Chitika Research, a company that helps deliver online advertising, has released numbers from its network that claim 45% of iPod touch users still haven't upgraded to the iPhone 3.x firmware. Only 55% of the users measured have paid the cash to upgrade to the latest version (because of accounting regulations around subscriptions, iPod touch users have to pay for an upgrade that iPhone users get for free). And actually, the story is even worse than you think: Chitika points out that since mid-June, every single iPod touch sold has had 3.x pre-installed on it anyway. That means the percentage of users who owned iPod touches before June but haven't yet upgraded is even higher than the overall numbers show.
So how can Apple fix this (and they probably should -- lots of their best and brightest apps require 3.0, not to mention developers have spent a good amount of time upgrading them for the new firmware)? First, and maybe even only step, is to get rid of that fee, and Apple is already working on that one. Of course, education might be another issue -- it's possible that iPod touch users just don't know that there's an upgrade waiting for them. But I have an inkling that the fee is the real issue here. People may scoff at a $10 app, and I'm sure that they're doing exactly that for an upgrade to the firmware.