The Mystery of the Missing iOS 6 for iPad First-Generation Owners

Apple announced iOS 6 yesterday at the 2012 Worldwide Developer Conference. Amongst the small print of the announcement was that the upgrade will not be available for owners of the first-generation iPad (iPad 1, Original iPad, or whatever you might want to call it).

Released only two years ago in April 2010, it seems odd to be retiring support for it so soon, especially when you consider that the iPhone 3GS is going to be supported, albeit missing some features. Read the small print on Apple’s iOS website, and you’ll find a list of gotchas.

iPhone 3GS owners will not be getting:

  • Flyover (3D) or turn-by-turn navigation in the new Apple-sourced Maps app.
  • Siri
  • Shared photo streams
  • Facetime
  • VIP, VIP list or flagged smart mailboxes.

Mind you, there are others who will miss out too.

iPhone 4 users will not be getting:

  • Flyover or turn-by-turn navigation
  • Siri
  • Facetime

And iPad 2 users will be without:

  • Siri
  • Facetime

So this leaves an interesting question. Why pass over iPad 1, when iPhone 3GS gets certain restrictions but the benefit of ‘staying current’? We can all appreciate that certain hardware limitations will mean some features have to be barred, but the rest of the OS surely can’t be that much of an overhead?

Over 10 million iPad’s had been sold by the time the iPad 2 was announced, as presumably some of those users will have upgraded since, but the refirb programme on iPad’s should have kept a good number of the first-generation hardware out of landfill and still putting in good service. So it seems odd for Apple to send the message that the post-PC era will be limited to hardware staying current for only 2 years.

Perhaps there are some sticking points at the moment, and with still 3-4 months left before iOS 6 gets an official release, there may well still be some hope of a reprieve if the technical geniuses at Apple can think of how to squeeze some extra performance out of the iPad 1, or just admit that it was a bit of a marketing gaffe that can easily be resolved.



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