June 8 update below. This post was first published on June 6, 2022.
Apple today announced the following iPhone operating software. Unsurprisingly, it’s called iOS 16. Surprisingly, it works with fewer iPhones than many predicted.
The current software, iOS 15, is compatible with any iPhone from the iPhone 6s. Intriguingly, that’s the exact same group of phones running iOS 14 and even iOS 15. In other words, Apple hasn’t dropped an iPhone in three years.
June 8 update. That sense of disappointment for iPhone users who have been banned from iOS 16 seems to apply in one specific way to millions of other Apple users, as it turns out.
When Apple releases new software, the new features are designed to be so irresistible that you just have to have them. Hence the importance of compatibility with the iPhone you have. But while some of the new features, like the cool-looking lock screen improvements, seem to have the extra power that more recent iPhones have, others, like Apple Pay Later, sound like they should be available for any Apple Pay-enabled iPhone.
This time there are so many new features that I think many customers will feel that now is the time to upgrade their hardware to make sure they don’t miss anything. And the gadgets that can’t get the latest update are not just limited to iPhone. For example, Apple Watch Series 3 won’t work with watchOS 9, leading me to believe that this current entry-level Watch may be retired later this year. Likewise, Apple has also revealed which iPads will no longer be supported this fall when the new software arrives. And when iPadOS 16 lands, an extra sharp sting awaits iPad users, continuing the theme of potential disappointment for Apple customers.
We already knew the list of compatible devices after the keynote. They are 5″ iPade generation further, iPad mini, also 5egeneration models and later, iPad Air from 3rd generation on and all iPad Pro models.
Reasonable. Other than what is arguably the most exciting feature for iPad is the introduction of Stage Manager, an innovative multitasking system that could revolutionize the way the iPad is used, especially when paired with a keyboard.
And that’s not available for all iPads that iPadOS 16 is compatible with.
Well, it might not come as a surprise that you need the iPad Air and iPad Pro to get Stage Manager. After all, the iPad mini doesn’t fit well with a keyboard.
So while many expected iOS 16 to not work with the oldest of those phones, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, both released in September 2015, there are three other iPhones that will no longer be updated to the latest software.
First off, the iPhone SE (first generation) announced on March 20, 2016, which is over six years old, so maybe that’s not a full disclosure.
But it also sees the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus losing support from September 2016. In all, millions of people are still using those phones and they won’t be able to update to iOS 16 with its cool new lock screen and tons of other new features.
Let’s put this in context. It means that every iPhone from iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus launched in September 2017 and later will work with the new operating system. By the time it goes live, those will be phones that first launched five years ago. Few Android phones can upgrade so much software.
And here is a balance to be found. If you want to add a lot of powerful enhanced features, you need a certain power of the processor. On the other hand, if you want full long-term compatibility, you should limit the upgrades so that they work with older processors.
The fact that so many phones have been left out this time is a clear indication that the updates need more power and are therefore likely to be quite advanced.
Of course, and you know this, I know, all those earlier iPhones don’t just stop working. They will continue as they are now. They just can’t get the high profile updates just announced.
And some of those updates are so excited that they might be enough to spur some users to buy a new iPhone.