• iOS 4 on 50% of iPhones? Um, no.

    Due to some confusing reports about a mobile ad analytics study, stories are proliferating on the interwebs this morning that 50% of iPhones are running iOS 4!!!1!! Later corrections modified that report to say that 50% of all web traffic is from iPhones running iOS 4!!!1! The actual report, though, shows that 50% of iPhones with installed apps using one particular ad company's banners are using iOS 4 - a very different statistic. However, it does show that the new OS has penetrated pretty quickly just a month after its release. By contrast, Google reports that Froyo is running on just 3.3% of Android phones.

    Chitika (which you apparently pronounce CHIH-tih-ka) is an ad network that claims "2 billion monthly impressions across more than 80,000 websites." As part of its June analytics report, Chitika found that over 50% of the "impressions" from iPhone users were coming from iOS 4 devices, prompting Chitika research director Daniel Ruby to tweet "Good on you iPhone users - 50% of you are already updated to iOS 4." But the report - which Ruby linked in the tweet, and presumably had some hand in writing - didn't show that, or even what the title "iOS 4 Now Powering 50% of iPhone Traffic" claims. Using mobile ads as a proxy for all internet traffic is iffy at best. When, as in this case, the analytics are coming from a company that does in-app advertising, and isn't even in the top ten mobile ad companies by revenue, the numbers are even more hand-wavey.

    What the report does do is give a snapshot of how a certain subset of users - ones who regularly download and install apps - are keeping current with iOS updates. The Chitika report showed that iOS 4.0, which was released just a month ago, had a plurality - 44.5% - of those users. iPhone OS 3.1.3 is still holding firm at 29.8%, with 3.1.2 at 14%. Version 4.0.1 has apparently gotten up to 5% after only a week. In its coverage of the Chitika report, AppleInsider compared these number to Google's own analytics showing 55.5% of Android users still using Android 2.1, and only 3.3% on Android 2.2 Froyo. 41% of Android users are stuck with 1.5 or 1.6, and most of those will probably never be able to upgrade because their phones won't support it. AppleInsider credits Apple's easy upgrade procedure for the rapid uptake of the latest iOS versions; that and the fact that no currently shipping Android phone (now that the Nexus One has been discontinued) comes with Froyo pre-installed.

    Mark Twain famously quoted British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli as saying that "there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." If he had lived to the twenty-first century, Twain might well have added a fourth to the list: analytics.

    Sources: AppleInsider, the intertubes
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iOS 4 on 50% of iPhones? Um, no. started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
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