iOS 6 adoption by device: iPhone leads, iPod touch trails

Apple’s iOS 6 operating system has been available for just under two weeks and the uptake by users has been fairly rapid: after two days it was already loaded on a quarter of all iOS devices. But new data generated by Chitika Inisights on Tuesday shows that it’s not just iPhone owners that are upgrading, but iPad and iPod touch owners too. Below is a breakdown of the data, showing which group of device owners upgraded between the release of iOS 6 on Sept. 19 through Monday, Oct. 1.

The data was generated from millions of impressions from iOS devices accessing web sites that are part of Chitika’s mobile advertising network in the U.S. and Canada:

As the chart shows, about 60 percent of iPhone owners have already upgraded to or are using iOS 6. iPad owners were close behind, with about 45 percent upgrading in the first week and a half. iPod touch owners, meanwhile, were least likely of the group to upgrade right away, with just under 40 percent downloading and installing iOS 6.

One major factor in iPod touch upgrades is compatibility: only the fourth- and fifth-generation models can run iOS 6. Chitika’s theory is that people are less likely to upgrade iPod hardware than iPhones and iPads because the former are not subsidized by carriers who offer discount incentives for upgrading.

Still, even though iPod touch owners were the least likely to upgrade among iOS device owners, iOS 6 is already the most popular iOS version in use. Thirty-nine percent have moved on to iOS 6, while the next-most popular, iOS 5.1, comes in at 31 percent.

This quick software transition is one of the most attractive features of iOS to app makers: rapid uptake of new operating systems means developers don’t have to spend as much time supporting older OSes. Instead they can focus on the latest software. As a comparison, Android 4.0 was released in October 2011, and as of Tuesday, about 25 percent of devices were using 4.0 or later versions of the software.

This post was updated at 9:03 a.m. PT to include more recent Android upgrade data that was published today.