Earlier this summer, Apple introduced the forthcoming release of the next major update to iOS. Just yesterday, iOS 6 was released to the masses or at least those with an iPhone 3GS or greater. The yearly updates offer hundreds of new features. Not all features make it to older, legacy devices. As features become more advanced and require more powerful hardware, it’s simply not feasible to include them on old hardware. While it causes frustration of feeling left out, they are doing you a favor. Forcing features that require processing power would bring your iPhone to a crawl isn’t consumer friendly. Taking a look at the competitive landscape, you’d be surprised at just how good iPhone users have got it.

Support for older devices
The oldest supported device in iOS 6 is the iPhone 3GS, which went on sale on June 19, 2009. That leaves the iPhone 3G, launched on June 18th, 2008 without updates beyond iOS 4.2.1, which was released in November, 2010. When it comes to receiving the latest updates, how does the iPhone 3G fare against the competition? The T-Mobile G1 came out later that year, in October, 2008 running Android 1.0. It’s seen official updates to 1.1 and 1.5 (Cupcake). Anything past that required unofficial ROMs. Version 1.6 (Donut) was released in September of 2009, less than a year after the G1. The iPhone 3GS which is over 3 years old is still receiving the latest updates.

Things Must Have Gotten Better
The T-Mobile G1 was the first Android device and it was running Android 1.0. You can certainly make exceptions for Google needing to break support for a first generation product. There have been more egregious examples of this on Windows Phone. Look no further than the flagship Nokia Lumia 900 released in May, 2012. Forever locked to Windows Phone 7.8, while new Windows Phone 8 devices will roll off the production line this October. How many months is that?

Thank goodness for Google’s Nexus line. It’s the bread and butter of those who demand a stock Android experience that ensures timely updates to the latest and greatest Google has to offer. That is unless you have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, released in December of 2011. At some point, it will receive Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean”, which was first made available for the Nexus 7 in early July. No date has been announced from Samsung or Verizon. Dare I say that by the time Jelly Bean ships for the Galaxy Nexus, there very well might be a new Android update announced. I highlight this device because the Nexus line is supposed to be free of the delays that plague manufacturers. When the calendar hits October, it’ll be three months since Jelly Bean was made available. Can you imagine if your iPhone 4S didn’t receive iOS 6 until December? Even when devices are scheduled for updates, they are often on a rolling schedule that takes weeks. Yes, there are always leaked ROMs and ways to shoe-horn a new build onto your device, but that’s not exactly a consumer friendly experience.

Back to iOS
Yesterday at shortly before 1PM EST, iOS 6 was made available. Immediately. For all iPhones released after June, 2009. No rolling updates. No carrier delays. In fact, if you were stuck at work, you could download it over the air. It offers hundreds of improvements and those with supported devices will enjoy those features before the new iPhone 5 is released. Think about this for a second. Apple’s latest and greatest software is available on an iPhone released over three years ago. Apple isn’t holding iOS 6 hostage on the iPhone 5. You don’t have to buy new hardware to experience iOS 6. Sure it’ll run faster and there are a few features that require faster hardware found on the 4S and 5. Still, this is unheard of on other platforms. When it comes to timely software updates, Apple’s level of support and delivery cannot be beat.