Apple's new iOS 5 already powering a third of eligible devices

Jason Ankenyeditor's corner

Who says consumers are disappointed by the iPhone 4S? Even if Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) latest smartphone isn't the quantum leap forward some anticipated, that didn't stop diehards from turning out in droves for the new device--Apple reports it sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S units during its first weekend at retail, shattering previous sales records. Apple adds that 25 million users have already downloaded its new iOS 5 operating system system, issued on Oct. 12 and boasting more than 200 new features (including voice recognition solution Siri, SMS alternative iMessage and deep Twitter integration) as well as backwards-compatibility with models dating back to the iPhone 3GS.

Less than a week since iOS 5 first hit, the operating system already powers one in three eligible Apple devices according to new data published by mobile application analytics firm Localytics--even if you subtract the iPhone 4S, which ships with iOS 5 pre-installed, the percentage of devices running the new version drops only to 31 percent. Based on all iOS device usage between Oct. 12 and Oct. 17, Localytics reports that 36 percent of all iPad 2 units are running iOS 5, followed by the iPhone 4 at 35 percent and the original iPad at 33 percent. Twenty-seven percent of iPhone 3GS devices run iOS 5, followed by 23 percent of third-generation iPod touch devices and 17 percent of fourth-gen iPod touches.

Which means iOS developers who haven't yet updated their applications to iOS 5 need to do so. Immediately. "With changes like Apple's new iOS data storage rules, iCloud and Twitter implementation, and more, the speed at which users are updating should be reflected in the speed at which app developers are pushing their new versions," Localytics states. "We've noted in the past how quickly iOS users adopt a new version of the operating system, but also that a chunk of users will hold on to the previous version long enough to necessitate solid backwards compatibility."

And there are more iOS 4S device owners coming. Forty-four percent of iPhone 3 or 3GS owners plan to upgrade to the new edition--so do 42 percent of iPhone 4 owners, according to a survey conducted by consumer electronics shopping and review site Retrevo. In addition, 24 percent of respondents who currently own Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry devices say they will to switch to the iPhone 4S and 12 percent of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android owners are planning to defect to iOS 5 as well. In fact, despite initial concerns the iPhone 4S would fail to capture the consumer imagination, only 29 percent of all smartphone owners express disappointment with the product--existing iPhone 4 are the toughest critics, with 29 percent wishing the 4S touted 4G connectivity, 21 percent regretting the absence of a new design and 12 percent frustrated that the display isn't bigger. You can't please all the people all the time, but Apple hits the target more often than not. -Jason