Did Steve Jobs just confirm no more updates for iPhone 2G?

According to yet another claim of Steve Jobs replying to a customer email, Apple will no longer be offering updates to the original 2007 iPhone 2G.

The question:

Is Apple supporting/updating the iPhone 2G in the Future?

Cheers Niko

Steve Jobs' answer:

“Sorry, no.

Sent from my iPhone”

Apple's subscription accounting method for iPhone was said to allow for 2 years of free updates, including iPhone 2.0 in 2008 and iPhone 3.0 in 2009. Since that period was over, we were left to wonder if Apple would charge for iPhone OS 4 in 2010 or just not provide it at all. If this email exchange is accurate, we have our answer.

What say you?

[Macstories via TechCrunch]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 36 comments. Add yours.

Gregz0r says:

To be expected, really. It's like having a Google G1, and not expecting Android 2.x to be available for it officially.

Lalartu says:

Makes sense to me. The hardware of the 2G can't fully support 3.0 as it is. 4.0 would make it run like a snail. Hell, my 3G is painfully slow compared to my 3GS.

Juice says:

That sucks. I'm still using a 2G iPhone with no problems. But yes Edge is slow it works perfect for what I need.

websyndicate says:

@Juice well it was bound to happend everntually. The iphone 3GS is so much faster.

msm0511 says:

Honestly, I almost didn't expect it for the 3G either. At some point devices shouldn't be updated. It's all about the experience with Apple. If the hardware can't support the software for a smooth experience... why bother?

PalleRaa says:

I dont see a problem with them not updating 2G anymore. I mean, it is a 3 year old phone, bought for way less features than it haves today. I can't really see how people can complain about that. Also, I guess I would prefer to have a "fully secure-updated" 2G with OS 3.0 that runs well. Rather than having a 2G with 4.0 that runs painfully slow. It is not like it stops working the day 4.0 i released.

Rob says:

The fact is if you've had a 2g for the last 3 years, AT&T will practically give you a new iPhone.

Ben Gillam says:

as an ex windows mobile user the very fact that apple has released new OS's 2 years in a row for the 2g is great, my htc wizard was stuck with v5 officially (thank got for xda develpers forums!)
as it is iphone 2g users in the uk at least if not most of the world should be out of contract or nearing anyway so would probably already have upgraded to the 3gs or will be upgrading to the G4 this june.
My o2 contract is up this june, just in time for the G4 just debating wether to stay with o2 or go voda (wouldnt touch orange with a barge pole)

firesign3000 says:

If you have a 2G iPhone and you're happy with it then it's no big deal, at least until new apps won't run on it anymore. In cell phone terms, the iPhone 2g is "ancient". The 3g will barely be able to run 4.0 if current performance is any indication (and I currently have a 3G). I'll be replacing it with the next gen iPhone this summer. Looking forward to see what Apple has to offer for it. Remember, the OS 4 announcement was only a tiny piece of what's likely to come. As any company would, Apple will not reveal the full feature set of the new software or hardware until WWDC. You wouldn't want to tip off the competition.

David says:

I don't think it's unreasonable to not update the original iPhones at this point, and as has been said above, you can upgrade cheaply if you are out of contract.
Thing is, the question to Jobs asked about "support" and he may have taken that to be a question about warranty support.

Christopher Cox says:

All companies stop supporting older products eventually. It makes no sense to devote resources for making sure new software is backward compatible with ancient hardware. Windows 2000 is out for example, and so is XP. If you want updates your only path is Windows 7.

Dragonfly says:

Its about time, they had to break legacy support at some point.

The Reptile says:

We're not dealing with PC's which are more or less at a fairly stable, steady state. Handsets are evolving far faster in terms of processing power at power consumption levels that are in line with the previous generation and more memory at a cost level of the previous generation. Then there are the networks that are changing around us too. The original iPhone was on Edge but we're on the verge of going to LTE next year (at least in some places). I simply can't see the need to keep updating handsets that are over 2 years old with the latest in software that is deigned for faster processing, more memory and current networks.

UntidyGuy says:

"iPhone 2G, you are dead to me." - Steve

Franz says:

but the 2G iPhone is almost the same hardware as the 3G ??!!
besides 3G of course and other minor changes. But all the main CPU etc are the same.
so why not offering a OS4 update with only some features.
Apple is also reducing the amount of iPhones in the market. many apps will only run with OS4.

machat says:

Well jailbrek it. You'll get wallpapers, multitasking, ...
And well at least two years after the last time Apple sold the iPhone 2G it's kind of OK to shut down support. Most other mobile phone companies ditch their support earlier. But the argument of "killing legacy" isn't quite true. The 3G from an OS-perspective is very simliar to the 2G: 128 MB RAM, same CPU, ... The differences are "no camera and no GPS", but heck that's true for the newest iPod touches and the iPads as well. The reason for "no multitasking" is technical: 128 MB RAM. OK with that. But a technical reason for stopping the support of the 2G is simply not there.

JK says:

There might not be a technical reason to stop supporting the 2G as the processor and RAM are identical to the 3G, but how long do you expect a company to support a legacy device?
This summer is year 3 for the 2G, thats more than most other manufacturers support their handsets with upgrades. In fact by now the carrier would have End of Life the device and stopped selling it/supporting it totally.
2G users should be thankful they were supported this long by Apple and they did more to support an older phone than most manufacturers do.

Brian says:

I hope Apple does not support 2G at all. People need to understand holding on to legacy support holds back progress. Developers are going to write their apps to work well on as many devices as they possibly can. If Apple is still supporting old and slow devices, there will still be a lot of them in circulation and developers will not make choices to push the limits with their apps because then the app would not run smoothly on the old and slow devices. If Apple continues to provide updates for old crappy hardware forever, people will keep using them. Take a look at PC history. Look at all of the terrible parts of Windows that have hung around and caused problems because people didn't want to lose their legacy DOS support. To a lesser degree, look how slow the graphics quality has improved in games due to developers wanting their games to work on as many systems as possible.
I understand there's a fine line between forcing constant hardware upgrades and continuing to support old "worthless" hardware. I don't want to buy a new phone every 6 months, but I also don't want innovation to be slowed down just because people are too cheap to upgrade their three year old phone. If you don't want to upgrade your phone every year or two, buy a RAZR.

chris says:

@Franz. Lol they're limiting themselves? Lol gotta love dumb comments. Thanks for the morning laugh.

jonar1us says:


melb_guy says:

We all know how this was going to pan out. When you buy the latest iPhone...
1st year you have it: Latest, greatest, most up to date, warranty in place, everything is sweet
2nd year: Not so great now but still ok, still up to date and usable, no warranty in place (unless you get applecare)
3rd year: Really lagging behind now. Still up to date with limited new features, no warranty whatsoever
4th year: Phone completely obsolete, no more updates, almost worthless. If you don't have a new phone by now, you're missing out big time!
I knew ever since the iPhone 3GS came out that this is the way Apple was going to do this with the iPhone OS. I think fully supporting the latest 2 models and partially supporting the third latest model is a good way to go. Most people would have upgraded their phones after 2 years anyway. I know I will when I can finally say goodbye to my iPhone 3G and say hello to the 4th Gen iPhone this July!

BeyondtheTech says:

@Rob: Of course, AT&T would be willing to give you a new iPhone. They want to lock you in on another two-year contract, and for those who don't realize, the original iPhone 2G is the only one in the series that they don't officially impose a data plan for. Even if you're on a $20 data plan, you're now going to go to a $30 data plan.
If you recall, we all bought the iPhone 2G at a non-subsidized price. When the 3G version came out at a more reasonable $199 price, they enforced that data plan, but the people who gave their 2Gs to kids or as hand-me-downs could actually get the data turned off.
I've got three kids, all with hand-me-down iPhone 2Gs and AT&T SIM cards that are all month-to-month on a family plan. $10 a month with the easiest phone anyone could use, it's a no-brainer. Before I even knew about AT&T allowing to shut off the data plan for them, I jailbroke and hacktivated them, and locked it down even more than Apple does - I paid for iBlacklist to lock out unwanted calls, and hid all data-related icons. I don't need to spend another $90 a month for data plans they'll never use.
I've emailed Jobs and Apple about if they'll ever get a "Wi-Fi only iPhone" but never got a response yet.

Thom says:

@chris no where in his post did he use the words 'they are limiting themselves.' Apple is indeed ending life on their hardware 1 year earlier than they do for all their other consumer products. iMac, iPod, etc all can be purchased with 3 years of support. They sold the iPhone 2g until July 2008 when it was replaced with the 3g. Apple is ending life early on this product by their standards. Why are we comparing them to Microsoft, Motorola and Nokia in the phone space? Because it suits your arguement in this one instance. Go back to reading roughlydrafted fanboy. I get my kicks out of your dumb comments there.

antonsoze says:

The fact that 2Gs are still working 3 years after introduction just speaks volumes of Apple quality. I've worked in Exchange hosting business for years and the life-line of a typical smart phone is 1 year...if you are lucky. Every Blackberry I've ever seen is reduced to multiple keyboard parts, etc. after 1 year of use...in general the same goes for every other smart phone device...except for the iPhones which hold up remarkably well. iPhone users who are aggressive using eBay will get their money back in any event. I sold my 3G for $75 more than I paid for it...in effect using that device for free for close to 2 years.

machat says:

Slower, older, blabla holding back progress, bla bla. The iPhone 3G is as slow as my iPhone 2G and has as much RAM as my 2G.
If there are technical reasons for cutting off support: Well do it. No more PPC for OS X: OK with that. No multitasking for iPhones and iPod touches with just 128 MB RAM: 100% fine with that. But the iPhone 2G is just a 3G less GPS and UMTS. And that is the kind of difference that are in devices that Apple still sells (iPad, iPod touch). So there is nearly no additional testing to do.
I wouldn't be too surprised if some hacker manages to get the new OS 4.0 for iPhone 3G up and running on the 2G.

Mitchell says:

I like the back of the 2G. Does anyone know where I can get the back of the 2g, but as a case so I can put it onto my 3GS?

dloveprod says:

It had a nice run I mean it is 3 years old.

Charles says:

Okay Guys. Fine. I have a 2G iPhone and I would love to at least still have compatible apps with my phone 3+ years later. I know Apple's updates go above and beyond, but their products are different from the industry (MY PHONE STILL WORKS). So maybe that paradigm should change. I think 4 years of support is more appropriate for these new devices. The 3G will probably be held onto longer because it has more users.
Here's the deal, when Apple ends support, they should at least SUBSIDY UNLOCK the phone. This should be a part of the new paradigm.
--and no, I have no reason to unlock it, YET.

WatersWest says:

If you came from WinMo like many of us did, you realize that 2 years & countless updates that seem to come fast & furious (except this past year) is absolute HEAVEN compared to other operating systems, not to mention the ease of installation. Time to move on and buy a new phone already! I can't wait to upgrade my 3G to the 4th-gen iPhone!

Limegrntaln says:

If you still have a phone as old as the 2G iPhone, you should be the same type of person that doesn't care how old the OS on the phone is. If you want something newer, you are way past the end date of your contract. the 3G is $49 on a refurb, granted thats with a 2 year contract, but if you want updates, you should upgrade. Although right now, I wouldn't get stuck in a 2 year contract with a new iPhone coming down the street. i recently talked with an Apple tech (not one at an apple store) about their "refurbs" Anytime they build a product, release it this year with last model years hardware, even if its never been used, its a refurb. Sounds like a Jobsism. But this person told me 60-70% of the refurbs they sell have never been owned by anyone.

jasondeno says:

They're not saying they won't support it. They're saying they won't upgrade it. You can still call in and get support.
In related news, they stopped upgrading my Apple II GS less than 18 months after we bought it. But clearly, I've let this go.. ;)

Ron says:

Wifi only iPhone = iPod touch

chris says:

@Thom....its a 3 year old phone, you sir are an internet baby. And Thom its a 3 year old phone, came out in 2007 the first genc. 3G 08, ,3GS 09....so actually they didnt end it a year early its 3 years this year buddy boy. So stfu, and get some facts before you start opening mouth, moving hands and typing. Furthermore, SUCK IT. I own one piece of Apple tech, the iPhone, not a fanboy BUT A FACTBOY. Suck it THOM

DRTigerlilly says:

If the 3g is getting the update, the 2g should too, they have identical hardware with the exception of the radios. Not offering 4.0 for the 2g, is just apple being apple.

John says:

it was actually known last Thursday that OS 4 was not supported on iPhone 2G. the Apple Developer's site listed what devices were supported on the OS 4 beta download page. http://www.macdaddynews.com/?p=2296

Vahalas says:

I believe that there are some technical limitations when it comes to multitasking support on the 2G phones versus the 3G. From what I recall reading about using Backgrounder and Pro Switcher (The WebOS-like task switcher for unlocked phones) the 2G has a hard time dealing with multi-tasking due to less available working RAM. Considering that multi-tasking is one of the core features of OS 4.0 it doesn't surprise me that Apple would nix support for the 2G