On the Apple Developer site, the Cupertino company has released the latest update of iOS distribution figures and it is pretty astounding. For the report which is dated April 22, 2018, 76% of all iPhones and iPads coming to the App Store were running a variant of iOS 11, the latest version of the mobile platform. A further 19% were running iOS 10, meaning that stunning 95% of all devices are running the last two major updates to the platform.
The numbers stand in stark comparison to Android Oreo, the latest version of Android from Google. There, you will find just 4.6% of Android devices coming to the Google Play Store. In fact, if you add up Oreo and Nougat, the version prior, you only get to 35.4%. While it is easy to point the finger at Google, the reality is that the blame for the lack of updates to the majority of devices in the Android ecosystem lies with manufactures, a problem Apple clearly doesn’t have with iPhones and iPads.
To be sure, Google is to take their fair share of blame by not providing incentives or forcing manufactures – and by extension phone carriers – to provide the latest update. It is this lack of forced upgrading that causes the cliff between install bases of the two major mobile OS platforms out there.
Apple, while it seemed draconian at the time, took carriers out of the mix when they released the iPhone ten years ago. All updates to the platform come from Apple directly and they support older devices for far longer than Android manufactures.
For developers, this has a knock-on effect as for Android, they have to support more versions of Android which can potentially introduce security issues and bugs. iOS developers on the other hand pretty much only have to worry about supporting iOS 11 or iOS 10, making things cleaners and simpler for them.