Here is how iOS evolved over the past 6 years
The year is 2007. Steve Jobs is on stage unveiling a new, revolutionary product with a name we are all so familiar with today – the iPhone. It looks nothing like a smartphone, or at least not like the smartphones we knew back then, for it had no hardware keyboard, a spacious, touch-sensitive screen, and ran a software platform that was sleek and highly simplified.
We surely recall that day as if it was yesterday, just like some of you do as well. And since iOS 6.0 was unveiled yesterday, what better moment to go back in time and see how it all began? Today we present you with a brief retrospection of iOS and the way it evolved over the years. Yup, we are calling it iOS, even though the platform was not referred to by that name until its fourth major release.
So let's go back in time and see how limited iOS was at first, and yet how it stood out from the rest with its smooth performance, intuitiveness, and attention to detail. Just flick through the slideshow below, and do not hesitate to share with us which major release you think was most significant.
Technically, the very first iPhone OS release was inferior to the competition in many aspects. There was no support for native third-party applications, no multitasking, no access to the file system, and not even a copy/paste feature. Yet for many users, that did not matter a single bit. The platform was radically different from the rest – elegant, fluid, incredibly user-friendly, with a great media player, and probably the best browser one could find on a hand-held device at the time. In a nutshell, Apple showed everyone how a real smartphone platform should look and behave.
With iPhone OS 2, Apple finally filled a massive void in its ecosystem by allowing native third party apps to be installed. That could be done through the App Store, in which developers were invited to publish their software. Sure, there was no other place to get apps from, which is something that perhaps many did not like, yet the tight ecosystem control is why the number of applications that were actually good was pretty high.
There were no groundbreaking features present in iPhone OS 3, rather mostly things that users had been requesting for a long time. Like MMS support for example, a landscape on-screen keyboard, and the ability to copy and paste text. This is also the version, with which push notifications for third-party apps were introduced, along with internet sharing over Bluetooth or USB.
We have to include iPhone OS 3.2 on the list as well since this is what the very first iPad model ran on its release. The main idea behind this incremental update was to adapt the platform to run on the tablet's display and to make its interface look just as eye-pleasing as it did on an iPhone. In addition to the boatload of visual tweaks, Apple also used this iPhone OS release to introduce iBooks, where people could browse and purchase titles straight from their mobile device.
To start, this is the first time when iOS was actually referred to as iOS. Without a doubt, the most notable iOS 4 feature was the introduction of multitasking – something that users had been wanting for a long time. This is also the version, in which FaceTime video chat was introduced, along with the Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, and the rest were just minor tweaks here and there.
iOS 5 felt a bit more like a proper major update. We met Siri for the first time – the voice-activated personal assistant that is mostly regarded as a gimmick, but is actually quite useful when it comes to performing some mundane tasks. The notification center was another welcome addition as it is one of the things that iOS sorely needed to improve upon. And how can we not mention iMessage, which made iOS users exchange endless texts at no charge? The list of goodies goes on and on, with Twitter integration, iCloud, over-the-air updates, and wireless iTunes sync being among the rest of noteworthy features.
Well, iOS 6 is now official too, and the highlight of this new version is the new Maps application, which ditches Google Maps in favor of Apple's own solution. Also, we now have Facebook deeply integrated within iOS, thus making Apple's iGadgets more social than ever. In addition, iPad owners will get to enjoy the Siri experience. And speaking of Siri, she is now knowledgeable in sports, restaurants, and movies, which makes her more useful than ever. The list of new features goes on and on, right down to the 200 mark.