When iOS 6 was released, I was surprised to find out that my first generation iPad device does not support the upgrade but the iPhone 3GS does - even though the 3GS hasn’t been sold since 2009. I’m not sure why Apple has decided to leave the roughly 84 million iPad 1 devices in circulation out in the cold yet continue to support the iPhone 3GS.
What does the lack of iOS 6 support mean for iPad 1 owners?
iOS 5.5 still offers fairly solid security so your iPad 1 is not in any immediate danger. True, you will lack the iOS 6 bells and whistles but 5.5 isn’t exactly a dinosaur. By the way, if you haven’t upgraded to iOS 5.5 there is no better time to do it than now.
Every iOS device running a version 4.3.4 of the operating system is susceptible to an SSL man-in-the-middle-attack, which is made possible by weak validation of certificates for SSL (secure sockets layer) network connections.
Without continued security upgrades, iPad 1 devices will become increasingly vulnerable to attack over time. Take the iOS 4.3.4 example I just cited. Think about what would happen to iPads if they were stuck at iOS 4.3.5 with no hope of upgrade. They would be forever be susceptible to the SSL man-in-the-middle-attack.
This is a situation all too common in the Android world where a large percentage of Android devices are orphaned. Don’t expect Apple to orphan iPhones to the same degree as Google has, but it pays to watch how Apple handles future upgrades.
Those of you who own an iPhone 3GS may be the next ones to be left behind by future generations of iOS.
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.