The term “iOS” (where ‘i’ stands for Internet, while the ‘OS’ stands for Operating System) was initially known as “iPhone OS” and was introduced in 2007 along with the first iPhone hardware device released by Apple, Inc. It used to describe the software that would operate the iPhone and was gleaned from the term “OS X” – Apple’s ‘operating system’ for its Macintosh computers. Here the “X” stands for 10, which was the newest version of the computer software that Apple created to operate their desktop and laptop computers.
However, the ‘iOS’ platform is basically a mobile-device-based software system trained to work like a computer system, only on mobile devices such as portable phones. Needless to say, it was designed to be smaller and faster as also to consume lesser power. Moreover, it had a ‘touch’ friendly user interface, thus working better when a finger was used to interface with the system, as against the conventional mouse or stylus that were earlier in vogue. The iPhone, incidentally, had run on iOS ever since its release in 2007. Nevertheless, for the sake of history, it may be noted that later on, iPhone was no longer the only device to run on iOS.
- As earlier mentioned, apple released the first version of what became known as iOS, along with its first iPhone on June 29, 2007.
- July 11, 2008 witnessed the public release of iPhone OS 2.0, when upgrades through version 2.2.1 was also made available.
- Roughly a year after, i.e. on June 17, 2009 became the release date for iPhone OS 3.0. However, the next update, i.e. version 3.1.3 was released on February 2, 2010. Significantly enough, the first generation iPod Touch and iPhone both had iPhone OS 3.1.3 as their current available version. However, the iPad was broached with iPhone OS 3.2 and later updated to 3.2.2 which was specifically made for the iPad.
- iOS 4.0 that was launched on June 21, 2010, incidentally, was made available only to the iPod Touch and the iPhone. However, with the highly anticipated multitasking feature, iOS 4.0 was known to have more than 1500 new APIs for developers. But the iPod Touch (2nd generation) and iPhone (3G) had iOS 4.2.1 as the final version. Nevertheless, many features are not available for the iPhone 3G or iPod Touch (2nd generation), such as multitasking and home screen backgrounds. iOS 4.2 is the first version to bring major feature parity to the iPhone and iPad. The release of the CDMA iPhone for Verizon Wireless saw a branching of iOS. The 4.2 version sequence continued for the CDMA phone while 4.3 was released for all other products.
- June 2011 could be deemed as a red letter day for Apple as on 6th of June that year Apple previewed iOS 5, Apple TV 4.4 beta and the iOS SDK 5 beta, along with iCloud beta and similar products. This update also brought in iMessage chat between devices running iOS 5, a new Notification System, Newsstand subscriptions, Twitter integrated into iOS, Remindres app, Enhancements to AirPlay, full integration with iCloud covering more than 200 new features. iOS 5, to tell you frankly, had just three minor additions – 5.0.1; 5.1 and 5.1.1 that were all provided as OTA software update.
- As of October 23, 2011, two versions of iOS were never released. iOS 1.2, which after the first beta was replaced by a 2.0 version number; the second beta was called 2.0b2 instead of 1.2b2. The other was iOS 4.2, replaced with 4.2.1 due to a Wi-Fi bug in 4.2 beta 3, causing Apple to release 2 more golden master (4.2 GM and 4.2.1 GM).
- As of the current picture, i.e. February 4, 2014, iOS 7.1 beta 5, it covers iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPod Touch (5th generation), iPad 2, iPad (3rd generation, iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad Mini (1st generation) and iPad Mini (2nd generation).