We’ve all heard the Android propaganda: vast numbers of cheap smartphones based on Google’s mobile software will overcome the quality of Apple handsets. Not so fast, say new web traffic numbers. In less than a month, 40.6 percent of iPhones online are the new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c models.

Indeed, if this upward curve continues, the majority of iPhones will be using Apple’s latest technology at most one year old. By comparison, Android continues suffering from fragmentation marked by apps developed for a time when Apple’s iOS 3 was just launched…

According to web ad network Chitika, the 40.6 percent of North American iPhone traffic is “a remarkable achievement”. Should the trend continue, within just a few months most iPhone owners will use a device less than one and a half years old.

With the release of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, all of Apple’s handsets introduced since September 2012 now feature a four-inch Retina display.

5s 5c banner

Chitika explains that the “obvious implications for mobile applications and web developers in terms of compatibility and functionality issues, but also for the technology industry as a whole.”

The key phrase in that quote is “…obvious implications for mobile applications and web developers…” While Android backers have done everything but stand on their heads and spit jelly beans trying to convince developers to write apps for the platform, iOS remains the first choice.

As a reminder, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt two years ago claimed that within six months, developers would be targeting Android first.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 15.57.13

The advantage of having most iPhone owners on the latest hardware, operating the latest software, is that developers can write cutting-edge software, using the latest technology innovations.

By contrast, two years after Google unveiled Android 4.x, most apps still target earlier versions (Android 2.x) of Google’s mobile operating system because of the severe fragmentation of hardware and software on that platform.

While sales of cheap Android handsets running outdated software are abundant, higher-end handsets with new Android versions, such as Samsung’s Galaxy 4, have had trouble gaining a foothold.

Dr. Mary Ellen Gorden of Flurry acknowledged as much recently:

This further clarifies why developer support for iOS is disproportionate to iOS’ share of the installed device base. Developers can reach more active devices by developing for a smaller number of device models on iOS and they can also capture the attention of very active users.

For some time, Apple has felt pressure to race Android to the bottom, to introduce cheap smartphones able to compete with inexpensive alternatives. But today’s numbers only show that Apple is right to use the iPhone 5c as a stepping stone to the full-featured iPhone 5s.

If anyone had doubts that Apple planned to scramble around for chump change, abandoning its luxurious roots and its crowd of aspirant consumers, the hiring of a former Burberry CEO to lead the retail charge should settle those questions.

  • Bradley Wyatt

    I have yet to find an app that i use that was in the App Store that isnt in Google Play.
    Overall the quality of the iOS app is much better. I do however enjoy that most apps are free on Google Play, and many do not have IAP and ads like they do in the App Store. More apps have ads and IAP in the iOS market than the Android one.

    • Kurt

      You’re lucky. I have some apps I really like that I can’t play on my Note 3. EA Sports Fight Night, such a great boxing game. Also, Carcassone on iOS is so much better. The one on Android is made by another dev and they don’t even have online play. But there are so many apps that are on both and are both equally good. But some are on both but not as good as iOS, like instagram. Does anyone know why there is no stabilizer for vids on Android??

    • Slammamon

      Clash of Clans was just released for Android this week. It’s been on iOS for years. You know that company Supercell, the one that SoftBank just made a 1.5 billion investment in? Yeah, that one. As a developer, iOS was my first choice.

      ” I do however enjoy that most apps are free on Google Play, and many do not have IAP and ads like they do in the App Store. More apps have ads and IAP in the iOS market than the Android one.”

      Perhaps this is another reason that developers target iOS; they need to make money. iOS users dish out more to developers than Android users do. Piracy is also much more common on Android devices these days.

      • Bradley Wyatt

        I think this is totally true! so easy to pirate on Andorid it might not be worth a developers time

    • bigtalk

      android s not an option for me… i hate the look of IOS 7 but love the features.. so once JB is out i will update and get the ipad5

      • Kurt

        Can’t wait to get the iPad 5. I have the original, but never felt the newer iPads had enough to push me to buy it. But it runs so sluggish and laggy that I can’t stand waiting. Should be a good upgrade. Wish it was the 13 incher though 🙁

      • Andrieux Querido


    • Jack Wong

      I have $25 free play store credit from the Nexus 7(first gen.) and I have no way to spend the $, anyway, I gave that device to my brother.

      When I see Nintendo title on iOS appstore, then it is time for me to get an iPad!

  • mahendru1992

    Everybody says android is fragmented. Well no doubt it is, but it’s not fair to say that iOS isn’t.
    As far as I know, Mostly more than 90% of the apps in the play store support OS as low as Froyo. Now that is impressive.
    But if one looks at iOS, most apps have incompatibility issues with lower OSs. Not that incompatibility issue is a clincher since most people do upgrade to the latest OS.
    What I’m trying to say is that the fragmentation problem is not that huge a issue in Android, since most apps do work with the earlier OSs too.
    Plus with the google pushing all its services in the playstore, most people with ginger bread and ice cream sand-witch wouldn’t be missing a lot since apps like keyboard and the play store services all get updated via the store.
    I honestly didn’t like the tone of the article. The author IMO is being a total snob. Not everybody can afford an expensive phone. So cheap android phones do fill the demand. What’s wrong with that???
    P.S I have an iPad and a Samsung Galaxy S3. I find both the OS equally good with its own set of pros and cons. Can’t survive without either of them. But this article compelled me to pen out my thoughts.

    • Kurt

      When apple talks about adoption rate it is for devices that can upgrade. they exclude the ones that can’t which of course makes the numbers much much higher in their favor. But they take those same numbers and compare it to Android’s devices that are stuck on old firmwares. Not fair, but such is life

      • mahendru1992

        Damn! Now that is news to me.

  • sn1p3r

    I’ve had both android and ios devices. Apps for ios are beautiful, elegant and responsive. Apps for android look and feel cheap, slower and buggier. Let’s hope that with the new batch of android devices with full hd screens, quad/octa cores and 2gb of ram things will change.

    • mahendru1992

      Have you been to the play store recently? Apps are as good as they can get. Only those apps are ugly which don’t adhere to the android guidlines. And there aren’t a lot of them.

  • Singhavi Vaibhav

    this article is kind of tough on android part. I have a first gen ipad and s4 recently switched from iPhone 4s so I know what I’m saying, IPHONE has everything from soft are to premium look with every game releasing on Wednesday I miss it but truth has I will have two side 4s was 3.5 same has iPhone 4 so no change used for 1 yr 4 month love it for a year but with the same year came samsung s3 a cheap plastic and android with its 4.7 screen, it was awesome, the way of playing game on it even though gameloft used to launch for ios and later android but it still come after couple of month but look better atleast that i saw and now i feel when playing game on s4, used to watch on youtube, after purchasing 4s, got the way to earn credit to get iTunes 10 and 25 $ credit to fma to feature point downloaded every app and redeem 124 dollar i still remember how hard that was took me many month but i did now i think i was stupid since could have redeemed amazom gift card but app was my first choice I’m a idiot anyway, I felt yes it kind of half screem of s3. felt I wasted on something small since before purchasing 4s used to surf everyday for iPhone 4s review and unboxing with app review and itunes store getting update. while apple had apps and update of app but after using the iPhone 4s and ios feature waa disappoint 3.5 is not enough and not 4 inch too even used iPhone 5 for a week no major different, ios 6 was the worst update ever with ios 5 with ios 6 what change nothing else wallpaper yeah yeah bluetooth toogle was in main setting instead of under setting while android was wayyyy head in term of software.with ios7 is all but copy of android wish ios 6 had it so i didn’t had to sell my iPhone but now ios 7 release it nothing new to me or to anyone android user since anything new come anyone can have doesn’t matter which version you are on that the part android grow and go and customise your phone no need to wait for year update and see what update you can have and latest only for 1 yr old and new iPhone accept it and move. stop hatting. competition with android and ios this will result into something innovative.

  • mav3rick

    “… Android propaganda” LOL! Just look here: lengthily articles trying to explain that 5C is not the same last year phone in plastic case, “why” its production is cut at a half not because they’re overpriced plastic phones and not selling, trying to bash Consumer Reports because they’re not singing praises to iPhone, and so on…

  • thecity2

    “In less than a month, 40.6 percent of iPhones online are thenew iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c models.”

    The 40.6% refers to all iPhone 5’s in the wild, not just the new ones. The 4% bump up is due to the 5c/s.