Nearly 80% of Macs will be able to run OS X Yosemite

iPhone 4 won't be able to handle iOS 8

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Industry analysts have cited "good enough" as one reason why personal computer sales have shrunk in the last two years. Where once users believed each new generation of hardware -- particular the microprocessor -- provided a discernible benefit, and that OS upgrades were worthwhile because they took advantage of those more powerful machines, now they see little reason to upgrade hardware because the tasks they conduct are capably handled even by aged systems.

Windows PC sales in particular have been affected by the phenomenon, as buyers have rationalized that their Windows 7 systems, in some cases even those still running 2001's Windows XP, do everything that they ask of them, and so see little reason for plunking down money for a new Windows 8 machine, that OS's emphasis on touch notwithstanding.

While Mac sales growth has usually outpaced that of PCs overall, "good enough" has not been without its impact there, either: Where Mac sales gains were once in double digits, more recently they have either contracted or increased by small amounts.

Operating system makers like Microsoft and Apple have conceded the point, if only implicitly, by releasing upgrades that run just fine, thank you, on older hardware.

But while OS X system requirements will stay stable, those for the iOS 8 continued Apple's habit of dropping the oldest still-supported devices from the next edition's list.

Apple said iOS 8 will run on the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C and 5S; the iPad 2, iPad with Retina, iPad Air, iPad Mini with and without Retina; and the fifth-generation iPod Touch. Only 2010's iPhone 4, which has continued to sell well in the last year, especially in developing markets like China and India, has been dropped from 2013's list.

The iPhone 4 is powered by the Apple-designed A4 SoC (system on a chip); all newer iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches rely on the A5 or later SoCs.

Previews of OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 were made available to developers on Monday, with final versions slated to ship this fall, Apple said. The public will be able to obtain previews of Yosemite this summer through Apple's new beta test program.

OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 will be provided free of charge to eligible Macs, iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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