Watch out: soon some older PCs will lose Windows 11 support

Since its launch, Windows 11 has been plagued by compatibility issues due to its high-spec demands that excluded plenty of PCs. But now even more will be left in the cold thanks to a new update.

The upcoming version 24H2 update, which has been rumored to launch in September 2024, will no longer boot on computers that use very old processors; specifically, the kind that doesn’t support the POPCNT (population count) instruction, according to Twitter/X user Bob Pony.

Many of the system files will require the POPCNT CPU instruction from the Windows 11 kernel to the USB XHCI drivers, the tweet states, meaning that any processors without it cannot run the operating system.

POPCNT was made standard in CPUs in the mid-2000s starting from AMD's Barcelona architecture, followed by Intel's first-gen Core i-series processors. This means that PCs manufactured in the past 15 years shouldn’t be affected by this new Windows 11 requirement. It also shouldn’t affect modern PCs unsupported by the OS, so those who've managed to find a workaround would still be able to run Windows post-update.

Windows 11 support could be the better option 

As user-unfriendly as this new update will be for those running PCs with old processors, it makes sense from Microsoft’s viewpoint to force users to run Windows 11 on newer machines. The 24H2 update will be ushering in some massive changes that will heavily focus on next-gen AI experiences, as well as various performance and security updates and new features.

In order to ensure that all these new features actually work as planned with the OS, the tech giant needs to make sure that spec requirements are up to snuff to run them – especially as it expands Microsoft Copilot support, since that’s supposed to enhance the Windows interface and boost productivity in terms of apps, search, and more.

And as off-putting as the growing emphasis on Copilot and other AI features and tools can be, at least Microsoft is only focusing on updating Windows 11 and doesn’t seem to be switching to a whole new OS, Windows 12. While tempting, such a move could fracture an already heavily divided user base that overwhelmingly still supports Windows 10.

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Apple iMessage vs Google RCS is complicated… but what about older phones?

Since iOS 5 back in 2011, Apple introduced a new message standard called iMessage. If you use an iOS or Mac device, you’ll most likely have used the feature through the Messages app.

These show as a blue bubble that allows you to send reactions, emojis, GIFs, and more.

However, a relatively new standard in messaging has started to appear in recent years called RCS (Rich Communication Services), which is trying to replace the SMS standard that iMessage uses.

RCS is designed to bring the same functionality that iMessage, WhatsApp and other messaging apps offer in a form that works across multiple types of device.

Google's Head of Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, has accused Apple of bullying by forcing users to use iMessage instead of RCS. But Lockheimer, and others, are forgetting those who don’t use smartphones, and that’s a problem.

The pros and cons of RCS

If you use an Android phone through the messages app, and you live in the United States, you will be able to reply with reactions, emojis through an encrypted connection. That's something that SMS doesn’t provide.

Since RCS made its introduction in 2008, the Open Mobile Alliance has been leading the way in trying to replace the SMS standard with this. It makes it easier for users to share content without being charged for it, such as how MMS, or picture messaging still does to this day.

However, the standard is limited. Many carriers in the United States haven’t agreed to implement RCS, leaving it spotty across cellular networks at best. While some other countries, such as the United Kingdom, currently have no carriers supporting RCS.

Combine this with the fact that Universal Profile, which is the latest attempt for carriers to implement the same RCS standard across the phones that each provides, has been delayed. It’s essentially pot luck in whether your phone and carrier will feature RCS.

But there’s yet another handicap to this. Google is decided to activate RCS within its own Messages app, which means that regardless of the carrier you’re on, you’ll be able to use the service. 

This applies to UK users, but others would rather send messages through WhatsApp and other apps.

Google’s Head of Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer tried to rectify his comments over the weekend, alongside linking to a TikTok video of Maxwell Weinbach giving his reasons for why he thought it was bad that Apple hadn’t implemented RCS.

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But while they both provide compelling arguments on one side, there’s another aspect that Google and Weinbach have both left out. This could also be why Apple has yet to implement RCS.

Forgetting the casual user

The majority of us have family members who simply refuse to upgrade to a smartphone. Or at least, refuse to upgrade to a newer smartphone that was released after 2011.

It’s a comfort blanket to some where they’re familiar with the design and the features that the old phone brings. They’re comfortable in using SMS messaging, the camera app and Facebook, and nothing else.

RCS doesn’t factor into this. While Google’s Messages app requires Android 5.0 and above, it’s pot luck whether older phones will support RCS within the app. And that’s if your friend or family member is using Google’s Messages app on their phone.

While the feature is clearly beneficial to those who message frequently, influencers and heads of these departments seem to be missing the bigger picture on who RCS benefits and whether there should be more efforts to make RCS standardized, rather than from one app or waiting for some carriers to come on board.

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Apple to pay up to $500 million for deliberately slowing older iPhones

Towards the end of 2017, Apple fessed up, admitting that it had been deliberately and secretly slowing older models of iPhone in order to eke out extra life from their aging batteries. Understandably, the company’s customers weren’t happy and the stealthy throttling led to several lawsuits.

Now, the Cupertino firm has filed a settlement in a California court, agreeing to pay up to $ 500 million (with a minimum of $ 310 million) in the form of payments to affected US customers.

This includes $ 25 to anyone who owned one of the affected iPhones (listed below) and sums of either $ 1,500 or $ 3,500 to members of the class action lawsuit. 

These amounts will vary depending on how many people claim, as individual payouts will decrease if they exceed the maximum total of $ 500 million. However, if fewer people claim, the $ 310 million will go further for each individual (after $ 93 million is taken off for legal fees, of course).

Affected smartphones are considered any of the following, so long as they were running iOS 10.2.1 or later or, in the case of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, it could have been running iOS 11.2 or later so long as it was doing so before December 21, 2017.

The case against Apple claimed that, due to the processor speeds slowing, consumers were being led to believe their current smartphone was nearing its end of life earlier than it actually was.

This prompted them to upgrade to a newer model, at considerable cost, when they could have simply replaced the battery had they known that was the cause of the issue.

The settlement allows Apple to deny that it did anything wrong in the legal sense, and the individual compensation has been described as “fair, reasonable, and adequate” by lawyers representing the consumers, according to Reuters.

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