Fragmentation? Here’s your iOS platform matrix

A developer took it upon himself to create a handy chart with all of Apple’s iOS devices, their key hardware characteristics and iOS software builds running. Even a brief glance reveals very little fragmentation as approximately 70 percent of all iOS devices in the wild are shown running iOS 5, the latest public version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

The upcoming iOS 6 is already on five percent of devices in the wild and iOS 4 is still found on approximately ten percent of devices. On the hardware front, both the third-generation iPod touch/iPhone and newer plus all iPad models run on the ARMv7 application processor.

This makes software optimization much easier than on the Android platform, where a variety of form factors, hardware configurations and device models contribute to high fragmentation….

The chart below is the work of app developer Empirical Magic.

Labeled Autumn 2012 Edition, it compiles everything you need to know about Apple’s mobile devices in respect to iOS version installed and application processor/display utilized.

Device support data and release dates are pulled from Wikipedia. Usage stats are approximated from data obtained from three different sources. That said, you’re advised to take this chart with a pinch of salt.

Click for Retina version.

An ultra high-resolution JPG and PDF is also available.

As pointed out by The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple, the chart has en error in that it depicts a non-existent 8GB third-gen iPod Touch. He warned that “when the third generation iPod touches were released (in 32 and 64 gb models), the 2nd gen 8gb touch was sold alongside them”.

Just for reference, here’s Android fragmentation heatmap depicting more than 400 devices developers have to deal with.

It gives fragmentation a whole new meaning, if you ask me. And here are the devices Android developers typically have to cope with in order to test their warez against.

Quite a difference compared to clean iOS product mix, no?

One of Apple’s major advantages that keeps developers glued to the platform is minimal fragmentation in respect to devices, iOS versions and screen resolutions.

It’s fair to say that the iOS ecosystem remains consistent and not marred with insane fragmentation seen in Android landscape.

A bunch of horror stories often times tell the same thing, one where programmers simply cannot justify spending resources on perfecting their apps for a myriad of devices.

As a result, they settle on the least common denominator to produce apps which may not be what you’re accustomed to call pretty, but they do run on a wide selection of hardware.

What do you think of the iOS device/software mix so far?