While we didn’t get a ton of new features in iPadOS 14, it does have a few headline features like enhanced Apple Pencil support for working with digital ink and a new unified search UI. However, there is one feature that Apple only mentions in passing on stage, but is very beneficial to all of it’s tablet users. That feature is longevity.
Like most of Apple’s other OSs, iPadOS has a great track record of offering a long runway of support. This is nothing new, as Apple has routinely supported its hardware for multiple years across all platforms. I usually don’t pay too much attention to the yearly device support list, but I couldn’t help but notice that iPadOS is still supporting two devices that were released in 2014, with iOS just a bit behind. No matter what you think of Apple, that’s pretty impressive.
For iOS, that device is the original iPhone SE, which was released in 2015. Yes, the last of the little iPhones can still upgrade and get at least the basics of iOS 14. As for the iPad side, you can go all the way back to the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 4, both of which were released six years ago. That is one hell of a support window for a mobile device.
I don’t typically pay much attention to this support list because I usually upgrade whenever a new iPad Pro is available. I didn’t this year, but that was only because the 2020 iPad Pro just wasn’t that much of an upgrade of the 2018 models. However, for those iPad owners who hang onto their hardware for a while, and that would be the vast majority of them, iPadOS 14’s support list is undoubtedly great news.
Unlike most of their competitors, Apple has made longevity a feature for mobile devices. Considering that iPads above the base 10.2″ model usually start at $500 and go way up from there, this is a very pro-consumer stance. Apple may be far from perfect, but this is one area where they really get it right.