Somewhat ironically, the iOS 6 keynote included a lovely pair of pie charts showing the “Installed Base” of iOS and Android users, clearly indicating a nice, neat, mostly-iOS 5 pie for iDevices, and a slightly messier, mostly-Gingerbread pie for Androidians.
But, much like the arrival of Siri last October, Monday’s iO6 keynote – for various reasons – left some users crying: “What about us?!” It’s all a bit of a cross-sectional nightmare.
I’m sure our regulars will correct me if I’m forgetting something here, but Siri was the first major iOS feature that was – quite inexplicably – only available to a select group of users, namely those with an iPhone 4S.
Cynics immediately saw the move as a cheap way to shift iPhone 4S units, as otherwise – save for a faster processor and improved camera – consumers were looking at much the same phone as the year-old iPhone 4. Indeed, they’re pretty much identical on the outside.
Meanwhile, super-nerds set about proving that Siri could in fact be ported to older iDevices, leaving a really sucky smell in some nostrils.
Fast-forward eight months, and it’s a similar story following the iOS 6 keynote, this time with varying degrees of bad news for the various iDevices. iOS City just done got hit by a tornado, boy.
Sticking with Siri, we heard that it’ll make the leap to the third gen iPad, alongside the… actually, that’s your lot. No Siri for the iPhone 4 or iPad 2, even though it’s technically possible. What the heck, Apple?
Turning our attention to Maps, arguably the star of the show as far as iOS 6 was concerned; the turn-by-turn navigation stuff I wrote about yesterday morning apparently won’t be compatible with the older iPhones, namely the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.
Similarly, the offline reading option on Safari won’t be available on the iPhone 3GS, and only the iPhone 4S and current iPads will support cellular FaceTime calls. Phew. Having trouble keeping up? I know I am.
The real boot in the crown jewels, however, is that iOS 6 won’t be made available to users of the original iPad or the third gen iPod touch, but will be supported by the ancient iPhone 3GS – three years old this month. Ouch.
The iPhone 3GS has a humble 600MHz processor compared to the 1GHz on the first gen iPad. Of course, the latter will be sucking up extra power with its significantly larger display, but still; maybe the issue is simply that it hasn’t been sold since the iPad 2 came along in March 2011. Time to upgrade, you lowly holdouts.
The third gen iPod touch, meanwhile, is incredibly similar to the iPhone 3GS in terms of specs, but was succeeded by the fourth gen model in September 2010. By the time iOS 6 is released, it’ll be two years out of date. That’s not quite so bad when you consider some Android smartphones are left behind within a year.
Having said that, you could argue that Android fragmentation isn’t such a big deal. Maybe it’s just me, but Android updates seem somehow less – what’s the word I’m looking for? – tangible than their iOS counterparts.
For example, less than 10% of Android users have Ice Cream Sandwich, but what are the rest missing out on? A beta version of Google Chrome and resizable widgets? Clearly I’m being facetious, but bring on the backlash.
Getting back to iOS 6 (that’s why we’re here, after all); the fact that the iPhone 3GS is on the list of lucky devices leads me to believe – stop me if I’m stating the obvious here – that Apple might continue selling the aging chap when the iPhone 5 comes along; make it even cheaper to compete with Android’s budget superstars.
Or maybe Apple simply doesn’t want to upset those who’ve recently invested in an iPhone 3GS, though Team Cupertino isn’t exactly renowned for giving a shi* about anyone.
How’s that for Head Apple Fanboy?