Update: According to Apple’s official press release, the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad mini, and fifth-generation iPod Touch will not run iOS 10.
SAN FRANCISCO—Apple has just announced the hardware support list for iOS 10, the next version of its smartphone and tablet OS that will be released in beta form soon and in final form later this year. After a surprising stay of execution last year, it looks like Apple is set to stop providing updates for a fair handful of older devices: the iPhone 4S, the iPad 2, the original iPad Mini, the 3rd-generation iPad, and the fifth-generation iPod Touch.
Here’s the full list of supported hardware:
iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, and SE.
iPad 4, iPad Air, and iPad Air 2.
Both iPad Pros.
iPad Mini 2 and newer.
Sixth-generation iPod Touch.
All the dropped devices have something in common: some version of the Apple A5 SoC. The A5 has been actively supported for longer than any of Apple’s other chips to date; it was originally included in the iPad 2 in March of 2011, the last hardware launched by Steve Jobs before he passed away in October of that year. It later made its way into the iPhone 4S, and it was added to the fifth-generation iPod Touch and the iPad Mini in 2012. The first Retina iPad used a faster A5X variant, and the the third-generation Apple TV used a version with a single CPU core (Apple dropped support for that Apple TV box last year).
Recent iOS updates have made the A5 feel its age and there was a substantial number of features in iOS 7, 8, and 9 that these gadgets couldn’t handle, but that’s an unheard of level of support in the fast-moving mobile industry no matter what platform you’re talking about.
The Apple A6 family in the iPhone 5 and 5C and iPad 4 are the last supported 32-bit SoCs in the iPhone and iPad ecosystem. Presumably iOS 11 will be the first to be all-64-bit across all hardware and devices.