Perhaps the increase in traffic is because of people playing with the phones inside the Apple store to surf the web.

  • Reply 5 of 63

    WAIT !!

     

    Something is definitely Wrong !!!

    Apple can't be Right !!

     

    ALL the Anal-ysts claimed and predicted that Apple NEEDED to make a "cheaper" iPhone.

    Then and Only then, would Apple sell gazillions of iPhones.

    And until Then, Apple will Only Sell bazillions of iPhones.

     

    Proves to me that the Anal-ysts know NOTHING.

  • Reply 6 of 63
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,930member

    Good news for Apple, but I believe the development problems with Android fragmentation are overstated; Google Play Services means that developers largely don't need to be concerned with the version of Android on the device.  Security updates (or the lack of them) for older versions of Android is definitely still an issue, but app development not so much.

     

    Would be a perfectly fine article without the undignified Android sniping.

  • Reply 7 of 63
    From a developer point of view... Why wouldn't you just develop for the users of Android that have 4.x? Won't that prompt users to want to upgrade to take advantage of the better features?
  • Reply 8 of 63
    crowley wrote: »
    Good news for Apple, but I believe the development problems with Android fragmentation are overstated; Google Play Services means that developers largely don't need to be concerned with the version of Android on the device.  S<span style="line-height:1.4em;">ecurity updates (or the lack of them) for older versions of Android is definitely still an issue, but app development not so much.</span>
    Not according to developers. With a large number of devices still shipping with old software they have to pick which features and sizes to support. Your comment is a repeat of something else Schmidt said to deflect attention from a problem the can't fix.

    Would be a perfectly fine article without the undignified Android sniping.
  • Reply 9 of 63
    crowley wrote: »
    Would be a perfectly fine article without the undignified Android sniping.

    Not at all undignified, comparatively. Unless we hold AI to a higher standard than most print media? The absolute bollocks they print about Apple is ridiculous; this is mainly true, at least.

    Updates to apps for full screen aka iPhone 5+ use are still lackluster, not sure we're going to be seeing a plethora of screen sizes any time soon. The games especially that have just put colorful frames instead of black borders are just awful. At least on android they have to support stretching around for different screen sizes, much like apple made it mandatory for an app to be able to gracefully quit at a moment's notice without losing data. I can see this, along with Apple's continuous use of pixel-level graphics (not resolution independent) limiting their choices going forward. Of course, with obsolescence comes defragmentation, so Apple are probably in a better position to keep moving forward more than competitors in that regard, at least; iPhone users upgrade.
  • Reply 10 of 63
    From a developer point of view... Why wouldn't you just develop for the users of Android that have 4.x? Won't that prompt users to want to upgrade to take advantage of the better features?

    The users may want to upgrade, but unlike the Apple ecosystem, you have to wait for the carrier or vendor to come out with an update for your phone. In many cases, the hardware can't support the new OS.
  • Reply 11 of 63
    wingswings Posts: 261member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by michaeloftroy View Post



    From a developer point of view... Why wouldn't you just develop for the users of Android that have 4.x? Won't that prompt users to want to upgrade to take advantage of the better features?

    If you were a developer would you want to risk investing your time developing for an OS that you hope will have a significant installed base because you did, or would you rather develop for an OS that already has a significant installed base?

  • Reply 12 of 63
    em_te wrote: »
    Perhaps the increase in traffic is because of people playing with the phones inside the Apple store to surf the web.

    That infamous Shirley McClaine line comes to mind!
  • Reply 13 of 63
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,221member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post

     

    WAIT !!

     

    Something is definitely Wrong !!!

    Apple can't be Right !!

     

    ALL the Anal-ysts claimed and predicted that Apple NEEDED to make a "cheaper" iPhone.

    Then and Only then, would Apple sell gazillions of iPhones.

    And until Then, Apple will Only Sell bazillions of iPhones.

     

    Proves to me that the Anal-ysts know NOTHING.


     

    They did made a cheap phone, the 5c will be a cheap option with good margins when the iphone 6 is out at the 5c drops to $400-$450

  • Reply 14 of 63
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,606member

    'A Schmidt-load'... I'll have to remember that one lol. Even better than 'Samesung'.

  • Reply 15 of 63
    "Down on Fraggle Roid."

    Brilliant. How many here have heard of Fraggle Rock, I wonder?
  • Reply 16 of 63

    maybe i'm just being sour grapes stuck on my loooong canadian 4S contract, but i can't help but feel we've all gone a bit off our rockers in this smartphone craze.

     

    the implication of this article seems to be that its ideal that we all upgrade our phones every 1 or 2 years, and that any stragglers to this behaviour are the source of OS fragmentation.

     

    i know there are some of us for whom tech goodies are our indulgence, and thats cool, but this article seems to be cheerleading the idea of a MAJORITY of users treating technology as something almost disposable, which i feel isn't the most responsible behaviour.

     

    i don't mean this to be particularly critical of apple, either, as i think they do a better job than most of providing legacy support to their phones for several years. i'd just hate for this to change in the name of preventing fragmentation, backed by the fact that many users will ditch their old hardware after a year anyway.

     

    just my two cents, anyway.

  • Reply 17 of 63
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,744member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post



    "Down on Fraggle Roid."



    Brilliant. How many here have heard of Fraggle Rock, I wonder?

     

     

    I think it came on right after Beachcombers. 

     

    ;)

     

    *sigh* . . . 

  • Reply 18 of 63
    This also implies that all the old phones are no longer being used, seeing as most phones are either sold on or handed down that is probably not the case. The only real possibility for an increase is that they are selling a 'boatload' of new phones.
  • Reply 19 of 63

    Um... ya, except that intelligence services worldwide have given higher security approval to Android than to Apple. For very good reasons. Note also that the only vendor that has the highest levels of security approval is BlackBerry. Also for very good reasons. If you are seriously trying to argue that Apple's security infrastructure is up to snuff, then you know nothing at all about security. 

  • Reply 20 of 63
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by michaeloftroy View Post



    From a developer point of view... Why wouldn't you just develop for the users of Android that have 4.x? Won't that prompt users to want to upgrade to take advantage of the better features?

    I have friends on iphone4 which are already very slow and with faulty home buttons. They still use them because the phones "still work". That the new iphone models are faster, more capable and offer more features is irrelevant because the original iphone4 still looks sleek and elegant, it continues to perform the basic smartphone functions (whatsapp, facebook, imessage, web-browsing, shared photostream), and you can use 3rd party apps like google maps or camera+ or skype to compensate for withheld features. 

     

    That and Apple technically still supports iphone4 with IOS7. Even if you argue that the iphone4 won't get many of the new features or that it runs like molasses, it still supports the new APIs. So apps are still going to refresh silently in the background regardless of whether it is running on an iphone4 or 5s. You will get support for game controllers etc.

     

    I suspect it's the same here. No one is going to upgrade their phone just so they can use a certain app. They simply won't buy or use that app, which just results in lost sales for the developer. And these people are on gingerbread phones for a simple reason. They need an inexpensive handset, and aren't going to break the bank recontracting to a more capable (and more expensive) phone. 

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