By Chand Bellur
June 8, 2020 at 2:27 p.m. PT
- Most new, major iOS releases aren’t supported on older devices, as their hardware becomes obsolete.
- Rumors suggest that iOS 14 will run on all devices that support iOS 13.
- The move may lower iPhone sales; however, it may also improve brand loyalty and increase service revenues during difficult times.
iOS 14 to Support Older Devices Running iOS 13
Times are tough for many people around the world. With high unemployment and consumer confidence at a 9-year low, most people are concerned with feeding themselves and their families. Purchasing the next iPhone isn’t a top priority for most consumers.
Apple isn’t completely tone-deaf. The Cupertino tech company recently launched an updated iPhone SE, starting at the low price of $399. Unfortunately, for many, $399 is a lot of money right now. If they can hang on to the iPhone they have, it would free up money for other, more critical purchases.
Pre-release versions of iOS 14 indicate that Apple’s newest mobile operating system will run on every iOS 13 compatible device. The following devices are compatible with iOS 13 and 14:
- iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS, XS Max and XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
- iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
- iPod Touch seventh generation
Apple Ends Support for Devices with Obsolete Hardware
Apple supports devices far longer than any other tech company. Typically, a new iPhone is eligible for iOS updates for four to five years. Other smartphones stop receiving updates after eighteen months. Users must either buy a new device or accept using an old operating system.
Even after an iPhone stops receiving major iOS updates, Apple still patches security flaws and other issues. They’ve released a few updates to iOS 12, to support older devices, months after iOS 13 debuted.
Although Apple allows customers to hold onto an iPhone longer than any other smartphone, support has to end sometime. Software development is expensive, and supporting older devices adds to this expense. Furthermore, at some point, new iOS features no longer work with old hardware. For example, new camera software can’t change the camera hardware in an iPhone 6 Plus. Instead, it bloats the operating system with legacy code.
Apple Will Still Profit from Services
There’s a bit of genius in Apple’s obsolescence management. Older devices can subscribe to Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, or other Apple services. They still generate revenues for the company. Supporting older devices isn’t a sucker move; it’s a winning strategy.
Apple has doubled down on services, as iPhone sales taper off. The company now generates more than enough in service revenues to offset declining iPhone sales. This, combined with massive stock buybacks, has propelled Apple stock to astronomical heights during one of the world’s most challenging times.