Every year about this time Apple introduces a new version of iOS, and every year about this time we’re treated with a list from members of the technorati elite politburo of iPhones and iPads that just became obsolete.
Obsolete? Why? How? Actually, that’s the opposite of what happens with a new release from Apple, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Mac users face a similar issue and the technology munchkins of various digital trade rags all holler out the same thing, “Obsolete.” Let’s examine the facts because what’s happening isn’t what they say is happening.
The Meaning Of ‘Is’ Is
Way back when, back when I was working on a long-sought-after graduate degree in mass communications many of us were treated to multiple meanings of the word ‘is’ by then President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and eventual impeachment.
Contending that his statement that “there’s nothing going on between us” had been truthful because he had no ongoing relationship with Lewinsky at the time he was questioned, Clinton said, “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement”
Likewise, whenever Apple introduces a new version of OS X (macOS Sierra this year) and iOS, we’re handed a list of devices that will support the new OS, thereby rendering everything else that cannot be upgraded as obsolete.
That’s wrong. Here’s why.
1 no longer produced or used; out of date: the disposal of old and obsolete machinery | the phrase was obsolete after 1625.
2 Biology (of a part or characteristic of an organism) less developed than formerly or in a related species; rudimentary; vestigial.
iOS 10 is upon us and you’re being led to believe that if your older iPhone or iPad won’t upgrade to the latest and greatest that it became obsolete. That’s wrong. It’s not obsolete. In fact, old iPhones and iPads dating back years actually improve each year until they fall off Apple’s list of approved devices for a new version of iOS or macOS.
That’s because each year with each new version of iOS or macOS the devices get more features, so often they do more than they did the year before. However, at some point in the future, even older devices can no longer be upgraded to the latest operating system version.
That’s called obsolescence.
Obsolescence is the state of being which occurs when an object, service, or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order. Obsolescence frequently occurs because a replacement has become available that has, in sum, more advantages compared to the disadvantages incurred by maintaining or repairing the original.
See? Not obsolete. But getting there.
Obsolete refers to something that is already disused or discarded, or antiquated. Typically, obsolescence is preceded by a gradual decline in popularity.
Still, for some iPhones and iPads that ran iOS 9 (about 90-percent of all iOS devices until this week), it means the end of the road for OS updates, but not the end of the road for use or usability, therefore, obsolete doesn’t really apply. Devices that run iOS 9 but not iOS 10 actually have more functionality years after they were new.
iOS 10 spells the end of the road for these Apple devices.
- iPad 2
- iPad 3rd generation
- iPad mini
- iPhone 4s
- iPod touch 5th generation
Let’s look at the Mac a different way. Macs from 2009 that will run macOS Sierra include only the aluminum MacBook and the iMac, whereas Macs from 2010 or later– MacBook Air, Pro, mini, MacBook Pro– will run the new macOS. If your model is not on the list it still works just like it did yesterday and hasn’t become obsolete.