Slow iOS 8 adoption worries developers

One of the best things about Apple’s iOS over Google’s Android is that the latest updates are immediately available for supported devices without the need to wait for your carrier to check it, or your hardware OEM to ‘skin’ it to differentiate their products from competitors.

This year, adoption of the latest iOS has been much less than previous years, and it’s worrying developers. After three weeks, iOS 8 is now running on 47% of devices according to Apple. After the same period last year, iOS 7 reached nearly 70%. So, what has happened?

There are a few theories as to the reason behind this year’s slow uptake:

  1. Users are sticking to iOS 7 for the time being due to the number of bugs which have been reported.
  2. Customers are frustrated at the 5GB space requirement for the update, with a significant percentage of users having to connect their device to a computer so iTunes could temporarily dump the files to the PC.
  3. People don’t see the point in upgrading this year.

The second theory is much more likely, as bugs have naturally occurred with each OS release (not just iOS.)

On Android, Google realised they had a problem and released most of the APIs in ‘Play Services’ which can be updated without an OS release through the Play Store so developers can target most devices whether they’re running the latest sweet-named treat or not.

On iOS, this has never been an issue, and so Apple isn’t prepared. Developers who are creating iOS 8 apps right now are hitting 47% of iOS devices (of a market already half the size of Android’s) and are being vocal about it in their communities:

There are also those criticising Apple’s “PC Free” message introduced in iOS 5:

Ahead of iOS 8’s launch, all HealthKit-enabled apps were pulled from the App Store due to a major bug. A fix was quickly released, but the update, iOS 8.0.1, disabled the cellular service and Touch ID functionality on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices. It's not been such a smooth launch this year, has it?

Do you think the lack of iOS 8 uptake is a concern? Let us know in the comments.

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