iPhone 3GS

iPhone 3GS in 2009 running iOS 4 | Image courtesy of Apple

Before and immediately after the release of iOS 6 it seemed like everybody was lamenting on the reasons as to why Apple had decided to continue supporting the iPhone 3GS with iOS 6. That is to say that Apple had made a conscious decision to support a device that does not have a retina display and was released in June 2009 a full three years before iOS 6 arrived on the scene.

Many believed up until this week that Apple had decided to keep iOS 6 support on the 3GS because it would continue manufacturing that device and keep it at the ultra low end of the iPhone pricing spectrum. A view that I also shared.

However we can see from the evidence this week that the iPhone 3GS is gone, Apple has halted manufacturing, halted shipments and the first iPhone with a retina display the iPhone 4 will replace it at the bottom end. That alone is an amazing sentence, a device that only two years ago was absolutely ground breaking is now available for free or very low cost to consumers.

So the question remains: why did Apple go to, what we assume was, a fair amount of effort to support an ageing device no longer being sold?

The answer is: because Apple could, because it wanted to and because it is to the benefit of existing customers.

As to why the original iPad is excluded from the mix remains a mystery.