iPhone 3.0 adoption rate estimates in question

Apple reported on Monday that it had sold more than a million iPhone 3GS models in the opening weekend and played host to over six million downloads of the 3.0 firmware in the five days since its release. As impressive as the sales figures of the iPhone 3GS were, I couldn’t help but be a tad underwhelmed by the number of downloads for the latest firmware release.

According to the statistics reported by Apple during the WWDC keynote, there are more than forty million iPhone OS devices out there. Even if you take five million off that number to account for the ones that may not be in use anymore, a figure of six million downloads still means that only about 17 percent of all those users had ventured forth and downloaded firmware 3.0 in its first week. Although that would be an impressive statistic for most phones, we’ve all come to expect a bit more from the iPhone.

Paul Haddad, one of the developers behind Tapbots, reports quite the opposite trend concerning OS 3.0 adoption among his own customers. According to a post on the company's blog, Convertbot users have upgraded to the iPhone’s latest firmware in droves, with an overall adoption rate of 75 percent in the first five days. When broken down by device, the iPhone has a significant lead with 79 percent of iPhone-toting Convertbot users on OS 3.0 already, compared to a little over 50 percent for the iPod touch. I reckon that $10 upgrade fee for iPod touch users plays a big part there.

Haddad didn’t disclose the total number of Convertbot customers in his post, which would have shed more light on the figures, but I think this discrepancy brings an interesting (and seemingly obvious) factoid to light—customers who frequent the App Store are more likely to be on the latest and greatest in terms of firmware upgrades, and vice-versa.

I do not, however, think that the Convertbot statistics indicate that the adoption rate for 3.0 is as high as 75 percent, or even anywhere close to that, among all iPhone and iPod touch customers. If only six million people downloaded the updated firmware between its release and the past Monday, it suggests that there is a much larger contingent of users out there who’re still not on 3.0.

That’s not to say that most of them won’t move over within the coming days, weeks, and months, but let it be noted that we aren’t there yet. And if I were an iPhone developer, I wouldn’t make my application exclusively compatible with 3.0 just yet.

[via Daring Fireball]

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