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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Despite Early Criticism, Apple’s iOS 7 Quickly Gains Traction

Consumers are downloading Apple’s latest mobile operating system in droves, despite some harsh criticism from designers, app developers and journalists who had tried early versions of the software.

Chitika, an online advertising network that pulls data through apps that serve its ads, estimated that 18 percent of all iOS devices downloaded the new software, iOS 7, within 24 hours of its release on Wednesday. Chitika based its estimate on a sampling of millions of ad impressions in North America. The adoption rate of iOS 7 appeared to surpass that of its predecessor, iOS 6, which was downloaded on 14.8 percent of iOS devices on its first day of release, according to Chitika.

This is good news for Apple. It is beneficial for Apple, and any handset maker, to keep customers running the latest software. Older smartphones don’t run the new software system as well as the latest models, and some features won’t work at all. For example, iOS 7’s new camera filters work with newer iPhones, but not the older iPhone 4. Running the new operating system encourages people with old iPhones to buy a new model to take advantage of the new features.

If there’s one thing to learn from new versions of Apple’s mobile software, iOS, it might be that everyday people don’t care about what so-called tech influencers have to say. Many developers and designers scrutinized early versions of iOS 7 before its release, saying it was awkward to use and the design was not attractive.

Similarly, before iOS 6 was released last year, journalists and app developers criticized the operating system for its spotty maps app, which replaced Google’s mapping data with Apple’s own. Still, Apple in January said that 300 million iOS devices had upgraded to iOS 6 five months after its release. (Around that time, Apple had sold roughly 500 million iOS devices; it has now sold 700 million.)

The latest operating system has a far different design than earlier versions, but consumers appear to be reacting mostly positively to the change. Topsy, a company that does Twitter analytics, sampled seven million Twitter posts about iOS 7. About 1.2 million of the tweets were positive and 1.1 million were negative; the rest were neutral. Most of the negative tweets were from people complaining about having to wait to download the software update, Topsy said.