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Apple brags about big iPhone numbers, but ignores a crucial Android fact

Apple's Scott Forstall said Monday that 80 percent of Apple mobile devices run the latest version of iOS. Good news. But...

By Matthew Shaer / June 12, 2012

Apple exec Scott Forstall talks iOS 5 stats at the WWDC conference in San Francisco this week.

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At the 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco this week, Apple exec Scott Forstall offered up a barrage of statistics on iOS, the Apple mobile operating system. Among them: Apple sold upward of 365 million iOS devices over the past five years, roughly 80 percent of which are now equipped with iOS 5, the latest version of the OS. (Or rather iOS 5 was the latest version of the software, until today, when Apple unveiled iOS 6.) 

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Makes sense Forstall would stress the 365 million figure. But why does it matter what version of iOS the devices are running? Well, because it provides a useful contrast with Google's Android OS. Android is exceedingly popular around the world. In fact, Google exec Andy Rubin tweeted this week, "there are over 900,000 Android devices activated each day." In other words, Android may hit 365 million devices this year alone. 

But as Chris Burns of tech site SlashGear notes, "only a small sliver" of those millions of Android users are running the most recent Android update, Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich. Most are running older versions of the OS – Android 3.0, for instance, or even Android 2.0. Apple, Burns added, is "eating Android’s lunch as far as installed user base [is] concerned." 

Partly, that's a matter of the scope of the two respective playing fields. Apple makes iOS for Apple devices, and it knows exactly how its operating system will run on its hardware. Google, on the other hand, makes Android for a range of devices – devices made by HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and so on. It's trickier for the company to get its newest OS to play well with all those different gadgets.

In related news, iOS 6 is around the corner, and as prophesied, the new OS will get total Facebook integration, a "do not disturb" function (you can order your phone or tablet not to bother you with incoming calls or reminders), and more Siri. MSNBC reports that Siri has now picked up a few new languages, including Cantonese; meanwhile, users can now ask Siri to book restaurant reservations or order movie tickets. 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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