Apple supports more iPhones than ever

by Volker Weber

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If you bought an iPhone 5[S] in 2013, you are now on your sixth major revision of iOS. Six! Apple is expanding support for iPhones with each release. And you are all getting it on day one.

Meanwhile, Android phones get one or two major upgrades. If they are lucky. Google supports Android 9 on 2016 Pixel and 2017 Pixel 2 phones. That's it.

Comments

This is one impressive chart. Ironically, most of my colleagues tend to buy the latest stuff, but clearly my peer group (IT crowd, Swiss) is not representative :)

Frank Quednau, 2018-09-18

iPhone SE (ohne 6, wenn dann eher 5 denke ich)

Samuel Orsenne, 2018-09-18

Samuel, das iPhone SE wird gerne unterschätzt. Das mag zwar das Gehäuse vom 5(s) haben, aber die Innereien (und die Kamera) sind vom 6s.

Andreas Pfau, 2018-09-18

It's not quite Apples to Oranges however :-)

On Android - there is also a component of Google Play Services which updates core and app frameworks, UI and functional elements all the way back to ICS (on nearly every Play License device) from 2011.

Google Maps and location services on an ICS devices are comparable in capability and UX from a device on Android Pie including security albeit limited to largely mitigation services such as Play Store scanning.

This differs on Apple - where even basic element changes across apps require complete OS updates and hence Apple has to go back as far as possible and with diminishing returns.

As a stated fact, yes, kudos to Apple for going so far back with their updates and I hope Android gets better at it with Treble!

However, to make an honest comparison - one has to maintain context of what these updates truly mean beyond a point increase and to the end user.

Ananya Gupta, 2018-09-18

Well. Great theory. And then there are API levels:

https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/

Volker Weber, 2018-09-18

@andreas: das Display ist nicht nur kleiner als beim 6s sondern auch nicht so gut, soweit ich erinnere. Meinte es gar nicht wertend aber schön dass wir drüber geschrieben haben

Samuel Orsenne, 2018-09-18

Ananya, I'm confused by these statements:

- "This differs on Apple - where even basic element changes across apps require complete OS updates and hence Apple has to go back as far as possible and with diminishing returns."

If Apple's willing to do the work and support old devices with the latest version of iOS, who suffers from the diminishing returns? Not the consumer. And per Volker's link, not Apple either: as an app developer I would much rather only have to support 2 or 3 iOS versions to cover 90%+ of the market versus the 5-6+ required for 90%+ of Android.

- "However, to make an honest comparison - one has to maintain context of what these updates truly mean beyond a point increase and to the end user."

The security updates and performance improvements alone are far more than just a point increase. Per Volker's iPhone 5[S] example, iOS 7 versus iOS 12 is a massive difference. It's practically a new phone.

But there's more: the fact that almost every Apple phone built in the past few years is getting Augmented Reality support in iOS 12 (for free!) is massive:

https://www.apple.com/ios/augmented-reality/

How many of those Apple customers with a 2-3 year-old phone (but still able to run iOS 12) *aren't* going to buy a new phone in 2019? Probably quite a few, you say. And I'd agree with you. And Apple thinks so too.

But how many of those users will instead, because they don't need a new phone, buy an Apple Watch? Or Homepod? Or AppleTV? Or AirPods? I believe that the customer-purchase synergies that are only just now starting to emerge are going to be massive over the next few years.

The health market is one area Apple is just now stepping into seriously and they're already getting traction. Heck, there are insurance companies here in the US that are now *paying* customers $200 to buy any Apple Watch. No strings attached - no data sharing, nothing. I've never seen a similar special for Android.

And the HomePod is very close to being the next blockbuster conference phone, a space Apple hasn't even really stepped into yet. And if the rumors about an over-the-ear noise-cancelling headset are true, I know what I'm about to start seeing on overseas flights...

Once you're in the Apple ecosystem at all, the justification for stepping further into it is growing more compelling by the day. And once you're in, you (almost) never leave. Users are starting to buy "Apple-as-a-Service". And the fact that your hardware is not just "not obsolete", but *current* for years plays a big part in that.

Apple has aligned their business, product, and personal data/privacy strategy for the long term since day 1. It seems to be paying off very well for them, and their users.

Erik Brooks, 2018-09-25

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