Apple’s iOS 9 Could Herald A New Future For Older iPhones And iPads

Apple’s next-generation operating systems, for both mobile devices and PCs, are reportedly going to have a strong focus on zapping bugs and improving stability, reports 9to5Mac. We’d heard this about iOS before, but it appears this will be a smoothing year (but with new features, too). The more interesting news, however, is that Apple is also said to be working on improving iOS support for older devices – including ones that aren’t even necessarily on sale anymore.

The report from 9to5Mac says that iOS 9 will feature a new optimization method to better support older hardware, including the iPad mini and the iPhone 4S. Apple typically extends iOS compatibility to devices a few generations prior to the current shipping model, but in the past it has not done a terrific job of making OS updates all that friendly for those older iPhones and iPads. Typical user complaints include reports of significant performance slowdowns post-update. Apple also typically disables the most demanding features of new software updates, which can also detract from the overall user experience.

This time around, Apple is focusing specifically on performance efficiency for older gadgets running iOS 9, with an effective core app and then features added as they go, provided they don’t impeded the quality of the overall OS user experience.

For Apple to be focusing on this kind of optimization signals a strong desire to support its ecosystem, and to reward long-time users. Older devices often remain in use through secondary market and in emerging markets long after Apple has officially ended support. It does mean that developers will have to focus on more varied hardware targets in terms of screen size support and capabilities – but it could also help Apple expand the pool of potential customers for its rumored new streaming service.

We’ll find out for sure on June 8 when Apple is mostly likely going to reveal the first official details about iOS 9 at its WWDC keynote.