Apple saw a record adoption of the redesigned iOS 7 when it debuted in September, and those numbers keep rising. A recent report puts the current version of iOS at a 78 percent installation rate, a gain of 4 percent in the month of December alone. It's a pretty impressive number when you consider that this version of the mobile operating system is only a little more than four months old. By comparison, the most recent version of Google’s OS, called Android 4.4 KitKat, is operating on just over 1 percent of devices, according to a study by Chitika released last month.
The widespread adoption of the OS comes partly from the recent launch of four new devices, the iPhone 5s/5c, iPad Air, and iPad Mini, all of which came with iOS 7 preinstalled. The 4 percent gain in December came from users upgrading from iOS 6, the previous year’s version. At the beginning of the month, iOS 6 users represented 22 percent of active devices; now they represent 18 percent.
Android is doing decidedly worse. Android 4.4’s (KitKat) recent release date may be why it represents such a small percentage of devices. Some 37 percent of devices still run the previous version, Jelly Bean, while Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich power 24 percent and 18 percent, respectively. It’s worth mentioning that Gingerbread is 3 years old. Devices powered by iOS software for longer than a year represent only 4 percent of the market.
Android has a historically slower adoption rate because of the numerous device manufacturers. As Google’s OS is only natively supported on the Google Nexus line of phones, every manufacturer has to port the OS to its own devices, leaving them to do the grunt work. Older devices get left behind in the update schedule, hence Gingerbread’s strong market share. As Apple doesn’t allow its OS to run on non-Apple-manufactured devices, it doesn’t have this problem. Apple also features over-the-air updating, allowing customers the convenience of upgrades without the hassle of connecting to a computer.