When you look at an OS adoption rate, the number is not necessarily proof of quality, but of popularity. Or people buying gear with the new OS, thus accepting it by default. Well, except for Windows, where you may be able to downgrade to an older version. That happened quite often after Windows 8 and 8.1 came out. Lots of people just said no to Microsoft’s bad choices.
So it’s fitting to see how our favorite — and not so favorite — operating systems are faring as the year comes to a conclusion.
So we have Windows 10, a free update to many of those using Windows 7 or any variation of Windows 8, which rates at 9% according to the metrics from Net Applications. They promise “Realtime Web Analytics With no Sampling.”
After five months, it doesn’t seem as if people are rushing to upgrade, although that’s a decent figure. But 10.59% of Windows users are still using Windows XP, first released 14 years ago. Imagine that! Windows 8 garners 2.88%, while Windows 8.1 receives 11.15%. So millions are still using these two out of inertia, or maybe they do like it.
The big winner is still Windows 7, with 56.11%. Don’t forget that Windows 10, in part, restores the full desktop functionality and Start menu of Windows 7, but other than also being optimized for tablets, or convertible PCs, it’s hard to say Microsoft has made a compelling case to upgrade. Those lifestyle TV ads seem hardly relevant to an OS that’s more oriented towards the business world, but Microsoft has always been a little off in its ad campaigns.
A key example was the infamous Windows 95 campaign, which used the Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” as part of a huge TV ad campaign. Clearly Microsoft’s marketing people didn’t pay attention to such lyrics as, “You got me just about to blow my top,” or “You make a grown man cry.” Neither makes you feel warm and fuzzy about a computer operating system.
OS X El Capitan appears to be doing well enough at 2.66% of the total market, while Yosemite is down to 2.45%. If that seems really low at a time when Mac sales are increasing ahead of the market, don’t forget that these web metrics purport to represent all Macs and PCs still in use.
At the same time, El Capitan is saddled with a three star rating at the Mac App Store. A high portion of the ratings are just one star, which is troubling considering that this was supposed to be the release that focused on stability and performance. But not everyone hates it. One review is headlined, “What’s all the crying about”? And I have to agree, since my experiences have been pretty good so far — well, except for that occasional freeze in Mail that has existed since the first betas. It stalls for about 30 seconds and resumes normal functionality. Go figure!
Unfortunately the numbers at Net Applications don’t list iOS gear by OS version, just by product, such as iPhone and iPad. In contrast, it’s clear that a large number of Android users are still using older OS versions. So we have Android 5.1 with 6.63% of users, and Android 5.0 with 9.22%. Android 4.2, released in November 2012, a lifetime in the mobile handset business, still scores 9.06%; in other words ahead of all later versions except for the winner, Android 4.4, circa October 2013, at 19.19%. The adoption rate for Android 6 appears to be too low to catalog separately.
In contrast, iOS 9, released in September, has a 71% share among users of Apple’s gear acdording to their own metrics. Mixpanel Trends, which tends to be somewhat more optimistic, records around 80%. Both numbers are way ahead of iOS 8 at this time. One huge reason is that those with space-challenged gear can upgrade far more easily. That’s because space requirements for the installer are far less than its predecessor.
It also appears that the number of complaints about iOS 9, another fixer-upper and performance release, appear to less by some estimates, but not from others. I noticed an article from a certain large tech portal claiming that pretty much everything was going wrong with iOS 9. The complaints included the usual poor battery life, sluggish performance, Wi-Fi glitches and app crashes. It’s enough to make a grown man cry. Wait, wasn’t that Windows 95?
In any case, I grant there were glitches with the first releases. I observed a couple of apps crashing until 9.0.1 arrived. But the blogger in question doesn’t indicate whether he’s tried the updates on his iPhone 6 Plus, or is still using the original 9.0 release. More to the point, it appears to be mostly based on one person’s experience, and no effort appears to have been made to coordinate that experience with those of others.
Another article that catalogued a number of iOS 9 problems was evidently based on reports in Apple’s support forums. Unfortunately, not all the complaints are well weighted as to how many people are reporting them. One doesn’t even deserve to be there, an “Insufficient Space For Download” message, which occurs if your iOS device doesn’t have enough storage space left to accommodate the smaller size of the installer. Apple’s solution is to “Allow App Deletion,” which removes some apps to allow the installation, and then restores them with all data intact. That’s not a problem, but a solution to make it possible for as many people to upgrade as possible.
I don’t disagree that Apple software releases have seemed shakier these days, but it may also be that there are more users around to make complaints. You can find things wrong with every Mac or iOS release, but Apple can always do better.