Apple is sending out mixed messages over which models of iPad will receive the forthcoming iPadOS 17 update.
The company unveiled iPadOS 17 on Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference. The operating system includes several new features, including personalized lock screens, interactive widgets and the arrival of the Health app on iPad for the first time.
However, the company has confused matters with unclear messaging over which iPads will be compatible with the new software.
On the iPadOS 17 preview web page, Apple states that the following models will be compatible:
- iPad Pro (2nd generation and later)
- iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
- iPad (6th generation and later)
- iPad mini (5th generation and later)
On the face of it, that would rule out devices such as the first generation of the iPad Pro 11in, which was still the most up-to-date model of that size as recently as spring 2020.
However, it seems from Apple’s press release on iPadOS 17 that the cut-off is more nuanced than the graphics on its website would suggest.
The press release states that “new software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPad (6th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation and later), 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and 11-inch iPad Pro (1st generation and later)”.
This indicates that all generations of the 10.5in and 11in iPad Pro tablets will receive the update, contrary to the information on the iPadOS page.
Apple was invited to clarify the situation yesterday, but has yet to respond to a request for comment.
The confusion partly stems from the way Apple labels product releases. The 1st generation of the iPad Pro – launched in 2015 – only came in one size, 12.9in. It was later joined by 9.7in, 10.5in (both now discontinued) and 11in models.
The 10.5in was launched alongside the 2nd generation 12.9in iPad Pro in 2017, while the 11in version arrived a year later in 2018, alongside the 3rd generation of the 12.9in device. However, Apple still refers to the 2018 iPad Pro 11in as a “1st generation” device on its iPad models page, hence the confusion.
It would seem likely that Apple is only cutting off support for the 1st generation 9.7in and 12.9in iPad Pro at this time, but it’s far from clear.
Even if those older iPad Pros do get the update to iPadOS 17, they definitely won’t get all of the new features.
For example, a new videoconferencing feature that, say, fills the screens with heart graphics when you make the heart gesture with your hands, is only available on selected models. Apple says this feature will be restricted to “iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation and later), iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation and later), iPad (10th generation), iPad Air (4th generation and later), or iPad mini (6th generation) when using the front camera”.
Several other features are restricted to the more modern iPads which contain the company’s M1 or M2 processors, instead of the older A12 range of processors.
Apple would clearly benefit from having as many customers as possible running on the new M1 or M2 architecture, rather than continuing to support the older A12 processors, which have far less processing power.
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