Apple’s released stats showing a full breakdown for its iOS distribution. The stats, initially released at WWDC, show that a whopping 93% of iOS devices use the latest version, iOS 6,
while only 6% are still on iOS 5. The remaining 1% are devices that run an earlier version of iOS, presumably due to Apple dropping support for older devices.
These numbers favour Apple’s platform when compared to Android. Google’s operating system is used by more than 20 device manufacturers, and only Nexus devices, those commissioned by Google, are privy to the latest updates. Manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sony, and HTC all have to adapt the newest version of Android to run on their devices, in order to retain compatibility with their custom interfaces.
According to Google, Android marketshare is split up as follows: 4% of devices on Android 4.2; 29% of devices on Android 4.1; 25.6% of devices on 4.0; and 36.5% of devices on 2.3.
While Apple does limit certain new functions of its operating systems to the latest hardware, developers can still use almost all of the new API calls and features when coding applications. Android developers face a tough choice with this fragmentation: develop apps that only work on 4.1 or newer, and lose compatibility with around 42% of the devices on the market. Or develop an app that will work on all Android devices, but limit its functionality because older operating systems don’t support newer technology.