In last week's Apple event, Tim Cook went about touting some usual slides on how iOS users update to the latest version much more often than Android or in other words, how iOS does not suffer fragmentation, like Android suffers. There was however one difference this year, though. Last year in less than a month of iOS 7's announcement, Apple's slides (from October 22nd 2013 special event) showed that the adoption rate was 64%. This year similarly in less than a month of iOS 8's announcement, Apple's slides showed that iOS 8 was installed only on 48% of the iOS devices out there. So iOS 8's adoption is a good 25% lower than iOS 7, in approximately the same time. This has got to be bad news and has been rightly pointed out by many bloggers. It is particularly bad for Apple, as it loves to parade these numbers in comparison to Android's totally fragmented adoption rates. There is a great deal of truth to this comparison and having majority of the users on the same release of the operating system in such a short time, while has been largely unheard of, thanks to Microsoft's terrible software policies, Apple has been changing that scene, thanks to its over the air updates, yearly upgrade cycle and most important of all, it making its OS upgrades, free!
As I had posted sometime back on this issue, there might be a couple of reasons for this slower adoption rate of iOS 8. But in my opinion and experience, there are only two most important reasons for this; Apple's recent more than usual buggier software releases, like the iOS 8.0.1 and more importantly, lack of free space on older iPhone models, due to lower than acceptable memory that Apple decided to ship its base models of the iPhones with (and is still shipping the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus's base models with), i.e., 16GB. Since I have already ranted on this topic and its ramifications and probably reasons why Apple is doing this (here and here), I will skip them. But coming to the point of this post, I think the slower than usual adoption rate of iOS 8 is a good thing, a great thing, intact for us, the Apple customers because now Apple has something palpable to analyze on how its obsession with higher profit margins is affecting its primary goal as a company, one Steve Jobs was proud of, that is customer satisfaction. Now Apple knows that the price it had to pay for increasing its profit margin from 37% to 38% this quarter (via AppleInsider) was a good 25% lower adoption rate of its latest iOS version, iOS 8.
Fewer iOS users on its latest iOS is bad for Apple developers as it demotivates and makes it tougher for them, as they have to develop keeping in mind two iOS versions. It is bad for Apple as it has to support more people on two different iOS versions, instead of one. It is bad for customers as they obviously miss all the new features on the latest iOS! So while this affects everyone in the ecosystem, it does improve or help maintain the higher than usual profit margins that Apple as a hardware company enjoys and is as some would say, obsessed with. So Apple is definitely watching this trend and let us hope that for all of us, the customers' sake, there will never be an iOS device that has only 16GB memory in it, at least not the latest generation of any iOS device!