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Almost half of iPhones and iPads already on iOS8

apps Updated: Sep 24, 2014 12:14 IST

The latest version of Apple's smartphone and tablet operating system is now running on 46 % of all active iDevices globally after just five days.

Launched as a software download for owners of all iPhones from the 4S upwards on September 17 and as the standard operating system on the 10 million + iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets sold since Friday, it is second only to iOS7 (49%) in terms of popularity.

Only two weeks ago, 90 % of all iPhones and iPads in use were running iOS7, suggesting that the iPhone 6 has been snapped up by owners of older iPhones such as the 3GS and 4, as well as by consumers dumping an Android phone.

Apple is often criticized -- usually by people that prefer Google's Android operating system -- for the amount of control it exerts over its software, hardware and apps. However, by controlling every aspect of the iPhone and iPad, from their internal components to the way software and apps look, feel and perform, Apple can ensure that everyone who owns one of their devices gets the best possible user experience.

To put this in perspective, the most recent version of Android -- KitKat, launched in October 2013 -- is still only running on 24.5 % of Android phones and tablets, despite being around for 11 months. What's more, it is about to be superseded by version ‘L', expected to roll out next month.

But why does any of this really matter to consumers? The simple answer is fragmentation. The less fragmentation -- i.e., different versions of software running on different devices -- the easier it is for developers (be they individuals with a great idea or huge companies like Facebook) to create apps that work properly on a smartphone or tablet and that make the most of a device's capabilities.