Planned Obsolescence. Is Apple forcing original iPad owners to upgrade?

Now, this is something that you won't see covered in the mainstream Apple-loving tech blogs. I recently upgraded my original iPad to IOS 5.0.1, and I must say that it was the worst decision I could possibly have made for my iPad. Some of my apps suddenly started freezing up and crashing, the UI is now noticeably laggy and worst of all, some apps will not even start up any more. On more that three occassions recently, my four year-old son was drawn to tears because his favorite superhero game (Superman HD) just kept on crashing mid-mission. Now, that is a devastating thing for a four-year old. On a few occassions I have seen him slapping the screen in frustration, as if that would cause things to start up again. Yesterday, while listening to TheVerge podcast, my interest was piqued when Josh Topolsky mentioned casually that he was experiencing similar issues after he upgraded his iPad. I was dissapointed however that no one on the panel seemed interested in delving into the issue for more than 5 seconds, and instead proceeded on a lovefest for the new iPad. Today, I did some digging around and found that this issue is well know on Apple's own blog, and so far Apple is ignoring the issue. Here are some samples:

"I am having the same problem with my iPad 1 too. Extremely slow after the update: typing takes ages now; safari keeps crashing (even when I was typing this); iBook is very slow with PDF taking ages to load; I can't even play with angry birds anymore."

"I have had my iPad 1 now since first release andir has been faultless and wonderful, and overnight it has turned into a dog"

"it just doesn't work... I used Pages and Keynote and Garageband extensively in ios4, with few problems. now, in ios5 they take quite literally several minutes to load, if they don't crash (usually a 50% chance)."

"i have a menacing feeling that my iPad1 will be considered an ancient artifact (a term one Apple associate used to describe my 3-year old iMac once) within the next year"

"Terrible Performance now after upgrading my Ipad1 to iOS5.
Thats not acceptable to break the harware with an OS update without
the ability to downgrade it again."

"My iPad 1 is almost unusable after the update.  An apple "feature" to encourage us to upgrade to the iPad 2???"

This raises quite a few questions in my mind:

1- Why does Apple not offer the ability to downgrade? With the new hardware features of the new iPad, it is obvious that IOS is only going to get more and more bloated with features and codes to take advantage of new services and features. However, unlike Google, which offers various flavours Android for different devices, to the point of being accused of fragmenting the platform, Apple takes the other extreme, one size fits all, to the detriment of the older, lesser powerful devices. Thus, many Iphone 3 owners suddenly found their relatively recently purchased iPhone condemned to obsolescence, with no support and very limited app compatibility after the iPhone 4-series launched. Unfortunately, the original iPad seems to heading that route.

2- Is Apple forcing iPad owners to upgrade through planned obsolescence? Heck, the original iPad was released, a mere 23 months ago, with 3g model owners still locked into their 3-year contracts with the carriers. Maybe, Apple is conveniently turning a blind eye to the numerous complaints, just because it can. The issue has not gained enough prominence in mainstream media, so why be bothered? It certainly doesn't hurt their bottomline to ignore the issue. Which leads me to my third question.

3- Why is the press not covering this? The short answer is Apple has a devoted fanbase, even in the tech blogosphere, and not many are willing to go against the trend and criticise Apple for this blatant scheme. Also, writing an article about the next shiny product is way more appealing than griping over 2-year old tech. Every one wants to be seen as trendy, in the know, current.

Well, that's why the tech world needs more bloggers like me, to do what the mainstream isn't willing to do. If you like this post, or hate it for that matter, please leave a comment or tweet this.


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