iOS 9.3.6 and iOS 10.3.4

I’ve never imagined opening up my electronic antique box again and have any device in it receive an OS update reminder, let alone one from Apple.

Despite this, obsolescence is the only thing here to stay.


Today, along with iOS 12.4, which is going to be the last iOS release that runs on my current iPod and my grandparents’ iPad Air, Apple released iOS 9.3.6 and iOS 10.3.4 to iPhones and iPads that have lost official support for three and two years, respectively.

No new features are added, just some security patches as well as a GPS time fix effective this November — Apple says that starting from then, some old iPhones and iPads will require this update to keep producing accurate GPS results due to the GPS time rollover issue that began affecting GPS-enabled products from other manufacturers on April 6, 2019.

I feel glad that there are enough people using old hardware for Apple to do this. Supplying obsolete hardware with security updates is what we should definitely see more of.

When my entire mobile devices collection consisted of a single 8Gb iPod touch and no home Wi-Fi, I imagined keeping it till the 32-Bit last second (03:14:07 UTC on 19 January 2038). Then iOS 4.3 whizzed past me, then the patch for OpenSSL heart-bleed, then the patch for apple two-factor authentication … Step by step, a wish to stay forever gets submerged in new and newer transience.

With the next iPhone on the horizon, and 12 years of consumable digital culture behind us, it really feels good to stop for a brief while and recollect what joy and connection meant just a few moments ago, when life was exponentially less hurried and attention-deprived.

That is also why I keep an electronic antique box.

I realize every good science communication blog should have something on how the GPS works, so that might be coming soon. Not now, though … There’s a paper to write, and this post is more of an aside note.

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