Clips, iOS 10.3, and the future of 32-bit apps

In March, alongside a few hardware announcements, Apple also unveiled a new media sharing app called Clips. Clips was released today. Reviews seem mixed. But I’m not here to talk to you about Clips.

iOS 10.3 was released to a vast majority of iOS devices on March 27. It was a huge behind-the-scenes update that migrated iOS devices to Apple’s new file system.  But I’m not here to talk to you about iOS 10.3.

What I am here to talk to you about is 32-bit app support. It’s definitely coming to an end. And this might affect some apps you like using. For me, some of my favorite games fall into this category. Want to see which of your apps won’t work on future iOS versions? Head to Settings > General > About > Applications to see the list.

You might’ve gotten a glimpse of this even without going to the Settings app. One other change in iOS 10.3 noted by people before and after release: Apps not compiled for 64-bit present an alert to the user upon launch. This alert says that the app in question will not work with future versions of iOS.

Now, why did I mention Clips earlier? Because Clips has some notable requirements. Sure, it requires iOS 10.3. That’s the latest OS release, and its no surprise that Apple will target the latest release with its latest apps. But the hardware requirements don’t include all devices running iOS 10.3. Specifically, Clips only works on 64-bit devices. Don’t believe me? Check the bottom of the Clips site and try to find a 32-bit device in the list of supported devices. You won’t find any.

Another big tip: iOS 10.3.2 is available for developers to test. It is only available for 64-bit devices.

The writing is clearly on the wall: 32-bit apps will soon be unsupported in iOS. But while some think iOS 11 will be the big cutoff, it may be sooner than most people realize. If you see your favorite apps in that list in your Settings app, consider contacting the developers of those applications. Urge them to update their apps.

I know I don’t want to lose my favorite games.

 

On Apple’s new new iPad

This week, Apple announced a few new or updated products via press release. One of those was a brand new iPad model. Known only as iPad, it’s an update to the 9.7-inch iPad model but staying below the new Pro line in terms of functionality.

There’s been some confusion as to the iPad’s name, as well as Apple’s approach to its design and price. But if we take a moment to analyze its name, I think we can put the rest of the details into place.

Apple is calling this simply iPad. Specifically, it shows up as iPad (5th Generation)1 on Apple’s site, which is leading to issues on Wikipedia, as the iPad Air was unofficially known as the 5th generation iPad. Why is Apple calling it the 5th generation iPad?

Ultimately, I think we can consider the iPad itself having ended as a product line with the 4th generation iPad. When a new 9.7-inch iPad model debuted in 2013, it came with a new name: the iPad Air. This began a new line of Air model iPads. These models kept pushing the envelope forward in terms of weight, thinness, and power. I still think the iPad Air 2 is a very capable iPad, even if Apple no longer advertises it on their website.

Apple's two iPad Pro models
Apple’s two iPad Pro models

That said, the iPad Pro line is yet another new line of iPads. The fact that the iPad Pro 9.7-inch model happens to have identical dimensions to the iPad Air 2 just shows the evolution of that sleek, powerful design.

With the Pro moniker, Apple is clearly targeting the iPad Pro towards those wanting to do more with their iPad. Looking to do serious work? Here’s an iPad that also supports a convenient Smart Keyboard and state-of-the-art Apple Pencil.

The iPad (4th Generation), the predecessor to the iPad (5th Generation)
The iPad (4th Generation), the predecessor to the iPad (5th Generation)

What about the consumer? That’s where the iPad (5th Generation) comes in. This iPad isn’t a new Air model. This isn’t related to the Pro models at all. Instead, this is the follow-up to the iPad 4. As such, it’s able to get away with a few things.

First, we can revert to the design of the iPad Air. Sure, it means the iPad is thicker than the Air 2. But it still is a great size and, more importantly, is still close to 1 pound in weight. That makes this iPad one you can hold for a longer period of time than the iPad 4 (or older).

This older design also shows up when we look at the various technologies used in the iPad (5th Generation). The display is still of Retina quality, but it lacks the anti-reflective material that’s built into the latest iPads. We also see Apple resorting to the older antenna bands for the LTE models.

However, despite having some older technologies in this new model, they can also throw in some very capable internals. The A9 chip, while technically over a year old, is still more powerful than what’s in any other consumer-targeted iPad model. This puts it on par with the iPhone SE, another iOS device considered to be for those looking at a more price-friendly option.

This leads me to the second point: price. Because Apple is using a mix of older technologies and designs along with semi-newer chipsets (which, as a volume purchase, likely cost less the more Apple integrates them into products), they can also release this iPad at an amazing price: $329 for 32GB. That’s the lowest any new 9.7-inch iPad model has ever sold for.

The lower price leads me to two conclusions:

  1. Apple is going to create two tiers of iPads like they’ve done for years with the MacBook line. The average consumer will go for a powerful-but-not-too-powerful MacBook, while professionals will grab the MacBook Pro. Similarly, the iPad line will be what most consumers will need. And at a new lower price point, there’s very little reason for someone to get one of these iPads, especially as an upgrade from an older model.
  2. The iPad Mini will never again have the top-of-the-line specs. Right now, the only iPad Mini left in Apple’s lineup is the iPad Mini 4. The only configuration is a 128GB model for $399. I still think the iPad Mini line has a place with certain audiences, but at best it will share the same specs as the new consumer iPad line. At worst, it will disappear completely.

Overall, this new iPad will be a very positive thing for Apple. The lower price should bring in new iPad owners, as well as move those with anything older than an iPad Air 2 to upgrade.


  1. For instance, in the list of supported devices for the new Clips app

[Updated] Watch faces

One thing I do like about the Apple Watch is the ability to easily change your watch face. Very quickly, the Watch can go from being a simple time piece to something very personal. As I’ve now spent 48 hours with a Watch, I wanted to share how I’ve set up my Watch faces. I’d also love to hear comments on how you set up your faces.

Complications

Before I begin, note that the complications are likely to change as I try more apps for Apple Watch. I know I’ll drop some of these eventually. But for now, these are the ones I’m using:

  • Battery – Temporary while I learn how long my Watch will last during the day
  • Activity – The main purpose for buying the Watch was to help me be more active. So having this visible at all times is a must.
  • Date
  • Weather – Makes it real quick to see how things are outside
  • Calendar – Being able to see when my next meeting or event occurs at a glance is great.

Now that I’ve listed all of the complications, here are my Watch faces.

Utility

Apple Watch Utility face

This Watch face is my main one. I like the overall appearance of it, as it feels like the kind of watch face I’d want even on a mechanical watch.  I have this one when I’m not working (and sometimes when I am). I have the Battery complication in the top left, Activity in the top right, Date with the day of the week inside, and the weather along the bottom. When I drop the Battery one, I’ll move the weather to that corner (even though it’ll only show the temperature) and replace it with the calendar at the bottom.

Modular

Apple Watch modular face

This is my current Watch face during the work day. The center complication is the calendar because of the amount of data it can show. It’s a bit odd to see the time off-center, but I will let that slide given the amount of data all of the complications can show.

Color

Apple Watch color face

I thought I would use this one more, but I don’t use it as much anymore. I do like how it’ll show color more than the Utility face. When I go out and want a little fun with the Watch, I’ll use this and tweak the color.

Astronomy

I do miss complications when using this Watch face, but this is a fun one to sometimes switch to at night.

Timelapse / Photo Album

Apple Watch photo album face

These are my evening Watch faces for when I don’t need to see data but want to see something personal, especially with the Photo Album face. I look forward to creating some Live Photos next week and making Watch faces out of them.

There are other faces I don’t use. I don’t have anything to say on them really. The ones I just listed are my favorites thus far. But I’ve not had my Watch for months like some people, so I’m sure this will change the more I use it.

Update (Dec 1)

Having had some more time with my Watch, I’ve cut down on some of the faces that I was using before and added a few new ones.

Utility, as mentioned above, is still the same, but it is now my main Watch face.

Modular, while still the same, is hardly used anymore. It’s nice, but I find it doesn’t provide me as much useful information while I’m working at my desk. If I was working elsewhere and not always near my computer’s calendar, then maybe I would find it more useful.

I’ve made some new additions to my faces.

Simple

Apple Watch simple face

As the name implies, this is a simple face. I use this when I’m out or at meetings. I think it removes enough distractions to allow me to focus on where I’m at without feeling the need to always glance at my wrist.

Modular (2)

Apple Watch sleep modular face sleep++

This is another Modular set up. However, I use this one specifically for when I sleep. The center complication is for the app Sleep++ by David Smith. When I’m ready for bed, I’ll switch to this complication, set my alarm, go into Airplane mode, and then tap on the center complication to take me to the Sleep++ app to start tracking my sleep. The other complications, including the weather and sunrise/sunset, seem appropriate for this watch face.

My thoughts on multitasking on future iPads

Now that we have seen the new iPhones, my thoughts have started to move ahead to the next likely update: iPads. Typically updated on a yearly cycle, the iPad has continued to receive refinements that continue to perfect the device.

Right now, the iPad lineup is strong with the thin and powerful iPad Air and its smaller sibling, the iPad Mini with Retina. If we’re to make any predictions about what is to come, I think we can safely say the next generation of each of those devices with be iterations on the existing models.1

There’s also something new that is rumored to come with the next iPads (or a future iPad Pro): the option to run two apps side by side. Some have wondered how such a feature could operate. Now, I think I have it figured out.2

On the new iPhone 6, due to the larger screen size, Apple introduced something called “Reachability“. By double-pressing (not clicking) the home button, the top half of the screen moves down to within range of the user’s thumb. This is only possible due to the Touch ID sensor, which can respond simply by a finger being on the home button yet not clicking it.

On an iPhone, this makes sense, as the iPhone originally began as a one-handed device. But what about iPads? They have never been designed for one hand.  The next generation of iPads are rumored to include Touch ID.  Obviously, this could allow for increased security on an Apple, as well as the inclusion of Apple Pay. Could Apple also include a new feature for the double-press interface on the iPad? What could it be? Hmm…


  1. Very rarely does Apple introduce a device and not create an upgraded iteration in the same design.  

  2. Because, obviously, I know these things. Okay, no, I don’t. I’m just guessing. But am I close? I’d love to know!  

Prediction: Apple will hold a spring 2015 event

There aren’t a lot of rumors flying around Apple’s plans for 2015 yet, especially since everyone is busy with iPhone and iPad leaks. But there were two things that I’ve seen that make me think there will be an Apple event sometime this spring.

First, there are the constant rumors about an Apple wearable. Is it ready? Will it launch with a new iPhone? If so, why haven’t we seen any leaks yet? All of those questions keep getting asked each and every week. But because we haven’t seen anything, some feel that we’ll see it launch in early 2015 instead.

But that’s not my main reason for this prediction. Instead, it has to do with Apple’s new Photos app for OS X. Photos for OS X won’t launch until early 2015. I don’t think they would launch something like this without mentioning it at an Apple event, especially as it will replace two big name applications: iPhoto and Aperture.

I expect some kind of event in March/April 2015. Apple will do its usual updates, then talk about software and the Mac, release Photos for OS X, and then go into whatever their main event is about.

“The Apple World, the Android/Samsung World, and the Windows World”

Re/code posted an interview with Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly in which he talked about tablets, computers, and the current tech market. The interview itself is an interesting read, especially to see inside the mind of a CEO whose company has been affected by the global technological shift that we have seen across phones, tablets, and computers over the past few years.

One item that caught my eye was his response to a question about ‘stores within a store’. For a while now, Best Buy has had dedicated areas in their stores for Apple, Samsung, and Windows devices. When asked about those areas, he responded:

What we’ve done is, we’ve made Best Buy the place where customers can discover, understand, these different ecosystems. There’s these giant ecosystems: The Apple world, the Android/Samsung world, the Windows world. And so, for the customers, it’s a very unique opportunity to see it in one place, and in the space of half an hour, to be able to talk to our various specialists, and touch, feel, experience these products.

When it comes to Apple and Microsoft, each has created a very unique and identifiable ecosystem. Interestingly, in his comment, he included Samsung right along with his mention of Android. If you walk into a Best Buy store today, what Android device manufacturer is clearly visible? I’ve only ever seen Samsung with some attention.

I also thought it was an interesting response given how Samsung has come ahead, at least in mindshare, of other Android manufacturers with their devices, including their line of Galaxy devices. For some, when they hear Android, that’s the first thing to come to their minds.

When it comes to operating systems, it very clearly is Apple’s iOS versus Google’s Android. But with the iPhone competing against Samsung’s various Galaxy S phones, it’s easy to see why even Best Buy’s CEO would remark Android’s world as belonging to Samsung.

If It Worked For the iPod…

I came across an old post regarding the iPhone that I thought was pretty interesting.

So here’s how I see Apple applying its iPod strategy to the iPhone. At some point the iPhone will expand to two form factors:

  1. A high-end iPhone with the same basic size and price as previous iPhones, but with significant new features. Obvious potential new features would be things like more storage space, more RAM, a faster CPU, an improved (and eventually video-capable) camera, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and superior battery technology.
  2. A new, lower-priced, smaller, and more adorable iPhone, with more or less the same technical specs as the original iPhone. Given that those specs include the 320 × 480 display, I wouldn’t expect something tiny, but remember that the original iPod Mini was “just” 35 percent smaller by volume than the then-current full-sized iPod. Shrink the iPhone’s forehead and chin and make it thinner — maybe a lot thinner — is what I’m thinking. Existing iPhone apps would run just fine on the new device, as it’d have similar, if not identical, CPU performance and RAM to previous full-sized iPhones. Such an iPhone sounds much like the “iPhone Lite” that BusinessWeek reported its source saw.

This is something John Gruber posted in May of 2009 with regard to rumors of a Verizon iPhone. Why it caught my eye is because of the thinking that the iPhone would go the way of the iPod. Except, it wasn’t until 4 years after this post that we were introduced to two iPhone models in one year: the 5s and 5c.

Apple originally introduced just one iPod model. But after a couple of years, it started to get different companions. Now, we look back at the history of the iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod touch, and the iPod mini. As the device market matured, Apple was able to create a couple of different devices that, while still being ahead of the competition, offered a larger selection for users to choose from.

I think that’s the direction Apple might be going with the 2 lines. You have one line, the higher-spec, top-of-the-line model. The other, the new c-line, will be more colorful or, as John Gruber said, “more adorable”. Does that mean the c-line is not the best?

Would we say that the iPad mini is less of a device than its larger iPad cousin? Of course not. With the latest updates to the iPad mini and the new iPad Air, both devices are virtually identical except for the screen size. I think the iPhone is just about at a similar level, especially given that the power of the 5c is still mind-blowing compared to phones from just a year or two ago. But it’s still be a great phone, and for some, having a colorful, fun option is more important than having the latest and the greatest.

For years, the iPod was dominant as a music player. While still a popular (and in a way, still the dominant) MP3 player, smartphones have come up and taken a bit of steam out of the iPod’s sails. But when it comes to the iPhone, I think Apple will undoubtedly diversify it’s offerings. It will never be the same way Nokia or Samsung offer a plethora of devices. But Apple has never had to do that, either. And when it comes to the iPhone, like the iPad, having two or three offerings still gives people options when it comes to a new phone.

2014’s iOS Line-Up (My Predictions)

With 2013 behind us, I thought it was time to take a look at what Apple released (in terms of iOS) and what I think Apple will do in 2014.

The first half of 2013 was very quiet with regards to Apple events. Our first public event was WWDC in June, where we finally got a glimpse at what Apple was working on in the software category. After six years of the iPhone, iOS was getting a major facelift, giving a fresh look to one of the most popular mobile operating systems. While supporting older devices like the iPhone 4 would support iOS 7, it was definitely meant to bring in a new future for Apple’s iOS devices.

In the fall, we finally started seeing some hardware, with the announcement of two new iPhones: the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. The 5c was essentially last year’s iPhone 5 but with new, colorful shells. For those upgrading from an iPhone 4 or earlier, they made an attractive alternative to the otherwise sleek but relatively-basic colors of the 5 and 5s. The 5s, meanwhile, brought a future-thinking iPhone to the market, introducing a 64-bit A7 processor to the iOS line up. Even now, I think people take 64-bit for granted on their computers. Having that power in a mobile device is incredible.

The iPad upgrades followed suit with the iPhone and received the new A7 chip, as well as other changes. The iPad was redesigned into the iPad Air, a lightweight tablet that, to me, seems like an ideal size and weight for a “full size” iPad (and is much improved over the first generation). The iPad Mini, meanwhile, was upgraded with a Retina display. I’d say the new iPad Mini is probably the best 7.9″ tablet out there. Honestly, every time I see an iPad mini, I feel like I’m living in a Star Trek world.

All of these updates seemed to make the iOS device line up even better than before. What changes could possibly come in 2014?

For one, I think we’re looking at the end of an old friend. The 30-pin connector has existed for over a decade and been a staple of iPods, iPhones, and iPads for years. Since the introduction of the iPhone 5 and the Lightning connector, however, it has become clear that a new era of connecting cables was at hand. The Lightning connector’s smaller size let Apple make the iPhone even thinner than previous generations. Given Apple’s typical quest to shrink things down, it makes sense that future devices stick to the Lightning cable.

What had not surprised me during the iPhone event was the presence of the iPhone 4S on the lineup. Typically, the phone from two years prior would be made free on contract, and this held true. But as we look ahead to 2014, if this pattern continues, we’ll see the iPhone 4S drop off of the lineup.  This doesn’t just affect the iPhone, however.

The iPad 2 has somehow held on to life, despite the fact that it is three generations older than the newest iPad model available. If the iPhone 4S does indeed get retired, then the iPad 2 would be the only device still using the 30-pin connector. But, that’s not all; The iPad 2 is one of only two iOS devices sold without a Retina display. The other? The original iPad Mini, which shared many specs of the iPad 2. When new iPads are announced, I don’t think Apple wants to present a non-Retina screen as an option anymore. It’s time to look to the future and keep all devices top of the line.

So, that being said, what will we see?

iPhone: Since the original iPhone in 2007, there has always been at least one new phone released each year. There’s no reason for Apple not to continue. Given their introduction of two new handsets in 2013, it’s possible we’ll see two more in 2014: one a high-end upgrade of the iPhone 5s with a brand new design, a new A8 processor, and other improved specs; the other could be an upgrade to the iPhone 5c, bringing the power of the 5s into a design and feel that could appeal to the more colorful (or those that miss the feel of the iPhone 3G/S). Even if the 5c isn’t updated, I foresee it remaining on the lineup.

Lineup Prediction: A new iPhone (6?), reduced price iPhone 5s, and a colorful iPhone 5c (or update to it).

iPad: The iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina will see some minor changes. Both would likely see a new generation with an A8 processor and the inclusion of Touch ID, something that they didn’t receive with the previous updates. With 2 generations of iPad Mini with Retina, it could be possible for Apple to phase out non-Retina screens in their entirety. At last, we would see an end to the iPad 2.

Lineup Prediction: iPad Air (2nd Gen), iPad Mini with Retina (2nd Gen), and reduced price iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina (both 1st Gen).

What about the iPod Touch? It was last updated along with the iPhone 5. Has Apple left it out to dry? We’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a new iPod Touch modeled alongside a new iPhone design. But the iPod line is no longer Apple’s main money-maker, so who knows what they’ll do?

Rumors continue to circulate about Apple entering the wearable category or taking on the TV market further. Apple TV runs a modified form of iOS, but I won’t talk about it in this post. And with no official word about any iWatch, we don’t know what software it will run. Do I think we’ll see at least one of these in 2014? Definitely.

In short, these updates may not seem too revolutionary. In a way, they’re aren’t. But they also are leading the way towards a new age of iOS devices, moving away from legacy solutions and early-tech. Having every iOS device for sale containing the new Lightning connector and a Retina display will put Apple in a strong position with premium devices. They only sell their best, and in 2014, they’ll show it.

What Will Apple’s iWatch Be?

Rumors of Apple’s foray into new product categories don’t seem to stop. For a couple of years, the gossip was surrounding Apple developing some kind of smart television. While we haven’t seen any iTV yet, there’s still a good chance they are working in that area of interest.

Something more recent but no less talked about is Apple’s interest in wearables. The so-called iWatch has become another hot topic, one that possibly could have lead to Samsung running out of the gate with their ‘smart watch’. While Samsung may be first to releasing a watch with a mobile OS crammed inside, I don’t think Apple’s efforts will resemble their competitors’.

Apple doesn’t go into a product category without much thought and planning. Anything they release is held up to high standards. In terms of a wearable, it would need to provide a useful function in a well designed body while providing a battery life that makes it as useful (relatively) as a normal watch. It won’t just be a smaller touch screen running iOS and trimmed apps. They will want a product that touches people’s lives.

For years, Apple has offered support for the Nike+ line of products. With just your iPod or iPhone, you can read data from a Nike device and log a workout or physical activity. It’s not something that is often talked about at Apple keynotes, but it’s still shows an interest in health and fitness. Oh, and did I mention that Apple CEO Tim Cook is on Nike’s Board of Directors?

Tim Cook himself also has an interest in fitness. One CNN article even described him as “a fitness nut”. What might a fitness nut in charge of one of most well known technology companies want to create?

Apple M7
Apple’s M7 Coprocessor

I think there’s an important key also to be found in the latest technology found in the iPhone 5s: the M7 motion coprocessor. The M7 allows the iPhone 5s (and undoubtedly future mobile devices) to continuously measure and process motion data from the compass, accelerometer, and gyroscope. Even during in the iPhone keynote and the unveiling of the M7 coprocessor, it was described as being able to enable “a new generation of health and fitness apps”.

Will it also be able to usher in a new generation of health and fitness devices, too? I for one think that this is the direction Apple is going with the wearables category. And the rumors regarding who might be working on such a device lend some credence to that.

Of course, nothing is certain until Apple announces it. But I am definitely thinking that, whatever Apple’s iWatch becomes, it will not just be a watch with an OS. It will track your health, your motion, and be a new fitness companion that will compliment, rather than compete, with your iPhone.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy the iPad 2 (and Why You Should Be Glad Apple Still Sells It)

On October 22nd, Apple announced updates to some of their products. Along with the release of OS X Mavericks, their latest version of their desktop operating system, they also announced new versions of iLife and iWork applications for iOS, OS X, and iCloud. New MacBook Pros were also announced.

The expected items, though, were a pair of new iPads. The iPad mini was given a much needed Retina display, while the full size iPad was upgraded and became the new iPad Air, a thinner and lighter 9.7″ iPad. Both of these updates were expected due to news leaks over the past few weeks and were welcomed with open arms.

The Shocker

However, there was a bit of a surprise when it came to what the new iPad line-up now consisted of. Both of those new iPads would be the premium product, while older versions remained on sale. That has been Apple’s MO with iPhones and iPads for years. Yet, while last year’s breakthrough iPad mini made sense to keep in the line-up, the iPad 2 seemed out of place. Why would Apple keep selling this 2.5 year old iPad, one that doesn’t even use the latest Lightning connector?

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 2.08.39 PM
Apple’s current iPad line-up

For one, it apparently still sells very well. For many people, the iPad 2 provides everything that a person might need or even want from a tablet. Technophiles may not show any interest in it, but anyone that isn’t tech-savvy who is looking for their first tablet would be more than happy with a new iPad 2.1

Second, by leaving the iPad 2 in the line-up, it gives consumers an option for an iPad that still supports the 30-pin connector and the massive amount of accessories that were created for that connector. But is this a big enough reason for people to buy an iPad 2 when, for $100 more, they can get the new iPad Air?

The iPad 2 was great when it was released. But lacking a Retina display and still using the old 30-pin connector (plus the A5 chip that doesn’t keep quite up to speed with its modern breathren) makes it a poor choice from the current iPad line-up. For identical specs, you can pay $100 less and get the iPad mini. The screen may be smaller, but you’re getting a thinner form factor AND a device with more functionality2 than the older iPad 2.

Add to this the fact that, on Apple’s own website, you can find refurbished 4th generation iPads available for $379. Yes, you can get a newer iPad from Apple’s own website for less than the iPad 2. But if newer models can be purchased for less than $400, why would you want to buy an iPad 2?

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 2.22.40 PM
You can get a newer iPad straight from Apple for less than a new iPad 2!

This is why I say you shouldn’t buy an iPad 2. If you have the $399 to spend on it, why not get a newer model? Even the next newest model, the 3rd generation iPad, had a Retina display. While you would still be sporting the larger connector and an older body style compared to the iPad Air, you’d also have a capable tablet with a higher resolution screen.

Even if you don’t buy an iPad 2, however, there’s reason to be happy Apple still sells it. Why is that?

Product Longevity

Don’t you hate buying a product when, months later, it seems like your relatively new purchase is obsolete? Thankfully, while Apple continues to iterate and innovate with hardware, much of the capabilities of their devices come from within the silicon.

iPhone 3G customers may recall a time when their iPhones could not do the now common task of copy-and-paste. Yet, a software update (iOS 3) brought that feature, and others, to their iPhones. They may not have had the latest processor or camera specs, but those iPhone owners were able to get improved use from their devices.

Similarly, Apple has a fairly good track record of supporting older iOS devices. And each time Apple continues to sell an older generation model,3 they also permit the latest iOS software to run on it, albeit with some features likely not supported.4 When the iPhone 4S launched, iOS 5 was also released. The iPhone 3GS, still being sold at the time, was able to get that software update. Neither it nor the iPhone 4 had the ability to use Siri. Yet, each phone still found extended use by its owners.5 Likewise, when iOS 7 was announced this past June, Apple was still selling the iPhone 4. iOS 7 was installable on those older devices, even though Apple removed them from their line up at their iPhone event in September.

The iPad 2 may not be the wisest choice for buying a new iPad. Yet, the fact that Apple is still selling it means that, quite likely, unless new iPads are announced in the spring, the iPad 2 could possibly support iOS 8. Even if it doesn’t, there’s a good chance the third generation iPads and newer will support it. And as iPad and iPhone hardware matures, it’s likely we’ll see more and more generations of iOS devices supporting newer versions of IOS. They may not have the hardware to support all of the latest features6, but they’ll remain up to date nonetheless.

But for any iOS device owners who have purchased an iPhone or iPad in the past 2 years, you’ll be okay using your device for at least another year with updates galore. If Apple will support a device from March 2011, yours should be supported, too.


  1. iPad 2 owners may feel differently when comparing their tablet performance on iOS 7 versus what they used to have on iOS 6, but new customers undoubtedly wouldn’t notice.  

  2. iOS 7 on the iPad mini supports Airdrop, for example, though on the iPad 2 it does not. 

  3. For example, Apple continued to sell the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 when the iPhone 4S was launched. 

  4. This isn’t just a matter of Apple wanting people to upgrade. Sometimes, the features introduced simply can’t be supported on older hardware without degraded performance. Apple’s goal is not to just pack in features but to give a great user experience. At times, this means some devices can’t get every new feature. 

  5. The iPhone 3GS went on to support even the latest version of iOS 6. Thus far, iOS 7 is supported on devices as far back as the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 

  6. Touch ID, 120 fps HD video recording, etc