My family and I love our first generation iPad, and why wouldn’t we?
Another piece of old tech looking for a good home sent by the mysterious benefactor, I felt that making this iPad 1 useful would be quite the challenge. After all, Apple’s known for cutting devices off completely when they determine that backwards compatibility is no longer worth the effort. I didn’t even think it would connect to the app store.
My first step was to charge it. I’m not sure how long it had sat, but the battery charge was still at 25% (or thereabouts) when I got it. I had honestly forgotten about how awesome iPad batteries were. After I’d topped off the charge, I wiped it and started from scratch. I installed any available updates – the newest compatible iOS is 5.1.1. I tested all of the buttons and the touch screen, all working great despite some casing damage near the volume button.
The screens on these things are still freaking beautiful.
I pulled up the app store and entered my Apple ID, and… it worked! Up-to-date listing of all of the available apps, updates, everything. Even search worked! I threw caution to the wind and tried to download a free app. The download started, and then came the error box. Okay, expecting otherwise had been a bit unrealistic. Wait, what was this? “This app requires at least iOS 7.1 or later. Would you like to install an older version that is compatible with your iOS?”
WHAT WHAT WHAT?
Yes, app store, I most certainly would. And did. It should be noted that a good half of the apps I’ve tried to install haven’t had compatible older versions. BUT, I’ve found more than enough to make the tablet well-loved by the kids (thanks Toca Boca and Netflix), the wife (Diamond Quest), and me (SSH app, Pocket, Facebook).
So, yeah. I didn’t have to jailbreak it or load anything custom on it or jump through obscure hoops to turn an aged tablet into a used-daily family computing device. Now I just need to find a case for it. Who knows how long I can get it to last?