While announcing that it sold more than 1 million iPhone 3G S devices over the weekend, Apple (AAPL) also said that it’s served up more than 6 million downloads of the new iPhone 3.0 software, which became available last Wednesday.
That’s an impressive number, but it means that the majority of iPhone and iPod touch owners have not yet upgraded to the new software. That will change over time, as Apple and AT&T promote the upgrade. But in the meantime, it could complicate things for developers, who are busy adding new 3.0-only features to their apps — including in-app commerce and real-time “push” notifications — that most people still can’t use.
What per cent of the market has updated? Earlier this month, Apple said that it had shipped more than 40 million iPhones and iPod touches to date. That suggests that just 15% of the total installed base has upgraded to iPhone 3.0. It’s probably more heavily weighted to the iPhone because those updates are free, versus $10 for the iPod touch. Still, with about 23-24 million iPhones in the world — 21 million through March, and a few million more since then — it means fewer than 25% have upgraded. (Assuming at least a million or so iPod touch owners upgraded already.)
Still, a good idea for developers to push on apps with new 3.0 features. There’s going to be a land grab for the first (and best) apps in certain categories — IM, Twitter, apps with push notifications enabled, for instance — and the winner could be handsomely rewarded. Plus, no better way to boost iPhone 3.0 upgrades than great apps that require the update.