At this point, Apple is in an unenviable position: a handset that is performing undesirably with an operating system that the company said would be at least partially supported. Apple could recommend that users downgrade back to iOS 3.1.3, or tell them that older hardware will always have issues running the latest and greatest software; neither of these would be very popular with the 3G-using public. There is also a third option—put even more time and effort into optimizing the OS for a phone that is now two generations old.
(And this spoof commercial is great.)
It’s a bigger problem than geeks like us might realize because Apple still sells this hardware. Their internals may be two “generations” old, but they’re still sold as new, current products.
- The iPhone 3G was still sold until last month.
- The $199 iPod Touch, with the same slow CPU and tiny RAM, is still being sold, presumably until the next iPod Touch update this fall. (Only the $299 and $399 models have the 3GS-class hardware.)
And as soon as you plug either device into iTunes, if it doesn’t already have iOS 4, it prompts you to update to this OS that dramatically reduces performance of already-slow hardware… when it’s still brand new to many of its owners.
It’s not a problem of supporting “old” devices. iOS needs to support a significant portion of new-device sales, ideally until 2012 (giving them two years of updates), with an OS that’s already too sluggish for them today.