Apple’s iOS update frequency has increased 51% under Cook’s management

Since Steve Jobs left Apple's leadership in January of 2011, the frequency of iOS updates has increased by 51%. What does that mean for Apple users? Is it Missing Jobs? Bernardo @ClearSale investigates for

The Telugu “text bomb” bug sounds like an Apple user’s nightmare: you get a message containing a particular character from the Indian language of Telugu, and your iPhone’s messaging apps and WiFi functionality not only crash but “keep crashing forever” without drastic intervention. Apple issued a patch on February 19, but the Telugu bug isn’t the only software problem that’s had the company in the news in recent months. Critics of iOS 11 say the update made their phones slower, drained battery life faster, and came with a host of bugs.

These issues raise questions about Apple’s quality control in general, and a look at the data suggests that a problem may have been brewing for awhile. Since Steve Jobs left Apple’s leadership in January of 2011, the frequency of iOS updates has increased by 51 percent. What does that mean for Apple users? Lots of updates, patches, and sometimes follow-up patches. For example, current iPhone owners had to contend with 15 iOS updates during the year ending January 31, 2018. By contrast, Apple only issued six iOS updates during the 12 months prior to Jobs’ departure from the company’s top spot.

A dramatic rise in iOS update frequency

This chart, compiled from a variety of sources for updates to the iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone 4 CDMA, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, illustrates the rise in iOS update frequency over the decade from 2007 to 2017.

chart showing apple evolvement

The chart shows that during the period that Jobs led Apple, the average 365-day update rate was 6.75. After his exit, the average jumped to 10.22 per year, a 51 percent increase.

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