iOS 6 running on an iPhone 5
|Company / developer||Apple Inc.|
|Programmed in||C, C++, Objective-C|
|OS family||OS X, UNIX|
|Source model||Closed source|
|Initial release||July 29, 2007|
|Latest stable release||
|Available language(s)||34 languages|
|Supported platforms||ARM (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Mini, and 2nd gen. and higher Apple TV), Apple A4, Apple A5, Apple A5X, Apple A6, Apple A6X|
|Kernel type||Hybrid (XNU)|
|Default user interface||Cocoa Touch (multi-touch, GUI)|
|License||Proprietary EULA except for open-source components|
iOS (previously iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system developed and distributed by Apple Inc. Originally unveiled in 2007 for the iPhone, it has been extended to support other Apple devices such as the iPod touch (September 2007), iPad (January 2010) and Apple TV (second generation) (September 2010). Unlike Microsoft's Windows Phone and Google's Android, Apple does not license iOS for installation on non-Apple hardware. As of January 2013, Apple's App Store contained more than 775,000 iOS applications, 300,000 of which were optimised for iPad. These apps have collectively been downloaded more than 50 billion times. It had a 21% share of the smartphone mobile operating system units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012, behind only Google's Android. In June 2012, it accounted for 65% of mobile web data consumption (including use on both the iPod Touch and the iPad). At the half of 2012, there were 410 million devices activated. According to the special media event held by Apple on September 12, 2012, 400 million devices have been sold through June 2012.
The user interface of iOS is based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interface control elements consist of sliders, switches, and buttons. Interaction with the OS includes gestures such as swipe, tap, pinch, and reverse pinch, all of which have specific definitions within the context of the iOS operating system and its multi-touch interface. Internal accelerometers are used by some applications to respond to shaking the device (one common result is the undo command) or rotating it in three dimensions (one common result is switching from portrait to landscape mode).
iOS is derived from OS X, with which it shares the Darwin foundation. iOS is Apple's mobile version of the OS X operating system used on Apple computers.
In iOS, there are four abstraction layers: the Core OS layer, the Core Services layer, the Media layer, and the Cocoa Touch layer. The current version of the operating system (iOS 6.1.3) dedicates 1-1.5 GB of the device's flash memory for the system partition, using roughly 800 MB of that partition (varying by model) for iOS itself.
iOS currently runs on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV.
HistoryThe operating system was unveiled with the iPhone at the Macworld Conference & Expo, January 9, 2007, and released in June of that year. At first, Apple marketing literature did not specify a separate name for the operating system, stating simply that the "iPhone runs OS X". Initially, third-party applications were not supported. Steve Jobs' reasoning was that developers could build web applications that "would behave like native apps on the iPhone". On October 17, 2007, Apple announced that a native Software Development Kit (SDK) was under development and that they planned to put it "in developers' hands in February".On March 6, 2008, Apple released the first beta, along with a new name for the operating system: "iPhone OS".
Software updatesApple provides major updates to the iOS operating system approximately once a year over iTunes and also, since iOS version 5.0, over the air. The latest major update is iOS 6, publicly announced on June 11, 2012 and released on September 12, 2012. Over 200 new features debut in iOS 6, including Apple's new Passbook service, Apple-sourced Maps, and full Facebook integration.
Before iOS 4's release in 2010, iPod touch users had to pay for system software updates. Apple claimed that this was the case, because the iPod touch was not a 'subscription device' like the iPhone (i.e. it was a one-off purchase). Apple claimed it had 'found a way' to deliver software updates for free to iPod touch users at WWDC 2010, when iOS 4 was unveiled.
FoldersWith iOS 4 came the introduction of a simple folder system. When applications are in "jiggle mode", any two (with the exception of Newsstand in iOS 5 and later, which acts like a folder) can be dragged on top of each other to create a folder, and from then on, more apps can be added to the folder using the same procedure, up to 12 on iPhone 4S and earlier and iPod touch, 16 on iPhone 5, and 20 on iPad. A title for the folder is automatically selected by the category of applications inside, but the name can also be edited by the user. When apps inside folders receive badges, the numbers shown by the badges is added up and shown on the folder. Folders can't be put into other folders, but through exploiting iOS glitches, Newsstand and other folders can be forced to be placed into a folder. This is handy for some users who find the Newsstand functionality useless. However, upon attempting to open a folder/the Newsstand within a folder, the SpringBoard will crash.
Notification CenterBefore iOS 5, notifications were delivered in blue dialog box. This system of notification management was greatly criticised. In the iOS 5 update, the notifications feature was completely redesigned. Notifications collate in a window which can be dragged down from the top of the screen. If a user touches a received notification, the application that sent the notification will be opened. Notifications are now delivered in small banners that appear over the status bar. The old method of delivering notifications is still available from Notification Settings if the user wishes to enable it for some or all applications.
When an app sends a notification whilst closed, a red badge will appear on its icon. This badge tells the user, at a glance, how many notifications that app has sent. Opening the app clears the badge.