Apteligent Data Report: Mobile Year in Review 2016
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INTRODUCTION

Every year the mobile ecosystem experiences dramatic changes, and 2016 was no different. Samsung phones exploded, Google moved into hardware by releasing its own devices, Apple released new iPhones, and new operating systems were released. We report on the top new device launches of 2016, compare the iPhone 7 launch to that of the iPhone 6, analyze operating system trends, and finally summarize the top insights of the year from our data science team.

TOP DEVICES OF 2016

Every month hundreds of millions of devices send us data. That data represents over 2,500 unique Android device models globally that have any meaningful level of traffic. On iOS our data shows traffic from only 29 unique device models. Samsung dominates the top 10 devices on Android with 38% share of usage, while on iOS the majority of users are still on the iPhone 6/6S and iPhone 5S models, representing over 52% of global usage.

Below are the top 10 Android device models as of mid-December 2016:

Here is the same view on iOS:

The Apteligent data site contains both a global Android device directory as well as an iOS device directory. Our enterprise customers also have access to country-specific data.

NEW ANDROID DEVICE LAUNCHES

In this section we focus on new device launches in the second half of 2016. The dramatic rise and fall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 dwarfs the other launches of 2016. In fact, the residual Note 7 use is still higher than the LG V20, OnePlus 3T, and the HTC 10 Evo (Bolt) combined. This is expected to end quickly sometime in the next few weeks when every major US carrier will push an update to prevent the device from charging.

The graph below excludes the now discontinued Note 7, to give you a better sense of the adoption speed of various devices. The surprise hit of the bunch is the Sony Xperia XZ.

The data appears to show that Black Friday had a negative impact on Motorola’s market share. In other words, Android users upgrading their phones and iOS users switching to Android chose to go with the Moto Z’s competitors, driving down the overall adoption of the device as a percent of overall Android usage.

NEW iOS DEVICE LAUNCHES

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were both launched on September 16th of this year. Adoption has been swift with the iPhone 7 now ranking #7 globally on iOS devices and the iPhone 7 Plus at #9 on the list.

It’s natural to question, “just how good was the launch?” Apteligent has mobile data going back years, so we decided to compare the iPhone 7 launch this year with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch on September 19, 2014.

The iPhone 6 was able to obtain iOS market share at a much faster rate than the iPhone 7. However, the iPhone 7 Plus is trending higher than the iPhone 6 Plus over the same time period. The popularity of larger phones (“phablets”) has surged in recent years which might explain the difference. With a combined share of adoption in December of the two iPhone 7 models of 11%, this isn’t too far from the iPhone 6 during the same time which stood at 13%.

As adoption of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus increases, which devices are being used less on iOS? In other words, if we ignore brand new iOS users, which devices did existing iOS users have prior to upgrading? The following table compares device adoption, starting with the iPhone 5 and higher, from the first day of the iPhone 7 release until mid-December.

The iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 6 Plus experienced the largest drop in usage during the first three months of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launch.

OPERATING SYSTEM TRENDS

Apple released iOS 10 on September 13th. Three months later, the operating system is deployed on about 84% of iOS devices. Apple’s ability to push updates directly to their devices put them at a significant advantage over Google, which has been working to bypass the carrier/OEM bureaucracy that inhibits timely Android updates.

This means iOS users always have immediate access to the latest and greatest operating systems released by Apple. This also forces iOS developers to work quickly to make sure their apps are compatible with the latest release. An examination of the latest crash rates across iOS versions reveals that iOS 10 is actually the most stable OS by a large margin.

Contrast this picture with a view into the Android ecosystem. The graph below shows adoption of Android operating systems this past year. Android Nougat was released at the end of August, and four months later still has <1% adoption!

Product managers often tell us that because Android is so fragmented by version, and adoption of the latest OS is slow, their only choice is to focus stability efforts on the Android OSes with the highest usage. The data backs this up: Marshmallow has the lowest crash rate and the highest overall adoption. Nougat currently has the lowest adoption among the top 5 Android operating systems and it also has the highest crash rate.

Apteligent updates daily iOS adoption and Android adoption dashboards. You can also find iOS crash rate and Android crash rate reports updated daily.

If you’re interested in how often Android manufacturers push updates, check out our data report for more information.

GLOBAL CARRIER PERFORMANCE

In case you missed it, we pulled data from 80 mobile networks covering 25 countries worldwide. We worked with telecommunications consultancy STL Partners to create the MobiNEX index. This index leverages Apteligent network performance data, as well as download speed data from OpenSignal. The scores for the top 5 countries are listed below.

Download the full report to check out the best and worst performing mobile networks across the globe.

DATA SCIENCE REVEALS NEW INSIGHTS

The team at Apteligent has been hard at work analyzing hundreds of terabytes of mobile data to uncover industry-first insights. Two of those discoveries were announced towards the second half of this year.

Our team first discovered that 20% of crashes are correlated with a network issue. We discovered which types of applications are more prone to network crashes, the reason for the majority of these issues, and finally which service providers contribute the most to network crashes. The full report is available here.

Finally, our last report uncovered the correlation between crashes and churn: crashes increase churn by as much as 534% and users are up to to 8x less likely to return the next day after a crash. The detailed report is available here.

CONCLUSION

This report highlights mobile trends in 2016. Key takeaways include:

  • The flagship Android device launches with the highest adoption rates this holiday season have been the Sony Xperia XZ, the Google Pixel, and the Google Pixel XL.
  • The residual Samsung Note 7 use is still higher than the LG V20, OnePlus 3T, and the HTC 10 Evo (Bolt) combined.
  • Black Friday Android shoppers generally did not purchase the Motorola Moto Z.
  • The iPhone 7 was adopted at lower rate than the iPhone 6; however, the iPhone 7 Plus was adopted faster than the iPhone 6 Plus.
  • The iPhone 6, 5s, and 6 Plus are being replaced the fastest since the iPhone 7s were introduced, implying iOS device upgrades were concentrated on consumers with those devices.
  • Nougat currently has the highest crash rate on Android, while iOS 10 is the most stable iOS release.

The report also summarized interesting takeaways from our data science efforts. Apteligent continues to uncover new insights into how app performance and user behavior influence your mobile business. Request a demo of Apteligent to find out how we can improve the user experience of your apps, as well as keep you updated on the latest mobile industry data.

Download a copy of the report