By Jason Snell
May 22, 2020 1:24 PM PT
This week's charts tell the story of how Apple rolls out releases of software for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad — and when the last update or that operating-system cycle finally shipped.
In the beginning, a new version of the iPhone OS arrived in the early summer (as did new iPhones). Since 2011 it's been an affair for the fall, as Apple moved to a schedule where it announces the new operating system at WWDC in the summer and ships the final version in September — at least, since 2012.
The all-time champions are iOS 9 and 1
Keying off of my macOS version chart, I thought I'd calculate the number of total updates each version saw over its lifetime and the average pace of those updates. iOS 11, which had a reputation for being a bit unstable, saw 16 separate updates during its 10 months. Close behind was iOS 4, which had 17 updates in 13 months, though a lot of those were due to the late-cycle release of the first CDMA iPhone.
However, iOS 13 currently holds the lead on the pace of releases, owing to its initial iPhone-only release, several rapid-release bug fixes in September and October, and the COVID-19-prompted version 13.5 release of this week.
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