Building Bridges

Dollar for Dollar, No One Updates You Like Apple

- 2012.06.28 - Tip Jar

Today's technology is great, isn't it? It is powerful and does more than we ever imagined it could. Take the iPad, for example: With all of the apps available on the App Store,there is virtually no limit to what it can do - or is there?

First generation iPad
First generation iPad

This fall Apple will release iOS 6, which is going to add a host of awesome new features that will give (almost) all of our devices new life. Unfortunately for my 18-month-old first generation iPad, it doesn't seem it will see its second birthday before it is officially considered obsolete - and new and updated apps start to not work on it.

This really upsets me, because we all know that a few months after iOS 6 launches, many developers will stop supporting iOS 5. I'm not too worried about my original iPad, because this won't really affect me or people like me who know how to continue making use of their older device.

No, I feel for the ordinary consumers out there, because this will only affect them. Ordinary consumers are the people who don't know or don't care how to get around the obstacles, and they either buy a new one (even if their device is still technically capable) or they try to get around the obstacles and sometimes find themselves in a situation where they've permanently bricked their device.

To be fair, Apple is doing a better job of supporting its devices than anyone in the Android world. Most Android devices don't come with the latest version of Android (4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, introduced in October 2011 - make that 4.1 Jelly Bean as of June 27, 2012) and will more than likely never see an update either.

Blackbird PowerBook
Blackbird PowerBook

Call me old fashioned if you like, but even though Apple is doing better than the competition in this respect, it could be doing a lot more. I remember a time when if you bought a new computer, you could easily count on updates for seven years - and sometimes more. The old Blackbird PowerBook (introduced May 1994) that I'm writing this on came with System 7.1. With the proper upgrades, it could be upgraded to Mac OS 9.1 (Jan. 2001), five major Mac OS releases after 7.1.

On the other hand, dollar for dollar Apple gives you way more support for your money now than they did back then. The average iPad sells for about $699, that's $280/year for 2.5 years of updates. The Blackbird PowerBooks would have cost an average of $5,000 (with necessary upgrades to run 9.1): That's $714/year for the seven years of updates they received.

Even if Apple is doing better than ever when it comes to support, I think that the large community of evangelists that Apple now has would be very grateful if Apple supported their devices for just a little while longer. LEM

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Chris Carson is a longtime Mac user and a more recent convert to iPhone and iPad.

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