When it comes to adoption rates for upgrades, the iOS platform easily tops both Android and BlackBerry, underscoring the avid consumer base for Apple products like the iPhone and iPad, according to a new study by mobile ad network Jumptap.
Within three weeks of its mid-October release, iOS 5 already accounted for a third (32%) of the total iOS traffic on the network. By contrast, Android 2.3 still had less than 50% penetration of the overall Android market nine months after its release. And only a quarter of BlackBerry users have adopted BlackBerry 6, the platform upgrade launched a year ago.
The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system clearly got a big boost from the simultaneous launch of the long-awaited iPhone 4S, which sold a record 4 million units in its first weekend. Older models like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, whose pricing dropped to $99 and zero, respectively, can also run iOS 5.
“From both the network impressions and the long lines outside Apple stores across the country, it’s clear that Apple fans tend to seek the latest technology at the fastest rates,” noted Jumptap CMO Paran Johar. “While more new users are turning to Android, they tend to hang on to their current operating system for longer periods of time.”
For mobile publishers and marketers, that means iPhone and iPad users are the most likely to be able to access the latest versions of their content or ads at any given time. That may be one reason that new apps are often rolled out on iOS initially before extending to Android, BlackBerry and other platforms.
Android, of course, holds the majority of market share on smartphones overall, since it runs across the handsets of multiple manufacturers. The Google platform represented 44.7% of smartphones on Jumptap’s, trailed by iOS at 24.6%, and BlackBerry, with 22.9%. Still, the surge of iPhone 4S buyers helped iOS gain 1.6 percentage points of share in October, while Android slipped 2.3 points.
According to Gartner, Android powered 52% of smartphones worldwide in the third quarter, compared to 15% for iOS.
Jumptap’s latest metrics report also highlighted other differences between Android and iPhone users.
The Android-based Samsung Galaxy S2, for instance, generated 27% more ad requests from apps than the iPhone. But iPhone users were twice as active on the mobile Web. And while gaming is the leading content category on Samsung smartphones, news and entertainment is the top vertical for iPhone users. That suggests Android users skew younger and may be more drawn to apps. Previous research has also shown the Android Marketplace carries more free apps than the App Store.
Overall, Jumptap said traffic on its network remained evenly split between the mobile Web and apps in October. The share of Web traffic from feature phones, however, dropped from 50% in September to 34% last month, reflecting the accelerating adoption of smartphones.
Among other findings, males, older people, and high-income users clicked on mobile ads at a higher rate than other demographic groups. Click-through rates on a daily basis peaked at .70% during evening drive time. (No data on whether that includes drivers) Retail, automotive and entertainment were the largest ad verticals on the Jumptap network in October, unchanged from prior months. The government, entertainment and automotive categories showed the best CTRs for direct-response performance.