iOS 7 off to speedy adoption start

Ad network Chitika says nearly a third of all North American iOS traffic now comes from Wednesday's upgrade

Forty-eight hours after its release, Apple's iOS 7 accounted for nearly a third of all North American iPhone and iPad traffic, an online advertising network said Friday.

As of Friday morning, 31.7% of the Apple mobile devices accessing ad network Chitika's servers were running the new iOS 7, which Apple began offering customers Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.

By comparison, iOS 6 -- the 2012 upgrade -- had a 48-hour uptake of 24.7%. iOS 6, in turn, had beaten its predecessor, 2011's iOS 5, which had captured just 10% of the total iOS share at the end of its first two days of availability.

iOS 7, Apple first radical overhaul of its six-year-old mobile operating system, also trumped last year's iOS 6 in its first 24 hours, accounting for 18.2% of the iOS editions tracked by Chitika, compared to iOS 6's 14.8% during the same stretch after launch.

The rush to update older devices -- the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, both powered by iOS 7 but not available until early today -- was enough to stymie some customers on Wednesday. Apple's support forum was flush that day with reports of failed downloads, which users assumed was due to swamped servers.

iOS 7 features a complete visual redesign that dispensed with the original user interface (UI) elements, particularly shading and "skeuomorphic" embellishments, like the wooden bookshelves in iBooks and the lined paper in Notes. Instead, the new operating system went for thinner fonts, more white space and pastel-like colors.

The upgrade also included new features, including iTunes Radio, a free streaming music service; an enhanced Siri, the voice-activated digital assistant; and automatic updating of apps.

Computerworld reviewer Michael deAgonia concluded that iOS 7 was less stuffy, more casual. "If color and design can convey a feeling, then iOS 6 was grown-up, solid, staid. In contrast, iOS 7 feels more cheerful, optimistic and fun," said deAgonia.

iOS 7 can be installed on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5; iPad 2, the third- and fourth-generation iPads with Retina screens, and the iPad Mini; and the fifth-generation iPod Touch that debuted in October 2012 and May 2013.

To upgrade from an iPhone, for instance, users tap the "Settings" icon, then the "General" button on the resulting screen. Tapping "Software Update" kicks off the update process.

iOS 7's uptake cracked the 30% Friday, beating last year's iOS 6's adoption in the first 48 hours by several percentage point. (Image: Chitika.)

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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