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Strong iOS 7 adoption casts shadow on fragmented Android

Apple has revealed that 74 per cent of iDevice users are running the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7.

According to stats released by Cupertino, 74 per cent of users were on iOS 7 as of 1 December 2014. Another 22 per cent are still running iOS 6; the remaining 4 per cent use an earlier version of the software. It is unclear how many of those are iOS 7 holdouts, or if they simply have non-compatible gadgets.

Either way, 96 per cent of the Cupertino firm's mobile devices operate on the company's two most recent systems, which is more than Google can say for its Android platform.

Apple first released version number stats in June, shortly after Apple CEO Tim Cook took shots at Android fragmentation during his Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote. Apple's iOS is in "stark contrast to the world of Android," he said at the time.

According to data from Google, 54.5 per cent of Android devices were running Jelly Bean (versions 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3), while Android 4.4 KitKat was on 1.1 per cent of gadgets during a 7-day period ending on 2 December.

Earlier versions of the Android operating system, Gingerbread (2.3) and Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), still hold a hefty piece of the pie, with 24 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively.

A recent report from OpenSignal, however, argued that Android fragmentation is not necessarily a bad thing.

"The availability of cheap Android phones (rarely running the most recent version) means that they have a much greater global reach than iOS, so app developers have a wider audience to build for," the group said.

Cupertino rolled out iOS 7 in September, days before the launch of its next-generation iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. It is compatible with the iPhone 4 and above, iPad 2 and above, iPad mini, and fifth-gen iPod touch, and Apple controls its iOS rollouts, whereas handset makers and carriers handle Android updates.

Today's stats from Apple fall in line with data released early this week by online ad network Chitika, which reported 74.1 per cent distribution of iOS 7, and 22.4 per cent for its predecessor.

"This makes it very likely that iOS 7 will continue to substantially outpace iOS 6 adoption, which reached 83 per cent close to six months following its release in September 2012," Chitika said.