It appears that iOS updates no longer run on the original iPhone. Apple eventually deprecates products from its iOS update cycle.

I wonder if there is a pattern to this. Has anyone worked this out and made a prediction about Apple deprecating support for old products.

My question is: When will the iPad 4th Gen stop getting iOS updates?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Tetsujin, Thecafremo, grg, nohillside Mar 29 '16 at 11:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Warning: conjecture ahead!

It's impossible to predict with certainty - but it helps to think about what is politically expedient for Apple, what is technically feasible (due to device specs), and by looking at past trends.

Importantly: Apple has no stated-policy, but iOS updates seem to always be available for at least 2 years after a product was discontinued (excepting the original iPad)

Product    Launched    Discontinued     Last iOS Update Date   RAM
iPad 1     2010-04     2011-03 (1yr)    2012-05 (iOS 5.1.1)     256
iPad 2     2011-03     2014-03 (3yrs)   Current                 512
iPad 3     2012-03     2012-10 (7mo)    Current                1024
iPad 4     2012-11     2014-10 (2yrs)   Current                1024
iPad A1    2013-11     Current          Current                1024
iPad A2    2014-10     Current          Current                2048

iPad 2 was sold from 2011 until March 2014 - a long time - cynically, because it represented an 'entry-level' value-proposition from Apple with what I believe was a good profit margin compared to the relatively far more expensive retina iPads - so it wasn't much of a surprise to see the iPad 2 out-last the iPad 3 in 2012 and almost the iPad 4 (which was sold until October 2014).

I think iOS 9 will be the last iOS update for the iPad 2 - look at that 512MB RAM figure, that was probably the reason the iPad 1 with its tiny 256MB RAM wasn't given the iOS 6 update. 1024MB RAM gives more breathing room - while the iPad 3 is older than the iPad 4, they are very similar internally (the major change in the iPad 4 was the Lightning connector) - so I expect them both to stop receiving iOS updates on the same date.

I think the iPad Air 2 is the new iPad 2 and will serve as Apple's new 'entry level' tablet so it will have a longer market lifespan and will probably be discontinued after it's at least 3 years old and receive updates for at least 2 years after then (though I'm surprised the iPad Air 1 is still in production given the iPad Pro 10" is now available).

My predictions:

Model     Discontinued   Last iOS Update
iPad 2    2014-03        iOS 9 (2016)
iPad 3    2012-10        iOS 10 (2017)
iPad 4    2014-10        iOS 10 (2017)
iPad A1   2016-10        iOS 11 (2018)
iPad A2   2017-10        iOS 12 (2019)

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