Apple has released iOS 9.3.3, a bug fix and performance update for its tablets and phones. Users of some popular but aging iPad models should realize that this will be the last system software upgrade their device will get.
Apple announced iOS 10 earlier this summer, and at the same time revealed that not every model that runs iOS 9 will be able to make the move to this upcoming version. Specifically, the iPad 2, iPad 3, and original iPad mini didn’t make the cut. Tablets from this company hold their value, and a study from Localytics this spring revealed that, at that time, those three older models make up 41% of devices currently in use.
It is an open question about users of these devices will react. When asked why they are still using an iPad model that went off the market years ago, a typical answer is something like “It still does what I need it to do.” It’s not yet known how an inability to upgrade to iOS 10, iOS 11, etc. will affect this. It’s possible it might lead to a surge in sales of newer Apple tablets, which have been anemic for several years as people have held onto their older devices.
Users of the the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 9.7-inch iPad Pro certainly will be getting system software upgrades for many years, and the iPad Air 2, the original Air, and the iPad 4 will be able to run iOS 10. So will iPad mini 4 and all its predecessors except the first generation one.
More About iOS 9.3.3
Users of every iPad except the original one from 2010 can upgrade to iOS 9.3.3. Apple is vague about the benefits however, just saying it offers “bug fixes and improves the security of your [..] iPad”. Comments from people who have already installed this new version say that it has noticeably improved the performance of their phone or tablet.
UPDATE: Reports are coming in that some iPad users who have installed iOS 9.3.3 no longer have access to iBooks. This issue did not affect our test device, but it raises the possibility that there will be one more iOS version released to fix this bug.
This upgrade can be installed by going to Settings > General > Software Update, or by connecting the iPad to a PC running iTunes. It is available free.