Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller took aim at Android in general and Samsung in particular, saying that the Galaxy S IV will ship with "an OS that is nearly a year old" in an interview published just hours before Apple's chief rival is expected to reveal its newest flagship model.
"With [Google's] own data," Shiller said, "only 16 percent of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system. Over 50 percent are still on software that is two years old. A really big difference."
Schiller was referring to the most recent figures on Android's install base, which show 16.5 percent of users running Android 4.1 or 4.2, 28.6 percent running Android 4.0, and 43.9 percent running Android 2.3.
The Apple marketing chief didn't go into detail on how customers are affected by running older software, but Schiller did point out that Samsung's Galaxy S IV will debut on Thursday likely running Android 4.2.
"And that extends to the news we are hearing this week that the Samsung Galaxy S IV is being rumored to ship with an OS that is nearly a year old," said Schiller. "Customers will have to wait to get an update."
Schiller's comments to Reuters are the Apple exec's second made to the media in a day. On Wednesday, Schiller spoke with The Wall Street Journal in an interview that hit largely the same points, though he didn't specifically address Samsung.
Schiller has been more vocal in addressing Android of late, taking to Twitter last week in order to point out a study showing a spike in malware on Google's mobile OS. That same study showed that iOS malware was at a comparatively small level.
The Apple executive's comments refer to the fact that Android versions go through multiple waves of lengthy testing and refinement at both the device manufacturer and carrier levels before they can be passed on to consumers. This is due to the manufacturers' tendency to heavily customize the software in order to differentiate their devices from their competitors.
Samsung's Android "skin" â dubbed TouchWiz â adds a number of different functions to the South Korean manufacturer's devices. In the case of the company's Galaxy Note 8.0, TouchWiz adds support for the digitizer S Pen. With the S IV, Samsung is expected to have built in eye-tracking software that will enable automatic scrolling, as well as other features that allow users to interact with the screen without touching it.
Schiller's focus on the install base of older software does not, however, acknowledge some recent shifting trends in the Android ecosystem. While a plurality of devices do run the years-old version 2.3, that proportion has been shrinking rapidly, dropping seven percentage points since December, while versions 4.1 and 4.2 have grown from about 7 percent of the more than 500 million Android devices in the world to more than 16 percent.