iOS 10 launched on Tuesday, bringing hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads up to speed with the latest and greatest of Apple’s mobile operating system. That last bit is important: In the endless battle between iOS and Android, Apple’s biggest advantage is the fact that it can push its newest updates out to so many devices at once.
This chart from Statista helps explain what I mean. As iOS has matured, Apple has gradually extended how long it supports the machines in the iPhone family. When iOS 5 launched in 2011, it supported the previous three years of devices. With this week’s release of iOS 10, it’s covering five years’ worth, going all the way back to 2012’s iPhone 5.
By contrast, when the newest Android 7.0 launched last month, almost 30% of its users were still on a version from 2013. This doesn’t mean that iOS is better than Android, but it does mean Apple’s tight ecosystem control makes you less likely to feel behind. If you’re about to buy an iPhone 7, you could be good for the next half-decade.
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