updated 07:53 pm EDT, Fri June 14, 2013
Non-developers likely finding sources, but beta reported unstable
Mobile advertising and analytics firm Chitika has noted that some 0.22 percent of the iPhone and iPod Touch US userbase is already running the iOS 7 beta, just a few days following its debut. While reports of iOS 7 testing were seen on most Mac, iOS and technology sites for weeks before its first developer release, the sheer growth of the beta OS has grown steadily since Monday, doubling what was seen in the final beta of iOS 6, for example. On top of that, the iOS 6 beta also included iPads, while an iPad version of iOS 7 is not yet available.
Chitika took samples from its normal polling of advertising impressions of tens of millions of devices between June 3 and June 12 for the survey, and reports that responses from devices running iOS 7 is still increasing rapidly. The company notes that despite a few notes of reservation or dislike by some testers, reaction has been more positive than negative and the growth seems to support the idea that developers have a high interest in putting the beta through its paces.
Some portion of the number of users running iOS 7 likely comes from those who have acquired a pirated copy, as the beta is not meant to be in the hands of anyone but registered developers. Apple has cautioned that the iOS 7 beta is unfinished and has bugs, and early reports from developers reinforces that impression with a growing list of issues. While many are keenly interested in the interface's new look, there are a significant number of changes and improvements "under the hood" as well, say developers.
In part the usage could also be triggered by intensive use as developers prepare and test their software for the new design language. Chitika noted in its analysis that the "radical" design change and its potential impact on app functionality could be driving a trend towards using the beta more for testing. It also said that an increased interest in the new design could be spurring additional web browsing and other activities that would generate more ad impressions, raising the ranking. Another factor in the higher rating is simply the fact that the iOS market has grown by millions since the release of iOS 6 in mid-September of last year.