Do Apple users care more about features or security? Why do they update their OS each time Apple announces a new release? This study looks into that pattern.

Apple’s latest update of its mobile operating system, iOS 5.1.1, provides several bug fixes and security improvements to its users. The update, released May 7, makes a number of small fixes affecting the reliability and usability of the devices, and, more significantly, patches security holes that allowed for malicious attacks on the user’s Web experience.

Chitika Insights observed adoption rates during the first week of release in a previous report, and now looks at updated data to examine adoption rates three weeks post-release.

To quantify this study, Chitika Insights took a sample composed of hundreds of millions of ad impressions from within the Chitika Ad network; ranging from May 25 to May 31, 2012. A user agent analysis was then conducted on this sample of data to determine the current rate of adoption for iOS 5.1.1 compared to other iOS versions available in the market.

A table depicting the results of this study can be seen below:

Our data shows that a significant majority of iOS users – 57.9% – have updated to version 5.1.1, and 83.3%  are operating on some version of iOS 5 (which is not available for the iPhone 3G and earlier, or 1st and 2nd generation iPod Touch).

Of those who are on iOS 5, 69.6% of users have the latest software release. The three-week overall adoption rate of 57.9% represents an exponential increase in rate of adoption when compared to the 12.3% adoption in the first week.

But notably, this is dwarfed by the adoption rate of iOS 5 in October of last year, which was installed on 20% of iOS devices in its first week. Despite the fact that iOS 5.1.1 fixed a major security issue, users were much more eager to install the feature-heavy package of iOS 5.

Based on these statistics, it is evident that users of Apple mobile devices are, as a group, much quicker to upgrade their software when a new release touts new features, rather than security fixes, despite their importance.

However, it does seem that auto-update options and automated reminders on these devices are highly effective for those who wish to be as up-to-date as possible.

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