The Upgrade Cycle

One of the things that Apple posted on Monday was that 93% of all iOS customers are now on iOS 6. That is an amazing feat, to get almost all devices to update especially when some of Apple’s devices can’t run iOS 6. As Tim Cook said on stage, this is a huge help to developers. The ability to write for one OS release makes it much easier for us to write and test our apps.

David Smith, an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Herndon, Virginia [1], has consistently posted on his customer data as well. He has noticed that about 50% of customers update their OS version within the first week of it being launched. As he correctly wonders, it will be interesting to see how a major interface overhaul like iOS 7 impacts these numbers. As he said about developers:

Most previous major OS updates contained changes that were largely additive and served to expand what an application could do. However, iOS 7 may change the user experience so dramatically that having the same code work usefully in both contexts could become a daunting challenge.

iOS 7, which David was only speculating about at the time he wrote the article, is indeed a major departure. People in general do not like change and prefer what they have become familiar with. I wonder how many customers, who are familiar and comfortable with iOS 5 and 6, will upgrade to iOS 7? Will they just opt out of upgrading all together? Or will they grumble and upgrade anyway?

[1] David starts every podcast with this line. It’s like a theme song after listening to him for so long.