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You cannot have 100% platform support of 100% quality 100% of the time. Compromise has to be made. If you're not making an explicit compromise by mercilessly cutting platform support, you're implicitly compromising schedule and quality. Apple have always been the best by far at prioritizing quality, and making hard choices, well above and beyond anybody within any industry they enter. They have always fixed the most painful problems first, and leaving the less important ones to later or never. They are willing to leave a gap in their lineup for two or three quarters because an SKU would fail some obscure quality metric[1][2]. Even so, thy have already had some unpleasant bug creep over the past few years[0]. It's not like they are leisurely coasting and twiddling their fingers — had they been supporting old hardware, software on new hardware would have been measurably worse.

[0] https://marco.org/2015/01/04/apple-lost-functional-high-grou... [1] http://www.pcworld.com/article/226520/Apple_Explains_White_i... [2] iPhone 6S available 25 September 2015, iPhone SE available 31 March 2016

>had they been supporting old hardware, software on new hardware would have been measurably worse

Might not have been measurable, and might just cost an extra engineer without really harming anything.

If they had gone 64-bit-only, I'd be much more in agreement with you. But if you're still supporting a 32 bit platform, you have a lot of restrictions put on you, and the marginal cost of keeping support for a second 32 bit platform is not a big deal.

You vastly underestimate both how different these old systems are, how many resources it takes to support every additional platform, that the burden increases non-linearly, and what kind of weird release-blocking bugs those extra platforms may introduce, delaying fixes and hogging resources.

At minimum, slow systems require gracefully degrading GUI, which increases complexity by an order of magnitude. The graphics card capabilities are a much better first approximation than the word width.

If it took just a few extra engineers, or a few thousand, to fix the bugs that they have, Apple would have done it. The Mythical Man-Month, and all that.

They still support slow systems, just ones that happen to be 64 bit. You're being ridiculous when you say a few thousand engineers couldn't do it. This could be almost completely separate from ongoing development. man-month would not be a problem.

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