Apple's legacy device support

Two of the most read posts on this site were, "Why is my 2012 iPad mini so slow running iOS 8?" and another one on my iOS 8 upgrade woes. This was no coincidence as Apple has been kind of callous the last few years on supporting even a couple of year old hardware. While I am someone who is always on the latest and the greatest iPhone and have not faced this issue on my iPhone much, my iPad mini on the other hand has not been that lucky and I have heard from a boat load of my friends and relatives how widespread this problem is with iOS. Any new major update to iOS was to be installed with extreme caution as it almost made some of the older devices almost unusably sluggish. This has created a really bad reputation for Apple which likes to have all its users on the latest version of its operating systems and hence making them totally free of cost. 

While iOS 8's adoption rate is eons better than Android, it still lags behind iOS 7's adoption rate (Source: Apple.com)

While iOS 8's adoption rate is eons better than Android, it still lags behind iOS 7's adoption rate (Source: Apple.com)

Apple, yesterday at its WWDC keynote as usual touted some impressive numbers of adoption of its newest iOS, iOS 8 and compared it to Android, but while that is true, it is not the complete picture. iOS 8, while sitting impressively with 83% adoption rate in less than a year, still is lagging behind iOS 7. For reference iOS 7 reached 60% in a week, while it reached 90% in around 10 months (via BGR). iOS 8 on the other hand took almost three months to reach 60% adoption rate and after almost 10 months is still only at 83%. Also more than these numbers, Apple's iOS upgrades are at alarmingly low lever of public approval as all I can hear from non-techie people around me are how you should stay away from iOS upgrades. This is terrible PR for Apple. 

So when I first heard from (of course) Mark Gurman from 9to5mac on how iOS 9 will actually make legacy (but still officially supported) iOS devices much faster, than they run now on iOS 8 it was welcome news indeed. Now BGR confirms the same. Also as John Gruber mentioned on a recent talk show episode, this might also signal a wider change in Apple's policy of supporting older hardware as Steve Jobs' Apple was notoriously known for abandoning legacy hardware that it deemed to old to be impressive. Current Apple at its scale (almost 1 billion iOS devices sold so far - via AppleInsider) cannot afford to abandon its customers with two or three or four year old hardware and it certainly seems to be learning this lesson. 

Apple made sure that iOS 9 will be able to run on all the devices that currently support iOS 8... That means that iPhones as old as the iPhone 4S and iPads as old as the iPad 2 will be able to run iOS 9. iOS 9 should not only be faster and more responsive than iOS 8, but also take up a lot less storage space, meaning that upgrades should be even smoother for older devices.
— BGR