iOS 6 dropped support for the first-generation iPad (“iPad 1”), which was sold from spring 2010 through spring 2011. In other words, everyone who bought an iPad at least 19 months ago has an iPad 1, and their unsubsidized, non-contract, $500+ tablet is going to grow much less useful over the next year as apps start to require iOS 6. This has naturally angered a lot of iPad 1 owners.
It’s frustrating to have such a large purchase become obsolete so quickly. And this is even fast by iOS standards — after all, iOS 6 runs (with many features disabled) on the iPhone 3GS, which was released 9 months before the iPad 1. Many of us have speculated that Apple crammed iOS 6 into the iPhone 3GS because they were still selling it until two weeks ago, while they haven’t sold the iPad 1 for 19 months. It’s a reasonable theory that’s probably partially responsible for iOS 6’s device support, but I think there’s more to the story.
I own an iPad 3 myself, but my 4 year old owns an iPad 1.. We’ll probably keep it around since she mostly uses it for watching her movies and playing games..
Still, when you compare the end of support on other iOS devices, I agree with Marco that the RAM on a device of this size was probably a large factor on this decision..