back to article YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS

There's a nice little feuilleton in the New York Times looking at why everyone whines about their iPhone slowing down when Apple releases a new variant. Starting from a personal complaint by a professor, one of his students looks at the incidence for “iPhone slow” in Google Trends and notes that there's a leap every time a new …

Android users do not upgrade their OS as much

mainly because even if they want to their carrier will often not have updated their own bloatware-laden shitheap derivative due to resources or the desire to nudge the customer towards upgrades.

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Re: Android users do not upgrade their OS as much

I agree with you here, id like to see a comparison of how many people upgrade their Nexus devices, which have updated available immediately, and those of other manufacturers. I bet the upgrade percentage is much higher!

I don't think its unacceptable though to find that a new OS with more features runs slower on older hardware. They make it compatible, they can't make it run as fast when its doing more... any idiot should know that, but the google trends seem to suggest im giving idiots too much respect!

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Stop

Re: new OS == Slower on older hardware

The core functionality should not have to get slower - yes, you might find that the knobs and whistles don't go so well.

All I'd say is that friends who had the iPhone 3 gave up the OS upgrade path ages back (iOS 5 or there abouts IIRC) because the basic phone functionality was made "unsatisfactory" - it took too long to switch apps, to bring up the dialler, to view the visual voicemails etc. - let alone any of the whizzy bits.

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Re: Android users do not upgrade their OS as much

Whaaaaaat! And break the Manufacturers upgrade system. Rather than deliberately make your device unusable by making it slower with each update to the OS they just rarely update their devices until the handset owners get so frustrated they buy a new one.

It's worked for Samsung, so very effectively!

Seriously though I am sure that there really is a far higher up take with new versions of Android on the Nexus range simply because the update is made available in a timely manner. It certainly also helped that Motorola pushed out Kit-Kat pretty damn quick, in fact they beat Google to getting Kit-Kat out with their updates than Google did with the update to the Nexus 4 (At least for the Moto-X and some of their devices in the Droid range of Nad killing Verizon Phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android users do not upgrade their OS as much

"It's worked for Samsung, so very effectively!"

Indeed. The irony being that Apple users are chided for seemingly upgrading hardware every year, when it seen that he need is with the Samsung users out there.

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Re: Android users do not upgrade their OS as much

And that's why you install a third-party rom like Cyanogenmod on your device. Did that to my original HTC Desire. The result was a phone that was much snappier and takes two to three times longer to drain the battery.

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And yet...

I have experienced my Samsung Galaxy Sx handsets get quicker and use less battery with some updates. The important word being some, other updates have made them slower and eaten the battery.

where x in (1, 3, 4)

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Coat

Re: And yet...

So it's like the Star Trek movies, then...?

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Re: And yet...

As a rule of thumb, iOS gets slower with the major releases, faster with the minors. Big performance degradations seem to have followed the release of iOS 5 (which significantly rejigged the Objective-C runtime, to add self-zeroing weak references amongst other things) and iOS 7 (all the rendering changes), with iOS 4's addition of blocks probably adding up to a bit of degradation over time as developers switched to Grand Central Dispatch perhaps a little more quickly than Apple was able to optimise it. Empirically, from optimising via the profiling tools, there were definitely huge changes between 4 and 5 in the logic applied by the OS to thread pooling.

The iPad 1 I still have knocking around on iOS 5 is much, much slower than the iPad 1 kicking around the office with iOS 4.

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What about the other way around?

For example, the Xbox One and PS4 didn't include emulators to run Xbox 360 and PS3 games because doing so would have fundamentally reduced the available system resources for doing new things.

Since Apple spends time making their new software work on old hardware, that either detracts from time they could have spent doing new things or commits resources to emulators to make functionality work on old hardware.

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Anonymous Coward

Old OS == Faster on newer hardware

I can attest the exact opposite: old Windows 3.11 runs faster than shit of a shovel on a Pentium 4. Five seconds boot up was a reality there!

The thing crashed and rebooted so fast that you didn't even have time to get mad at it. As a little explaining, the machine was meant to run a point-of-sale software compatible to all the bits the store already had (serial receipt printer and so forth) so the base machine was upgraded to a landfill-quality Pentium 4 (that was meant to be recycled and got a second wind), while we kept the original OS the software ran on.

Even if the sofware crapped all over itself along with Windows 3.11 during a sale, he could reboot it and finish it before his customers got angry. In a way, it was not fail-safe, but fail-included.

Don't ask me how the hell Windows 3.11 was capable to boot up a Pentium 4 motherboard. I guess the IDE-compatible mode in that particular model and the dog-old hard drive had all the necessary bits to keep Win3 happy during boot.

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Re: Old OS == Faster on newer hardware

Getting an OS to boot isn't the same as having it run all the hardware. I'd lay money on pretty much nothing on that P4 board working under 3.11 aside from VGA graphics , keyboard and mouse.

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Re: Old OS == Faster on newer hardware

We forget.

I have a 486 DX33 still alive and running 3.11.

I booted it last year. It was fast. Faster than a P4 booting XP, or a 4 core Athlon black with SSD booting 7 (or Mint come to that).

I was STUNNED but just how speedy the boot was TBH. Amazing.

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Re: Old OS == Faster on newer hardware

valid point, except windows 3.11 is not an operating system.

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The Laffer Curve has been debunked repeatedly by people who live in the real world.

Go on. Google 'Laffer debunked.'

Can we have someone who knows something about real scientific economics? I suppose some people - not least Worstall himself - are terribly impressed by this kind of hand-wavey story telling, but it would be nice to see some content with more of a connection to data-driven science.

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The Laffer curve is not possible to debunk, consisting as it does of the observation that the government gets no money at tax rates of 0% and 100%, and that therefore there is a tax rate somewhere between the two at which the government maximises its tax profits. The Laffer curve is a basic fact of fiscal policy.

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There's two versions of the Laffer Curve. The actual one and the one that people claim to have debunked.

The actual one is simply the observation that there is some tax rate that maximises tax revenue. It's not a very sophisticated claim it's true, but we do see it in the real world. New York's latest cigarette tax rise reduced cigarette tax revenues as everyone bought smuggled ciggies instead.

So, if there's some rate which maximises revenue then it must be possible to go over that rate and thus leave open the opportunity that lowering the rate would increase collections.

For income tax where that rate is is obviously open to question. One recent paper (think it was Diamond and Saez) put it somewhere between 54% and 80%, depending on what assumptions you made about allowances, people being able to emigrate and so on.

That Laffer Curve hasn't been debunked.

The one that has is the caricature one, that all tax cuts always pay for themselves. That's not only wrong it's obviously so: for it's ignoring the very point of the original story, that there's a revenue maximising rate.

There is actually some real world use to this as well, it's not just a piece of abstract theorising. The TUC budget submission a couple of years back was written by the egregious Richard Murphy. And he assumed that a rise in the income tax rate to 75% would call forth more labour. Digging into it he had assumed that married women were particularly subject to the income effect. They'd see family income falling as a result of higher taxes and thus flood into the labour market to raise it back to target.

Unfortunately for that plan we know that married women are particularly subject to the substitution effect, not the income one. For the fairly obvious reason that they've got a career alternative ready to hand: why go out to work if the tax rates mean you can't pay for the childcare you've got to buy sort of thing.

So we could reject that TUC submission simply because it made the wrong assumptions about the different bits that make up that Laffer Curve. All of which comes from the obvious fact that Murphy entirely rejects the even possible existence of the Curve and is therefore deaf to the point that it's actually making.

Insisting that it doesn't exist is therefore likely to bring you into this sort of error.

All tax cuts do not pay for themselves: true.

There is a revenue maximising rate of tax: true.

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Finally!

An economist explains the Laffer curve in a way that makes sense. I've only ever heard the debunkable one before. (I'd assumed it had handwaving obfuscation in most explanations which was why some people still believed it.)

I still think that unfortunately the version that most people* hold onto is that tax rise = reduced tax revenue.

* who believe in it**

** and have heard of it. I suspect most have not, only those with some interest in economics.

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Re: Finally!

Well, I'm not an economist. Which is probably why I can explain it because I had to break it down into simple bits so that I could grok it in the first place.

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Pint

Economist?

You're probably more of one than me.

It's the reason I'm the IT geek for some of my friends. Doesn't make it true...

Have a pint! That always helps grokking.

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Upgrades to software, other platforms.

"Thinking of Microsoft in the 1990s, no one at all would try to run the Windows of the day on hardware two generations older"

The interesting truth here is that with Linux, you would do just that. Wait for some discard in the Windows realm, and have a go of Linux on the "obsolete" hardware. It worked out quite well, and many people found out that this "old hardware" had a life "after windows". To a certain degree this is still true.

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Re: Upgrades to software, other platforms.

Herby, another example would be TenFourFox, a version of Firefox made for G4 and G5 Macs running Tiger and Leopard, still supported years after Mozilla dropped their support for them. It takes advantage of the PowerPC AltiVec instruction set, which I think no other PPC Mac OS X browser ever did.

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Re: Upgrades to software, other platforms.

yeah it was the case then, it isn't now. Win7 is less resource hungry than Vista and 8.1 less than Win7. I installed Win8.1 on a 2Ghz core2 Duo 2Gb RAM that's about 7 years old and it flew

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Re: Upgrades to software, other platforms.

yeah it was the case then, it isn't now. Win7 is less resource hungry than Vista and 8.1 less than Win7. I installed Win8.1 on a 2Ghz core2 Duo 2Gb RAM that's about 7 years old and it flew

As in out the Window? I have no doubts that Windows 8 maybe as fast as they say it is.... But, then you take ONE MASSIVE HIT in time just trying to work out WTF to do with it.... 'cause it just broke over 25 Years worth of convention and, allowed that to fly out of the window....

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Re: Upgrades to software, other platforms.

> you take ONE MASSIVE HIT in time just trying to work out WTF to do with it

I am not a genius. It took me about a minute.

I can't understand why so many people who work in IT are so keen to boast about their total inability to learn how to use a new interface.

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Re: Upgrades to software, other platforms.

Reminds me about when I complained about the interface on the Ricoh being confusing, and my boss happened to walk past and quipped.. "Are you sure a career in IT is for you?"

Toucé Mr Boss.

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Re: Upgrades to software, other platforms.

Linux on old? Hmm. Depends upon the Linux and the old. I happily ran a couple of Linux versions on an old Thinkpad 21, till an automatic update removed the ability to boot. Back to XP.

Of course, I was optimising my time and effort by giving up (and coming into possession of an old Mac that had a BSD plus X11 under the hood much better and faster than the Linux stuff at the time). No doubt I could have fiddled, reinstalled, sought yet another version of the guilty libraries, recompile this and that with some more or fewer or changed options.

But informatics is my job. My spare time is too precious to waste. So now it is OSX and rather decent terminal emulator or twm with X11 when I want more than just point and click.

Now imagine the 99% of domestic computer users, who do not get a thrill out of spending their hard earned money or dwindling pension on the latest hardware and want just to turn on, handle email, perhaps write a letter or CV, use the WEB and do some online banking and perhaps store some photos, music and watch some Youtube (I describe the relatively sophisticated user here).

You are the equivalent of the child building his first crystal wireless. That you can make old kit useful, given time, knowledge and the software, is irrelevant to the people who actually make the creation of hardware and software profitable. That's why people like you (and me) are highly unlikely ever to create a Nokia, Apple, Samsung or Google success on even a small scale.

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Unhappy

If upgrades weren't fed to us ...

... with an opt-out approach, I'd have more time for iOS. As it is, my next devices will not run iOS due to the number of "freezes" and "crashes" that I'm experiencing in non-essential apps like ... ummmm - MAIL.

'nuff said.

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Re: If upgrades weren't fed to us ...

You're always prompted and asked whether you want to install a new version of the OS. You opt in, not out.

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Those taxi drivers were neither optimising nor 'satisfacting'. They were being retarded. If they bothered to think through the problem for ten seconds it would have occurred to them to work long hours on rainy days and shorter ones on dry days to make more money for less work overall.

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Nail's head hit by AC 101.

But therein lies one of the fundamental problems in the study of economics. Most (not all) economic analysis is built on the assumption that humans behave rationally and will maximise income/happiness/utility etc. The taxi example is a great one to show that most people (not just taxi drivers) usually can't be arsed to maximise anything or behave rationally and efficiently. And it is not just individuals. Businesses and governments rarely make the most efficient or rational decisions due to political, ideological or practical considerations, or worse still, due to the whims of the leaders.

Behavioural economics does try to take study this and take some of this into account, but is regarded as a bit woolier by its very nature. Nonetheless, I find it a fascinating area which accords better with the real-world.

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They are obviously optimising (or satisfacting) something other than money. Perhaps they're putting a value on the time they spend not sitting in their taxi. I know that I sure as hell put value on the time I don't spend at work. If I were to merely optimise for money I would be on a much higher salary but would have a lot less free time.

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Precisely - my frustration with the limited amount of economics I studied was the focus on maximisation rather than "enough", and rationality with a total lack of account for FIF - Fuck It Factor.

In the taxi example - if the weather is horrible it isn't as nice to be driving. So once the cash is made for the day - "The weather's shit, it's cold, I want to go home. I've got my £xx for the day, fuck it, that's enough."

We need a new field (apathonomics?) which can accurately take into account that lots of people are happy with "enough" / want the easiest way. And if then a subset can be developed that can also account for the FIF, such as getting blind drunk one Tuesday evening, and winding up buying an expensive and knackered old car off ebay at 3am (inefficient price, low utility etc), then we would be getting somewhere.

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I'm not sure this phenomenon can be explained by economics or Laffer curves

Each version of OS X from 10.4 to 10.6 running on Intel hardware improved on the last. Things started going downhill with 10.7 onwards.

Windows 8, despite having a horrible UI, is better under the hood than Windows 7, which in turn is better than Windows Vista.

It depends on the development priorities. If transparency and moving backgrounds with the gyroscope running are a priority then the CPU's going to get used and batteries are going to get flattened in record time.

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Unhappy

Somewhat missing the point

People wouldn't complain if you could downgrade your iphone after an unsatisfactory upgrade. Even a wipe and re-install would be fine.

"Apple has the customer's interests at heart" is thus shown to be a lie.

I have a 3G. If Maps ever works (which is rare), the phone requires a reboot as afterwards it even has problems executing "Accept" for an incoming call. I know its old and we shouldn't expect new stuff to work on old kit. I do expect to be able to run old stuff on old kit, though.

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Re: Somewhat missing the point

"People wouldn't complain if you could downgrade your iphone after an unsatisfactory upgrade. Even a wipe and re-install would be fine."

Yep, you have completely hit the nail on the head. You deserve many many upvotes. I have an original iPad. It is still going strong (as it should - it is only four years old) but for safari which is completely unusable as it crashes all the time.

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Re: Somewhat missing the point

There's a specific thing with the original iPad at work here. They didn't give it enough RAM, even for the time.

It was released with iOS3 which killed processes as soon as you hit the home button and even then it struggled a bit. iOS4 - a genuinely important upgrade - was a very squiffy on the original iPad. I remember Safari crashing fairly regularly on mine.

An iPad 2 will quite happily run iOS7 without crashing.

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Re: Somewhat missing the point

If there are design flaws with the original iPad and if they have not been addressed by Apple, that tells me everything I need to know about how Apple thinks about its customers.

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Re: Somewhat missing the point

> An iPad 2 will quite happily run iOS7 without crashing.

Yes, it will, The iPad 2's user, on the other hand, might get a tad pissed off at the UTTERLY FUCKING HORRIBLE INTERFACE. AAAARRRGH!

Sorry.

Calm... calm....

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Re: Somewhat missing the point

Not a lie, just that they can't please all the people all the time.

Anyway, there *is* a way of downgrading iOS. I don't remember what it is off the top of my head but I've got notes on it at home. If I remember I'll dig them out and post a link.

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err it does the crashing on ypour behalf.

Try using multi tabs with the darn things reloading on you !

This makes the iPad useless much of the time.

We know full well IOS 7 needed 2GB to do any semblence of multi-tasking without KILL.

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nothing worthwhile in kitkat

for me. My phone upgraded about a month ago (Galaxy Note 3 on AT&T). I postponed it as long as I could until it wouldn't let me anymore(sadly that was only about 3 days). I had to clear the "app cache" or whatever it's called that caused most of the problems I was having to go away. But a month or so into using kitkat I really see no difference, other than accessing the camera on the lock screen(which has been more of an annoyance than useful since I have hit that area of the screen to unlock only to have the camera pop up when I didn't want it on several occasions).

I greatly feared the new "flat" look was going to come to my Note3 with kitkat(as I've seen on pictures of more recent Samsung devices) fortunately that did not happen.

The phone works about the same though.

I'd pay money for a subscription service that basically just gave bug fixes and not bring new features that I'm not going to use(especially significant UI changes such as the aforementioned "flat" stuff that came to IOS7 and is apparently the standard on windows phone which I have not used). But the happy-go-lucky mobile developers like to release the latest shiny..

So I guess the moral of this story is I feel quite relieved that the phone still works more or less the way it did under Android 4.3, I was very (and remain so) nervous about what will come in the future.

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Re: nothing worthwhile in kitkat

If there's one thing I love about KitKat... Its the Google Now Launcher. I know there is a heavy price to pay in using it. But, I have to say that its been nothing but, genuinely useful to me. So useful in fact that I've learned to live with all the other quirky bits of the OS on my Galaxy Tab. Since I only ever reboot my Device only after such updates (Ad Away, or OS Updates (OmniROM)) The 90-ish Seconds it takes to get to the lock screen doesn't really bother me much...

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"But it seems perfectly acceptable to be running this year's iOS on old kit."

Tell that to my iPad1. :( No upgrades for me unless I shell out for a newer iPad... so I got myself an Android tablet.

For the record, I own an iPad (original version), a few android tablets and an android phone. Apart from the iPad, they all run the latest version of their respective OS... and in some cases, versions that haven't yet been released by the local Telco (here's a dirty little secret Telcos won't tell you - most versions of Android for a device are compatible around the world. For example, I'm running a French image in Australia, in English. If you live in the US, though, you may be out of luck thanks to your different radio requirements).

So if you want to upgrade your Android device but don't want the bloatware from your Telco, try the manufacturers stock release. And if you don't want the manufacturer's bloatware, install cyanogenmod's version of Android.

As for the iPad, I keep it handy for one app which I can't get under Android (yes, there are similar apps, but they just can't hold a candle to this one). And I can't upgrade the OS at all, so no more app upgrades for me either.

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New IOS = New IOS Support in Apps = Overhead

New iThing appears, therefore new IOS appears, there's a raft of App Upgrades which include support for the new IOS, so the Apps also get bigger and slower? Could even be just the fact that 30 Apps which haven't changed in a while all update in the background and hit the system performance for a few days?

As for running IOS on older hardware - it would be great if it actually worked properly - take a look at the endless discussions on IOS 7 and the "App Refresh" (I've now see it on IOS 6 - so I think the issue is with the App Writers, but still)

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Re: New IOS = New IOS Support in Apps = Overhead

App upgrades only hit system performance at the exact time they're upgrading, which is - for most people - overnight when plugged in. Once the app is upgraded it doesn't consume processor cycles until it runs.

The bigger issue here isn't just that the apps have support for the new OS, but also that they have support for new hardware. The app developers are subject to the same drivers as Apple themselves - they are targetting new hardware that can do more without appearing slow, so they are driven to do that. As the population of users migrates to newer hardware, the commercial imperative to support older hardware decreases and the app developers spend less time worrying about performance on older devices and more time competing with other app developers for the best experience for the biggest user groups. Having the best experience often means utilising the hardware to its maximum capabilities.

Tim's absolutely right. It's not so much that anyone's "at fault" as it is about simple economics.

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Bricking Old Hardware

"The other effect is that they don't actually want to brick that old hardware so they're also trying to make that new code not too heavy so that it will still work on older iKit."

Alternatively, bricking old hardware is an important part of their business plan. It's a useful way of stimulating demand.

And call me a cynic, but if they can slow down older models, it allows them to increase the value of x in their claim that "it runs x% faster than the last one"

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Re: Bricking Old Hardware

No, they won't be doing that for a number of reasons:

1. Their customer reputation is too important to them and they know it. They make plenty of money from organic sales.

2. The engineers and designers at Apple - and it is a very engineer-led company - wouldn't be happy.

3. The policy would leak to the press, or at least the risk of it leaking would be too high.

But you're right, you're definitely a cynic :)

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Re: Bricking Old Hardware

Sorry, are we discussing the Apple who claimed they could fix an antenna design problem with a software update?

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Re: Bricking Old Hardware

Turn off said antenna via software. Problem solved.

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