The lifecycle of an iPad

How long should an iPad’s useful life be? With a Mac computer I normally bank on something like 5 years tops. With an iPhone, maybe 3.

iPads (and tablets in general) are starting to replace desktop computers for many day to day tasks, so I’d expect them to be on a par with them in terms of lifecycle.

Not so with my iPad 1.

Having been an ‘early adopter’ (I bought one of the first ever tablet computers, even though that sounds mundane these day) I’ve really enjoyed using it over the nearly three years I’ve had it. It’s freed me up from laptop drudgery and changed the way I (and my family) spend leisure time.

However, it’s becoming obvious my iPad lifecycle is in it’s twilight.

Firstly, it never made it to iOS 6. Damn. Big blow there. Then, a whole new generation of apps and app versions started to trickle into the market which won’t even install on the iPad.

The kids noticed it first. “Dad, what does this mean?: Update Needed. This app requires iOS 6″. Then it started showing other signs of a slow down. It struggles more each day with modern apps such as Gmail (takes _ages_ to load mail) and AirPlay just doesn’t function on some on demand TV apps. But those are just two examples.

Now I know what some of you’re going to say – “What do you expect?”. Actually, I don’t expect. This post isn’t a rant, it’s an observation. I know the iPad 1 was the first of it’s kind. It was groundbreaking. It wasn’t built for longevity. It was probably built to start an era, and test the technology in the wild.

I had an iPhone 3G and although that wasn’t the first of its kind it still didn’t last anywhere as long as the iPhone 4 has (still going strong, despite being almost as old as the iPad 1).

My point here is merely a little sadness and slight disappointment. Nothing more. The necessary price of iOS progress (for Apple’s market competitiveness) has indirectly punished those who helped make the iPad an initial success – those of us who bought the first model.

What am I going to do? Most likely I’ll wait a little longer and see what Apple do with the current iPad line up this spring and consider upgrading.

The old iPad? Well there are two choices. a) Let the kids use it until it works no more (this is what I’ve done with the iPhone 3G, minus the SIM card) or sell it on eBay (basic research shows you could get more than £100 for it at the moment).