iOS 6: fragmentation’s new best friend?

iOS 6: fragmentation’s new best friend?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?

iOS 6: fragmentation’s new best friend?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?

Read more about: Apple iPad 3Apple iPhone 4SiOSApple iPadApple iPad 2Apple iPhone 3GSApple iPhone 4Apple iPhone 5

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10 comments

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 13, 2012 at 13:26

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?
The supernerds you quoted didn't port a fully functioning Siri to the iPhone 4 and iPad.
Here's why:
http://news.softpedia.com/news/We-Finally-Now-Why-Siri-and-iPhone-4-Don-t-Mix-250834.shtml

That aside, Of course there's hardware fragmentation. Happens between any 2 handsets.
Otherwise we'd all be using the same handset, wouldn't we?

The problem with fragmentation or, "differentiation" starts when a significant number of handsets cannot run a significant number of apps and services. Having an 8MP camera handset and a 5MP model is not fragmentation. I don't think Siri's absence qualifies as fragmentation. It's more like one feature missing. The non-siri handsets can still run Evi and whatever else is out there...

Another issue is 'expectation': Apple have a small number of handsets. And at the keynote they say, "this device will, those won't"!
Google hype Jelly Bean Stew with Gingerbread and after a year punters still don't know what models 'qualify' and which ones don't...

Stelph  Jun. 13, 2012 at 13:34

Engadget made a ery nice chart that shows the features you can and cannot expect to get with iOS6

http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/12/psa-which-ios-6-features-can-my-device-run/

Some quite frankly rediculous. Putting the Siri argument to one side (as thats discussed in the main article) why can my perfectly good iPhone 4 not do Facetime over 3G? Surely thats a restriction of the network I am on, not the phone?

Apple really needs to get the iPhone 5 out ASAP as it is painfully obvious they are using features in iOS, rather than hardware features, to differenciate between the 4s and the 4

Stelph  Jun. 13, 2012 at 13:38

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?
The supernerds you quoted didn't port a fully functioning Siri to the iPhone 4 and iPad.
Here's why:
http://news.softpedia.com/news/We-Finally-Now-Why-Siri-and-iPhone-4-Don-t-Mix-250834.shtml


I had heard that argument before, although the article doesnt completely answer the question "if the chip in the 4s is needed for Siri to work, why do jailbroken alternatives on the 3GS, 4 work?".

I suppose one thing that is missing is an indipendent test of Siri on a 4S and one of the Jailbroken solutions to see if the jalbroken solution is more flakey

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 13, 2012 at 13:40

Yeah, the 3G/WiFi thing, eh... That is ridiculous.
My first comment, by the way, wasn't intended to defend the iOS 'fragmentation' type thingy. But there are differences. Just ask app developers ;)

Up to that keynote I was quite sure I was getting an iPhone 5. Now I'm not so sure anymore.

lcurdie / MOD  Jun. 13, 2012 at 14:14

@Janwick (without copying your lengthy original post): yeah, I meant fragmentation in the literal sense. It's no longer a case of saying "This iDevice gets iOS X and this one doesn't". You now have to break it down into fragments... :p ...to get a true sense of who gets what.

Indeed, the developer definition of fragmentation doesn't really apply to iOS, Android or, uhm, Windows Phone 7, right?

BVT  Jun. 13, 2012 at 14:35

ok phone nerds, as far as I'm aware there has never been an iOS update this far ahead of it's launch OR that of a new handset. If we're being told of what iphone 4s does, then what would be the point in buying an iDevice, revision 5?

They have something up their sleeve, they must do, a processor and camera upgrade just wont cut it this time.

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 13, 2012 at 18:08

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?
The supernerds you quoted didn't port a fully functioning Siri to the iPhone 4 and iPad.
Here's why:
http://news.softpedia.com/news/We-Finally-Now-Why-Siri-and-iPhone-4-Don-t-Mix-250834.shtml


I had heard that argument before, although the article doesnt completely answer the question "if the chip in the 4s is needed for Siri to work, why do jailbroken alternatives on the 3GS, 4 work?".

I suppose one thing that is missing is an indipendent test of Siri on a 4S and one of the Jailbroken solutions to see if the jalbroken solution is more flakey


From all I have read, the jailbroken versions of Siri do not work quite that perfectly.
I'm not claiming 'to know'. And as I said, I don't much care. For years I always deleted VLingo first when I got an S60 device :D

I just think adding Siri to the 'fragmentation' debate is beside the point. And with Google throwing in 'differentiation' things are muddied enough.
Almost every Android phone is sold with the teaser of "xxxxx thousand apps at your fingertips". And often it's just not true. Apple too make some dubious claims, of course. But
they never said Siri's for every iOS device. Do they limit availability to, LOL, 'differentiate' otherwise very similar devices? Of course. Was it necessary to embed elements on the chip? Maybe not. Probably not.

And yeah, some 'objective' comparison would be interesting. When you find 'objective' on the web, let me know. I have champagne on ice ;)

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 13, 2012 at 18:12

ok phone nerds, as far as I'm aware there has never been an iOS update this far ahead of it's launch OR that of a new handset. If we're being told of what iphone 4s does, then what would be the point in buying an iDevice, revision 5?

They have something up their sleeve, they must do, a processor and camera upgrade just wont cut it this time.
I agree. Kind of. But it's Apple ;) A jump to a 4'' screen and who knows what cam-bump etc will be enough. It's all the sleeve padding they need.
Look, also, at the much hyped SGS3! A lot of nerds reacted with "meh"; with "I keep my SGS2" until quadcores are better utilised...whatever else.

JanSt / MOD  Jun. 13, 2012 at 18:14

@Janwick (without copying your lengthy original post): yeah, I meant fragmentation in the literal sense. It's no longer a case of saying "This iDevice gets iOS X and this one doesn't". You now have to break it down into fragments... :p ...to get a true sense of who gets what.

Indeed, the developer definition of fragmentation doesn't really apply to iOS, Android or, uhm, Windows Phone 7, right?


Without a flowchart and a lengthy 3D skype chat I cannot begin to explain what I think you just said so you can retort, and then I do, and you do.... I assume: Yes, you're right. :D

Pondlife  Jun. 13, 2012 at 20:19

ok phone nerds, as far as I'm aware there has never been an iOS update this far ahead of it's launch OR that of a new handset. If we're being told of what iphone 4s does, then what would be the point in buying an iDevice, revision 5?

They have something up their sleeve, they must do, a processor and camera upgrade just wont cut it this time.


When you press the apple logo on the back it will smell gently of apple blossom.

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