Feature Article

September 18, 2013

iOS 7 and Apple's Mobile Ecosystem Will Grow and Spread Like Wildfire - It Begins Today!

As we've noted numerous times over the last several months, iOS 7 - and now in combination with the new 5S and 5C - is a game changer. No, it will not convert diehard high-end Android users who have the latest versions of Android, but theirs is a philosophical game and such minds won't be changed. But we can look for both iOS 7 and the new iPhones to drive significant upgrade fever, enough so to recapture the entire iOS ecosystem of users. That is a game changer. It will all be helped as well by a collection of exceedingly positive reviews on both the iOS and new iPhone end of things from the likes of Walt Mossberg and Engadget.

What is important about this? Most of us - and we ourselves are included in the group - have held on to our iPhone 4S phones, even as we looked with some envy to the iPhone 5. Not enough envy to make the switch, but enough to keep us looking ahead with anticipation to the next generation. The combination of iOS 7 and the powerful new iPhone 5S deliver a true innovation punch - we'll go so far as to call it a wallop. 

The combination will be huge in terms of new levels of sophisticated smartphone use - and the flow of iOS 7 in combination with the iPhone 5S's new capabilities will be impossible to resist. What this means is that we believe all iPhone 4 and 4S users will upgrade, and a large collection of iPhone 5 users will do the same. All of the iPhones these users will be leaving behind will go to family and friends - most of whom have been using lower end (ok, we mean "cheap") Android devices - not because these users are enamored with Android but because it's all we've been willing to pay, in many cases, for our kids.

And in many cases, our friends - especially those who need a smartphone but could not care less about them as cool mobile devices - have almost all tended to do the same - acquire the cheapest possible smartphone, and this has meant Android. Our iPhone 4 devices - running iOS 7 - will all find homes amongst these cheap Android phone users. What will end up happening is that we will see a huge re-boot of the iOS ecosystem - a groundswell of new very high users (iPhone 5S and 5C users) and an entirely new population of iOS users that move over from the cheap end of the Android ecosystem.


Image courtesy of Apple

But enough predictions. We won't really know until Apple delivers its 2013 holiday buying season earnings report sometime in January 2014 as to how reality pans out. We're extremely bullish is the bottom line for now.

Some Very Interesting Statistics to Keep in Mind

Perfectly timed with our pondering over the iOS and Android ecosystems, Crittercism, a mobile application performance management vendor we've previously covered, recently did some very interesting research into iOS and Android use and coincidentally released some key insights based on it. Through some rather extensive legwork the company mined through literally billions of mobile application sessions worth of data looking for specific patterns in the adoption behaviors of Android and iOS users when new versions of operating systems are released. Needless to say, the insights from this research will prove quite interesting as iOS 7 prepares to go public in an extraordinarily big way in a few hours' time. Here are the findings:

  • iOS Performance Diminishes over Time: We compared the crash rates of 24 versions of iOS in January and August and found that app crash rates increased for 17 of those versions over time. Moreover, January’s most recent iOS version, 6.1, and the most widely used, version 6.0.1, saw their crash rates skyrocket 85.4 percent and 74.24 percent respectively (approximately 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent);
  • Android Performance Improves over Time: Android developers are spread over a wider swath of OS versions because their users are as well. Of the 33 versions of Android we looked at from January through August, 23 versions saw performance improvements and crash rate declines;
  • iOS Users Favor New Versions, Android Users are More Spread Out: In August, the five most recent versions of iOS accounted for 86.65 percent of iOS devices. In contrast, the five most recent versions of Android accounted for just 16 percent of Android devices;
  • iOS 7 Usage Will Likely Explode: If iOS 7 follows the trend of iOS6, more than 80 percent of iOS users will upgrade within three months.

The first two bullet points above are interesting but are more alarmist than anything else. The growth rate of crashes may have grown 85 percent, but this isn't applicable to the million apps in the iOS ecosystem. It merely says that the crash rate of all these apps went from .75 to 1.5 percent - an almost trivial number that is inevitable within such a large population of mobile apps. The second bullet notes a decline in Android app crashes but doesn't actually state what the number is.

Did Android's crash rate go from 10 to 9 percent (that is a decline)? From 2 to .65 percent? The latter would be worthy of note, the former would suggest a huge iOS advantage regardless of negligible iOS crash rate increases.

The last two bullet points, however, is where the real news is to be found. Or rather, where confirmation of what we already know is found.

As we noted at the beginning of our story we can anticipate a huge movement within the iOS ecosystem - and as we noted this will be across the board, at both the high and low ends of the user spectrum. iOS 7 will be used by likely 80 percent of the entire iOS ecosystem within three months! This is what really drives Apple - it is what Apple is all about.

Android, meanwhile, remains forever fragmented (we don’t buy into Google's attempts to defragment the OS - it will remain fragmented for a long time to come). And the really high end users will remain below 20 percent of the entire Android ecosystem. This is what all the statistics that measure Android and iPhone market share miss - Apple entirely owns the high end of the industry no matter how much of the total global population may live within Android.

It is also why Apple owns and will continue to own most of the profits and why iOS will indeed spread like wildfire. It's worth noting that TMC's CEO Rich Tehrani is distraught over Apple's lack of delivering a large screen iPhone. But Rich, it won't make any difference. Soon enough that large screen iPhone will appear and the price of the 5C will eventually dip right down to cheap Android cost points. What then?! Perhaps all that will be left at that point will be the diehard Android 16 percenters.

It's now time to look ahead to Apple's upcoming wearable tech innovations. The seeds are planted with the introduction of Apple's Motion 7 coprocessor in the iPhone 5S. There is plenty of heady new Apple innovation - all of it linked directly to the iOS ecosystem - coming our way.

Buy Apple.




Edited by Alisen Downey


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