Apple isn’t slated to release iOS 8 until much later this year, but the announcement is expected in a matter of months at the annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). With iOS 7 still under active development — iOS 7.1 is expected to hit soon, bringing various UI tweaks and bug fixes — most haven’t begun to think about iOS 8. However, there is one question worth considering, particularly when buying new devices: what devices will be supported?
iOS 8 is still far off, and the features are not yet known. However, most feel safe in making a few assumptions:
- UI tweaks will be small, and mostly focusing on polishing up what was debuted in iOS 7.
- Stability, performance, and speed will be a major focus, especially with the hardware Apple now has in devices like the iPhone 5S and iPad Air.
Since stability and performance will be a focus, what devices will be supported?
The iPhone 4 is still available for sale in countries like India and China. Under iOS 7, various animations and blur effects — both of which require a fast GPU — are disabled. Performance isn’t amazing, but it does work.
The iPhone 4 is the last A4 device still being sold. The A4 was fast for its era, but that was back when the only competition was Samsung’s Hummingbird that shipped alongside the original Galaxy S. It’s astounding that the iPhone 4 is still being updated, even as every other device from 2010 has long since been considered dead.
With that in mind, I do not expect the iPhone 4 to get iOS 8. It might, just because it is being sold, but I imagine that the A4 in the device is on its last legs. Removing iPhone 4 support will allow additional man-hours to be put into optimizing the OS for newer devices. And hey — four and half years of support is unheard of in the phone world.
The last of the non-retina full-size iPads, the iPad 2 is also still for sale. Considering that it has an A5 chip under the hood with a relatively measly 1024×768 pixels to power, I expect it to get iOS 8. Also: the iPad 2 is popular among educational venues, and I don’t expect that Apple will be quick to disenfranchise those establishments by dumping support for the iPad 2.
The original iPad mini is also based on the iPad 2 hardware. As such, I also fully expect it to be updated to iOS 8. As with any older device, don’t expect all of the features, but the device is likely to work well under the new OS thanks to its non-retina resolution and relatively-fast A5 processor.
iPod touch 5G
2013 came and went, and Apple didn’t offer an update to the iPod touch line. The current model features a design similar in some ways to the iPhone 5/5S, but internals that are identical to an iPhone 4S. Therefore, the iPod touch 5G is going to be updated to iOS 8. Again, not all features will be present, but the OS should run well and make for a nice update.