No Real iOS 6 for iPhone 3GS Means I’m Buying iPhone 5

Yesterday, Apple announced that iOS 6 would be coming to the iPhone 3GS, a smartphone that is now three years old. Today, Apple brought iPhone 3GS owners back to reality when it revealed that many of the announced features of iOS 6 would not be coming to the iPhone 3GS including VIP Mail, Share Photo Streams, turn-by-turn navigation, and flyover 3D Maps.

In fact, one look at the specifics reveals that not much of anything is coming to the iPhone 3GS with iOS 6.

As my colleague Shawn Ingram pointed out, it seems that the iPhone 3GS will be getting iOS 6 in name only. Sure, it’ll feature the new Maps application and some user interface changes but the meat and potatoes of iOS 6 will be absent.

Goodbye, iPhone 3GS.

Read: Why the iPhone 3GS Is Still My Favorite Phone.


Many iPhone 3GS owners, especially those that may have just picked up the phone at its deeply discounted price will be frustrated with the new development.

However, as the owner of an iPhone 3GS for three years now, I honestly can’t complain. In fact, I was shocked, and still am a little shocked, that Apple is bringing iOS 6 to the iPhone 3GS at all.

Funny thing is, it’s almost exactly how I felt back at WWDC 2011 when Apple announced that iOS 5 and almost all its features would be coming to the iPhone 3GS.

Even if iOS 6 isn’t coming fully loaded to the iPhone 3GS, it’s still remarkable that Apple has been able to (and has) update the device after all of these years.

Show me an Android phone that has received a major Android update, even a stripped down one, after three years of existence. Scratch that, you can’t, they don’t exist.

Yeah, iOS 5 has its faults on the iPhone 3GS but I have found more positives than negatives. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without Notification Center or access to the camera from the lock screen. I probably would have ditched my iPhone 3GS, which, is something I plan to do when the iPhone 5 arrives.

The reason is simple.


iOS 6 has just about everything I want from mobile software. It has video chatting over cellular data. It has Siri which is now able to check sports scores, open apps, make dinner reservations, and more. It also has native turn-by-turn navigation. I’ve used third-party apps before but I am willing to bet that Apple makes them look silly once iOS 6 comes out of Beta.

Many iOS 6 features won't come to the iPhone 3GS.Those are just a few of the things I want access to and none of them are going to be available on the iPhone 3GS. Throw in the fact that the iPhone 5 will likely have a couple of unique iOS features that Apple will use to sell it along with 4G LTE speeds and a 4-inch screen and quite frankly, you have, in my opinion, the best possible combination of iPhone.

That’s not to say that iOS 6 on the iPhone 3GS won’t benefit the many users who still own it and will for the foreseeable future.

Read: iOS 6 Hands On: 10 Killer iOS 6 Features.


The UI will be more polished, the new Maps app will be included and there will likely be some other stuff on board as well. And while that might not sound like a lot, it is for a phone that is three years old.

And hey, maybe iOS 6 will make some new iPhone 3GS users hold onto the device for as long as I did. Something to think about before you get upset with Apple about the lack of iOS 6 features coming to the iPhone 3GS.

As for me, it’s time to call it quits after three long years.

Anyone else finally doing the same?