Apple’s A4 Chip Could Be The Minimum Requirement For Running iOS 5

Apple’s A4 Chip Could Be The Minimum Requirement For Running iOS 5

With iOS 4, Apple left the original iPhone and iPod Touch behind in the dust of iOS 3.1.3, and even the iPhone 3G could not avail itself of some of iOS 4’s most notable features, like multitasking. As long as you at least had an iPhone 3GS, though, you’d be fine.

Given how many problems the iPhone 3G hardware had running iOS 4.0, it should come as no surprise that Apple is hoping to consign that hardware to the dustbin when they debut iOS 5 at WWDC next month. What may be more surprising is that the iPhone 3GS will go into the dustbin too.

The rumor comes from Eldar Murtazin, a Russian analyst and editor-in-chief of Mobile Review, who writes in an unsubstantiated tweet.

Just one comment. Apple iPhone 3Gs wont be upgradable to iOS 5.x. iPhone 4 will.

Many blogs are reporting this story as Apple leaving the iPhone 3GS behind with iOS 5, but Murtazin’s actual wording is ambiguous: he seems to be pluralizing iPhone 3G in one sentence, but then in the next, he lists the iPhone 4 as a minimum spec for iOS 4.

I imagine the truth will be similar to iOS 4: the iPhone 3G won’t be supported, and the 3GS will only support some new features of the OS. What do you think, though? Will an A4 CPU be the minimum spec for iOS 5?

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  • B623748

    Boy AT&T are going to have many many more un-happy customers. Locking customers into a 2 year contract for the 49.00 iPhone 3GS

  • Damien D’Amore

    thing is customers should not buy a phone that already is a year old.  most are unaware like there phone wll be supported forever and thats not the case. android is the same way so is wm. 

  • Bill Olson

    As someone who still has a 3G iPhone running 4.2.1, and wishing I could go back a couple versions but because of security patches I can’t (meaning I wouldn’t have the security patches for old versions…) 

    I can only say that my iPhone is really slow and I wouldn’t expect any different based on how many generations (I consider the 3GS to be a separate generation.)

    Based on that, Apple has probably been chomping at the bit to add core things to iOS that they couldn’t with the 3G or 3GS.

  • gareth edwards

    I don’t find this hard to believe or a bad thing in general, just expected. The processor overheads on mobile phones are much tighter and even with better, more efficient code, the phones physical limitations become very real within a few iterations when combined with developers (and consumers) wishes to get more and more from them.  I mean, look at all the 3D stuff that people are pumping out at the mo. These smartphones are doing some amazing stuff, stuff that perhaps 5 years ago people would have found hard to believe a mobile device could be capable of but the trade off in this frenetic development is older kit begins to eat dust quicker.

    That said, I there’s always going to be a part of the market that hangs onto their hardware longer than the 2 year contract cycle (me included on an 8gb iPhone 3G) and whilst I’lll mis not having cutting edge capability, the phone I got nearly 3 years ago is still a good phone that does a lot.

    I think, speaking as an iPhone owner, I have felt pretty comfortable with my older phone even when the 3GS and 4 were released though, as there are only so many new Apple phones released. I would be more aggrieved if I had plonked down a slab of cash on Android only to have 30+ newer and better phones come out in a 12 month window.

  • Metallikat25

    I have an iPhone 3G that I purchased 3 months before the release of iPhone 4 and iOS 4.  At the time, I was an Apple noob and didnt realize the differences between the 3G and 3GS except for $100.  I was prompted to update to iOS 4 when it was released and when I did, I bricked my phone after only enjoying it for 3 months.  A part of me wants to warn these new $50 3GS owners not to take the risk in updating to iOS 5 if prompted, but a bigger part of me says “screw you, find out the hard way,” especially after us 3G owners were bullied by self-righteous 3GS owners by saying “buy newer hardware” or “what do you expect from a two year old phone?”  I was duped and since then have become an avid follower of all things tech and Apple and have downgraded my 3G back to iOS 3.1.3.  

  • Alistair H.

    Oh no Apple, you forced me to switch from 3G to 3GS to have new features, although there were just few of them…i won’t do the same again. No iOS5 on 3GS and I’m gonna switch to Windows Phone 7. They introduce many new features for ALL of their phones, without artificial limitations just to exert buying a new phone.

  • jaymbee

    Anyone would think the story’s headline was ‘iPhone 3G and 3GS to spontaneously combust upon iOS5′s release’

  • brownlee

    What? No they didn’t. Many of the first WP7 phones still don’t have cut-and-paste.

  • AriRomano

    no 3GS? YOu can still buy it! this means, that you’ll be able to buy an apple phone at one day, and won’t be able to install the update that’s being released the next day x.X

  • prof_peabody

    This is to be expected.  Apple has a very clear policy in regards what upgrades your phone will get.  

    It’s the OS it ships with, plus all the point upgrades, plus the next version number, plus all the upgrades.  That means they can leave the 3G and the 3Gs completely out of it this time if they wish, since this is what the 3Gs people would have been told when they bought it (if they asked).  

    I would assume that the 3Gs would not be officially supported, but that it will still work (slowly). That’s what usually happens.   

  • Jesse Shapiro

    Well, the thing is that the A4 isn’t that much more powerful than the Cortex A8 paired with the PowerVR SGX535. I see it being relevant for another year- missing out on things like video recording/editing, possibly, but not losing any core OS features.

  • CharliK

    if the 3g and 3gs can’t run the software without risk of freezing, crashing or with some features hobbled then it really serves no one. And yes the update should be blocked on those phones. Sorry to the users that don’t want new hardware but if you are going to end up with a poor experience it really does you no good

    and Apple isn’t obliged to support old hardware with the phones anymore than old computers. Get over it. 

  • Tycoon_sale

    But who buys the 3Gs when the iphone 4 is on sale right next to it.

  • huyett

    How could you release a software update that locks out people who are still on an 2-year contract with the 3GS from release date. 

    As far as I’m concerned as a consumer, you can’t make my phone obsolete until you give me an option for a new phone (No one is going to buy an iPhone 4 at this point).  With no phone coming out this July, you’d better not leave me out in the rain with iOS5 too.

  • Andres

    Well, maybe: Because the A5 does feel radically faster than the A4. Don’t even mention the non-Apple one found in the 3G-Speed.

    However, the 3G-Speed is not *that* much slower than the A4. (where by *that* I mean like the difference there is between the A5 and the A4).

  • Andres

    I have a 16GB 3G and as a heavy user that I am I do find the speed of the device, the lack of video recording capability, and the 2MP camera VERY constraining (in that order).

    If I had upgraded to the 3GS, I probably would still be holding on to my iPhone. However, since I have not upgraded yet, I think I might wait for the A5 version of the iPhone, since it’s so much faster than the A4.

  • Andres

    I believe the 3GS is in many ways better than 49$ Android phones. And given that people like me are still able to hold to a 3G (not S) and find it amazing, it’s not hard to see that new 3G-S owners could hold to their devices for a while. Still, many people will be vocally unhappy. I just wanted to express the other perspective.

  • Andres

    Man, I have a 3G, and have wanted a 3GS since It launched, mainly because of the speed. If I had an iPhone 3Gs, I could hold to it for years to come. I just need more speed, and a better camera than on my 3G. And that’d keep me satisfied for at least a couple of years more.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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