Apple has always been pretty predictable when it comes to iPhone and iOS releases, but this changed with the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 3GS was launched in June 2009 and sold until September 2012. With the release of iOS 7 in September 2013, the iPhone 3GS wasn’t included. That’s 4 years and 3 months of continued support, a year of which continued after it was discontinued from sale.
The iPhone 4 was launched in June 2010 and sold until September 2013. With the release of iOS 8 in September 2014, the iPhone 4 wasn’t included. That’s 4 years and 3 months of continued support, a year of which continued after it was discontinued from sale – although it was still available in early 2014 in developing countries.
The iPhone 4s was launched in October 2011 and sold until September 2014, With the release of iOS 9, which is likely to be in September 2015, and following Apple’s past habits, the iPhone 4s won’t be included. This means it will have had 3 years and 11 months of continued support, once again including a year of which will continue after it is discontinued from sale.
The iPhone 5
The iPhone 4s has an 800 MHz dual-core A5. This was upped in the iPhone 5, featuring a 1.3 GHz dual-core A6, as does the 5c. The iPhone 5s has a 1.3 GHz dual-core A7, and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have a 1.4 GHz dual-core A8.
The iPhone 5 was the first to include 1 GB of RAM – which the 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus also have – up from the 512 MB RAM in the iPhone 4s.
It was also the first iPhone to up its screen size from the 3.5″ screen to a 4″ screen, adding an extra row of icons on the home screen. This carried on with the 5c and 5s, with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus having even larger screens.
More RAM, larger screen, and the Lightning connector leaves the older legacy phones with their smaller screen and 30-pin connectors a thing of the past.
However, let’s looks at the iPhone 5. It was launched in September 2012, but a year later in September 2013 Apple stopped selling it – making it the shortest lived iPhone ever produced. In September 2013, it was replaced with the iPhone 5c, which has identical internal hardware to the iPhone 5 with only its outer casing being different.
Another odd twist was that when Apple releases a new iPhone, they drop the oldest one from sales, giving that phone a year of ‘off sale’ support before being cut in the next iOS release (i.e., the 3GS stopped being sold in September 2012 but was supported until September 2013, the iPhone 4 stopped being sold in September 2013 but was supported until September 2014).
However, when they dropped the iPhone 5, they kept the iPhone 4s as the budget model.
Every iPhone is ‘plagued’ with issues, or that’s what news sites would have us believe: From exploding batteries to bending phones, you name it, the iPhone has probably had it.
However, the iPhone 5 really was plagued with issues. Set aside the bending rumors, there were numerous issues surrounding it: scratching very easily, cameras failing, power buttons stop working, and even screen issues and charging problems.
Apple initiated two recall programs for the iPhone 5 in 2014, one for failing power buttons and the other for batteries that experience a shorter life.
So what does this mean for support? As it differs from their previous method, it begs the question how long Apple will support it.
Technically it should get four updates and around four years, just like most iPhones have had. It shipped with iOS 6, meaning it should support iOS 9, which should be launched in September 2015 and have continued support until the release of iOS 10 in 2016. But will it?
The iPhone 5c, with its identical hardware, shipped with iOS 7 a year later, so it should see iOS 10 and have continued support until 2017, when iOS 11 is released.
Considering their identical specifications, it doesn’t make sense for Apple to cut off the iPhone 5 and not the iPhone 5c. Will that mean the iPhone 5 gets an extra version of iOS? It’s more likely that both will be cut at the end of iOS 9, giving the iPhone 5c a shorter life – neither of them getting iOS 10.
You have to remember the iPhone 5c is the ‘budget’ version released beside the top-end 64-bit iPhone 5s, so it more likely Apple will keep the 5s going longer that the 5c.
On a side note, when Apple previewed the Apple Watch in September 2014, it released its requirements too. And while the iPhone 4s got iOS 8, it won’t support the Apple Watch. The lowest iPhone is the iPhone 5.
Apple might have brushed it under the carpet as far as sales were concerned, but they have a duty to those that bought it to support it as long as they do any other iPhone they have sold.
It is one thing to stop future sales of it and replace it with a revamped product – but to the cut those customers short is another thing.
Despite the problems, there are plenty of happy iPhone 5 owners – even I am considering purchasing one.
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