iOS 10 will make 40 percent of all iPads obsolete

iPad sales have been declining for over two years, but iOS 10 could finally be the catalyst needed to trigger an wave of upgrades. Or it could push the iPad into irrelevance.

Here's an interesting fact: Every iPad that Apple had sold, with the exception of the iPad 1 (which first went on sale in April 2010 and was discontinued a year later, and over that time some 15 million units were sold), can run the latest iOS release.

At yesterday's WWDC 2016 keynote speech, that all changed.

Apple announced that it was dropping support for three aging iPads: the iPad 2, the iPad 3, and the first-generation iPad mini.

That means that come fall when iOS 10 is released, million of iPads will become obsolete. How many? Well, according to data compiled back in March 2016 by mobile engagement platform Localytics, it could mean that some 40 percent of all iPads currently in use will become obsolete because they will no longer receive security updates and patches.

iOS 10 will make 40 percent of all iPads obsolete

Popular iPad by model.

The iPad 2 is a very popular device (it was sold between March 2011 and March 2014), and is only one percentage point behind the iPad Air (18 percent share, compared to 17 percent).

It's possible that these numbers have changed a bit since March as Apple sells more iPads, but give that it now sells about 10 million a quarter, and cumulatively some 318 million iPads have been sold in total, whatever was sold since isn't going to shift the needle by much.

Now the question is - will people upgrade their now obsolete iPads, or decide that while the iPad was once a cool bit of kit, they can now live without it?

If owners of obsolete iPads decide to upgrade then this could represent a huge wave of upgrades for Apple, and a strengthening of sales. However, if people decide that the iPad isn't for them anymore, it could mean a massive decline in iPad market share within the tablet ecosystem and with it waning in its importance.

It feels like quite a gamble on Apple's part.

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