Get iOS 6.1 NOW

Apple today released iOS 6.1, which is available via over-the-air download. The update extends 4G LTE support to 36 additional carriers, bringing the total to 70. High-speed data is also available to 23 more carriers for iPad. Apple already supports LTE in Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom and United States, among others. New coverage extends to Denmark, Finland, Italy, Philippines, Switzerland and some Middle Eastern countries, to name a few.

"If you look at the total of all of these and the incremental subscribers that are in those countries, that’s over 300 million", Apple CEO Tim Cook boasts. Availability and adoption aren't the same thing. IHS iSuppli sees global LTE subscribers reaching 198.1 million this year, up from 92.3 million -- that's 115 percent -- in 2012. The analyst firm forecasts 139 percent compound annual growth rate through 2016, with 1 billion expected subscribers.

In that respect, LTE is more an investment in the future. By contrast, with Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet, Google chose HSPA+, which is more broadly deployed, allowing the release of lower-cost devices. For example, the Nexus 7 with cellular radio sells for $299, compared to $459 for iPad mini, with half the storage; comparable, price is $559. Nexus 4 with 16GB storage sells for $349 from Google, unlocked. The comparable, unlocked iPhone is $649.

Apple claims 500 million cumulative iOS device sales through end of 2012. There are "nearly 300 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices on iOS 6 in just five months", Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior senior veep of global marketing, says. That's 60 percent on the newest version -- likely more considering not all devices sold are still being used.

By stark contrast, only 10.2 percent of Android users are on newest version Jelly Bean. Apple's advantage is controlling OS updates rather than letting either carriers or manufacturers do so.

Since I don't own any iOS devices, there is nothing to say about using the software. So, please, give us your report.

Photo Credit: Joe Wilcox

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