How Apple Turned iOS Updates Into Cultural Phenomena

It’s no secret that people love change for change’s sake, especially when it comes to material objects. I don’t know that any company should know this better than Apple. The hype surrounding a new iPhone is always that much more intense when the iPhone has gotten a complete redesign. It happened with the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 7.

The only software update that people willingly want to install. | Photo: PIKHANET / Shutterstock.com
The only software update that people willingly want to install | Photo: PIKHANET / Shutterstock

Apple has learned to remedy this problem with their similarly designed “S” releases by adding a new color. The iPhone 5s added gold and the iPhone 6s added rose gold. Since the iPhone 7 is the first iPhone that keeps the same design for a third year in a row, Apple threw in two new colors: black and jet black. If you look around the Internet, you won’t find very many complaints about the similar design. Jet black is shiny and new enough to keep people drooling for a little while longer.

I’d argue that people love iOS releases even more than new iPhone releases. They’re annual updates that make your iPhone feel brand new again and you don’t have to pay a dime.

‘Happy iOS Day!’

I remember the day that iOS 7 was set to release and bring a total redesign to the iPhone and iPad for the first time. I was a sophomore in college and almost every conversation I heard around campus was about the update. It was absolutely unprecedented.

It’s no secret that people love change for change’s sake.

In the morning hours before the release, students were excited about the new design. “Are you going to update your phone today?” was the question I heard friends say to each other as they walked by, whispered in class or chatted in the dining hall. After the release, the conversations shifted to “Were you able to update your iPhone?” or “I can’t wait to get back to my dorm and get iOS 7.”

Photo: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock

Admittedly, I’m not sure any iOS update since has matched the hype of iOS 7 because it was a complete overhaul. Still, the hype is still incredible to think about even for iOS 10 this year. Apple has turned its mobile operating system into a household name. Even the most incapable iPhone users know about iOS updates. Every September, the new iOS is like a holiday.

Apple has gotten these everyday users to take interest in their products in a way most other companies can only hope to get tech nerds interested.

Google has not been able to accomplish this type of free publicity with Android. In fact, it’s not even close. That’s not because Android is any less popular though — it likely has more to do with the inconsistencies. Android releases don’t always happen at the same time every year and they never roll out universally to all devices.

#iOS10

This year on Sept. 13, iOS 10 quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. It was all over my Facebook News feed too with friends and family asking each other if they should update and what the new iMessage is like. But Twitter users as always unleashed all the memes.

…And those are only scratching the surface. The point is all these tweets aren’t coming from technology journalists or Apple enthusiasts, they are coming from regular, everyday users. Apple has gotten these everyday users to take interest in their products in a way most other companies can only hope to get tech nerds interested.

This is shown easily through staggering adoption rates year after year. It’s been less than a week since its release and iOS 10 already on over a third of iOS devices. It should be on half in under two weeks. Software companies dream of these statistics.

Meanwhile, try to find relatable tweets and memes about Android Nougat. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

You can’t, can you? That’s because Android still has a problem its had for years. Google takes care of the software, third-party manufacturers take care of the hardware. As such, no single entity has control over the entire smartphone experience with the exception of when Google ships its own hardware. Apple, controlling hardware and software, gets to say when the newest software is available and which devices it’s immediately available for.

Therefore, I can confidently look forward to iOS Day again next year.

ALSO READ: 5 Lesser Known iOS 10 Features Everyone Has Been Waiting For

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