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Apple's iPadOS is here, and Hulu just reminded me my iPad 2 is obsolete

The Handmaid's Tale will never again grace my ancient iPad's screen.


Farewell, Hulu on my iPad 2.

Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The latest and greatest iOS 13 and newly christened iPadOS arrived for public beta testing this week. Too bad my crotchety old iPad will never know the joys of a modern Apple operating system, just as it will never again stream a Hulu show.

I stared in mild shock. What?! I had just tapped on the Hulu app icon on my iPad 2, ready to catch up on the second episode of season 3 of The Handmaid's Tale. Instead of Elisabeth Moss, red dresses and dystopian angst, I got a message of doom from Hulu.

"Version 4.10.1 is no longer supported. Please upgrade to the latest version." 

A helpful "Upgrade Now" button appeared. I tapped it. It took me to the App Store link to the Hulu app. I tapped on "Open." It took me back to the no-longer-supported message, trapping me in a cycle of despair. Hulu has given up on my iPad.

This is my iPad 2 in its native environment.

Amanda Kooser/CNET

I've been in denial for a couple of years now about the lifespan of my Apple tablet. 

I bought the iPad 2 new in March 2011. The screen still looks good. It's as slow as a cold tortoise and apps crash randomly, but I mainly use it as a portable screen to watch Amazon Prime and Hulu while I'm prepping meals, and for listening to podcasts as I go to sleep.

I drastically reduced my streaming video consumption when I cut out Netflix, but I still track a handful of shows, including the Hulu original The Handmaid's Tale. I never watch on my desktop computer (it's for work only) and I rarely have the spare time to plop down in the living room in front of a proper television.

And so my iPad 2 is how I watch streaming shows. Amazon Prime still works, but Hulu's exit from my tablet's life is a stark reminder of the short life span of almost all technology. 

I'm not the only one who has had to so rudely face my iPad's mortality. Other owners of ancient iPads took to Twitter to express their despair.

"Well it looks like I have to cancel my Hulu account," wrote Twitter user Tom Sawyer, who also got caught in the no-longer-supported trap. "You guys suck," he concluded.

"What am I paying for if I can't use it?" asked Twitter user Jeanette, whose iPad Mini no longer works with the app.

The Hulu Support Twitter account is busy fielding these comments with variations on a standard apologetic reply: "In order to provide our viewers with the best possible experience, we require an updated version of our app that select older devices do not support." The Hulu app now requires iOS 11.

My iPad 2 is frozen in time with iOS 9.3.5.  I've contemplated dropping Hulu, but I'm still riding out the sweet 99-cent deal from late last year. 

It's not like I'm going to starve. I could watch Handmaid's Tale and Letterkenny on my laptop or my slightly less old iPad Mini, but I have an aversion to streaming on both of those. The laptop because it's too big and the Mini because it's too small. The iPad 2 is my Goldilocks device. It's just right.

I'm accepting my first-world problem with what I hope is a modicum of grace. Maybe I'll find the time or the will to catch up on June's adventures in Gilead on another device. Maybe I won't. I have the date penciled into my calendar for when my 99-cent Hulu subscription time expires. I'll just cancel it then. 

I'm going to stay loyal to my antiquated tablet for now. It might be over the hill, but it's still got a spark as long as Amazon Prime keeps working. Hello, Good Omens!