ipad ios upgrade blocking development

I have been developing an application for deployment to ipad (recently using swift rather than Qt). I am working on this using a macbook pro mid 2009 running 10.11.6 (with the memory upgrades this works fine for me). I received prompts from xcode indicating the ios needed to be upgraded on the ipad to support the features I was using in code. There was no choice in the upgrade process to choose which ios version to upgrade to. The only upgrade option, it seems, is the latest version. Now I have a version of xcode that cannot deploy to the ipad. According to the apple upgrades, I cannot update this macbook pro to the later macos. It seems that downgrading the ipad is not straightforward either.


So it seems that apple have stopped me from being able to develop anything and are now ransoming me to fork out for a new mac computer to do any further work. Is this correct or have I missed anything?

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