Apple's iOS Fragmentation Chart is a Subtle Dig at Android

Apple has gone and put together a pie chart showing the percentage of iOS users rocking the latest version of its platform (iOS 6) versus earlier versions, and like Google, the figures are derived from users who've accessed the App Store in the past 14 days (Google plucks its Android data from Google Play and also uses a 14-day window). Unlike Google, however, Apple's pie chart is short on slices.

Whether it's a fair comparison or not, Apple is attempting to show that its platform is far less fragmented than Google's Android ecosystem. According to Apple, 93 percent of iOS users have iOS 6 installed on their iPad, iPhone, and/or iPod touch, versus just 6 percent running iOS 5 and the remaining 1 percent running an earlier version.

Android's pie chart looks far different. The largest slice is Gingerbread (36.5 percent), followed by Jelly Bean flavored (34 percent), Ice Cream Sandwich (25.6 percent), Froyo (3.2 percent), Eclair 1.5 percent), Honeycomb (0.1 percent), and Donut (0.1 percent).

Apple Google Pie Chart
Source: Apple and Google

At a glance, Apple has built a platform that's far less fragmented, and that's fair to point out. After all, there are benefits to having users on the same OS, especially to developers who want to ensure all users are receiving the same experience. Now that Apple's posting distribution data, we can compare it with Android using hard data.

By that same token, it's fair to point out that there's a reason why iOS is less fragmented. Apple, and only Apple, builds hardware capable of running on its platform, whereas anyone and everyone is free to build an Android device. The downside to Apple's approach is the lack of variety. Looking for a phablet? Too bad, Apple doesn't offer one. Looking for a handset with a microSD card slot? Again, you're out of luck.

In any event, it's interesting to see and compare the distribution data between Android and iOS, which we can now do, but it's also important to understand why the disparity exists.