With each new version of iOS, a previous iOS devices is rendered obsolete and cast out of the Apple OS update loop. With iOS 6 we assumed the lowly iPhone 3GS would finally meet its maker. But alas, Apple surprised us yesterday when they announced iOS 6 would support the nearly 3-year old 3GS (and oddly enough, not the ~1 year new original iPad). That said, older, still supported hardware usually receives a neutered copy of the latest version of iOS. When background wallpapers came around with the iPhone 4, the 3GS was left out. Also, HDR functionality in the Camera app was removed for older harder. iOS 6 is no different.
The iPhone 3GS will get iOS 6, but in a much more limited form. According to Pocket-Lint, several key features of iOS 6 won’t be available to the aging hardware:
- Apple Maps Flyover
- Turn-by-turn Navigation
- VIP Lists & Flagged/VIP Mailboxes
- Offline Reading
In years past, Apple has rationalized their dropping support of seemingly not-so-old hardware as not accepting a half-baked experience simply for backwards compatibility’s sake. In this case, we’d lean towards iOS 6 on the 3GS as awfully close to “for backwards compatibility’s sake”. So much of the big, core features of iOS 6 are not available. Why even bother?