Even before its new iPhones began to hit the network on Friday, Apple’s other big new product, iOS 7, was quickly spreading through the market. Within 48 hours of its Wednesday launch, the new mobile operating system had made its way onto 32 percent of the Apple (AAPL) devices in the U.S. and Canada, according to digital ad network Chitika.
While many Apple users are grumbling as they work their way through the grief phase of the transition, so far it hasn’t been as messy as the last major update to Apple’s software, when it launched Apple Maps, a product that reminded most people just how much they like Google (GOOG) Maps. And despite the well-publicized backlash to that update, more than 30 percent of iOS users downloaded iOS 6 within three days. Within a month, the number hit 50 percent.
In the end, Apple knows that pretty much all its customers will get on board. About 95 percent of the company’s mobile users were on iOS 6 by July, according to Open Signal, an organization that gathers data on wireless usage.
You can’t say the same about Google, whose Android users are spread out over all kinds of sugar-themed software flavors. Google says about 45 percent are using Jelly Bean, which was introduce last June. Almost a third are still using Gingerbread, a version that was launched in 2010. And that says nothing of the head-spinning variety of shapes and sizes of the devices themselves.
The ability to get users to march in formation gives Apple an advantage over Android as they compete for the favors of developers. It’s just easier to make apps for fewer products that all run similar software. Of course, the developers themselves take a little time to get in line, too—not everyone with an iPhone app has adapted it to fit the company’s new aesthetic.
Android will unwrap the latest version of its own operating system—Kit Kat—as soon as this fall, adding another layer for developers to consider. By that point, most iPhone users will probably have reached acceptance.
(This post has been updated to reflect more recent statistics from Chitika.)