Some three weeks after launch, Apple's iOS 8 operating system is being used on nearly half of devices connected to the company's App Store.
According to the company's App Store Distribution support website (via MacRumors), meant to encourage developers to take advantage of the latest version of the iOS operating system, 47% of devices (iPhones, iPads, and the iPod touch) connecting to the App Store are running iOS 8. This is identical to the percentage of devices running iOS 7, with 6% running some earlier operating system.
This would be good news for developers, except for the fact that the adoption rate seems to have stalled. As noted by MacRumors, on September 21, iOS 8 was used by 46% of devices connecting to the App Store. This means that between then and October 5th, the percentage of devices using iOS 8 only increased by 1%, a concerning statistic.
iOS 8 includes a wide variety of new technologies aimed specifically at developers, including new frameworks for game technologies and more. While iOS 7 had a significant visual redesign for users, iOS 8 is potentially the more important release for developers.
When investing time, effort, and money into developing a new app, or an update to an existing one, knowing that your work will be supported by users' devices is essential. As it is, apps that only work on iOS 8 won't work on more than half of devices connecting to Apple's App Store.
Before iOS 8 was released, some 92% of devices connected to the App Store were running iOS 7, with only 7% on an older operating system. Apple has always seen promising adoption of its annual operating system releases, and this has been a frequent selling point to developers who want to take advantage of the technologies supported in newer operating systems.
Back in December of 2013, nearly three in four devices connected to the App Store were running iOS 7, so it will be interesting to see what adoption rates of iOS 8 look like in two months. I suspect they will catch up and there will be nothing to worry about. But, if adoption rates continue to stagnate, Apple may have some real problems.
The iOS 8 launch hasn't exactly been smooth, either. The OS shipped with numerous bugs, including a broken version of HealthKit that saw all apps that used it yanked from the App Store on launch day. That bug was fixed in iOS 8.0.1, including a nasty bug that broke cellular service and Touch ID functionality on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices.
iOS 8.0.2 fixed those problems, but the widespread publicity around the botched launch — along with normal growing pains and bugs in a new operating system (problems with Bluetooth connectivity and poor battery life, among others) — may be discouraging some customers from upgrading to iOS 8.
Help may be on the way, however, with iOS 8.1, which has been seeded to developers for testing and appears to fix the Bluetooth connectivity issues. It also includes support for Apple Pay, the highly anticipated NFC mobile payments solution for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Users can expect it sometime this month.
Have you experienced issues with iOS 8? Let us know in the comments below.
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.