History of iOS

History of iOS


iOS was introduced with the original iPhone
over a decade ago, and has since become a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives. But there are some things about the operating
system that you may not know, like the fact that Apple initially developed it for the
iPad, not the iPhone. But since its release in 2007, iOS has not
only become one of the most powerful mobile operating systems in the world, but it’s
helped reshape the entire tech industry. iOS has transcended the iPhone to become an
integral part of multiple apple products, with underpinnings of the operating system
present in the Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. And its influence on software in other products
like cars, appliances, kiosks, and even vending machines are undeniable. So in this video we’re going to explore
the history of iOS and find out why it’s one of the most important operating systems
ever made. This is Greg with Apple Explained, and if
you want to help decide which topics I cover, make sure you’re subscribed and these voting
polls will show up in your mobile activity feed. So iOS started off as what we might consider
today a very basic operating system, only capable of specific functions like playing
music, browsing the internet, sending texts, and making calls. After all, the original iPhone only had 15
apps, and the App Store hadn’t been invented yet so there weren’t any third party applications
available. But at the time, iPhone’s OS was considered
to be the most advanced mobile operating system ever built, and it took Apple years to create. Not only had there never been a mass-market
touch-based operating system before, but Apple had never even made a mobile phone. So they were creating the iPhone’s hardware
and software all from scratch. Although this turned out to be for the best,
since the iPhone’s software would be perfectly optimized for its hardware, and deliver a
user experience that no one had ever expected on a mobile device. But the roots of iOS actually go back further
than the iPhone, because Apple was actually working on a multitouch tablet, the iPad,
before a smartphone. And it wasn’t until Steve Jobs saw inertial
scrolling running on a large multitouch display that he realized the software was perfectly
suited for a small mobile phone. That’s when Apple put the tablet project
on hold and decided to start working on the iPhone instead, which would eventually lead
to the first version of iOS. Now I should mention Apple never actually
gave the iPhone’s operating system a name until the second version, which they dubbed
iPhone OS 2. And it’s name wouldn’t change to iOS until
the fourth version in 2010. But despite not having a name, iPhone OS 1
became widely-recognized and respected the day it was introduced. Primarily because it redefined what a smartphone
was capable of. And I think it’s important to remember what
smartphone software looked like before the iPhone. Here’s one of the most popular mobile phones
of 2006, the BlackBerry 8700. You might think it looks more like a pager
than a smartphone, but this BlackBerry was incredibly popular and represented the most
advanced technology on the market at the time. That may come as a surprise since its operating
system looks so archaic, but it did have more functionality than standard, less expensive
cell phones. Its advertised features included things like
internet browsing, email, and music playback. But the interface was so clumsy and its technology
was so limited that very few people took advantage of all its capabilities. In fact, here’s what its internet browser
looked like. So you can see why people would rather’ve
used their computers for any serious web browsing. And that’s exactly why, when Jobs introduced
the iPhone, he said other smartphones have baby internet and baby email, whereas the
iPhone delivered a desktop-class experience that rivaled computers. And that was a serious assertion to make back
then, since mobile devices were nowhere near as powerful as desktop computers. Now I should mention that there were limitations
to iPhone OS 1. For example, it didn’t have Adobe Flash,
which used to be a very popular web media format used to create internet applications,
websites, web browser video players, among other things. And this meant you’d come across holes in
websites where flash was being used. Apple gave a few reasons why they decided
not to run flash on iOS. First, it was a very buggy format that was
known to crash frequently, even on desktop computers. Second, Flash was not power efficient, which
caused battery drain on mobile devices like iPhones. And lastly, it was slow and old. With its technology dating back to the mid
90s. So instead of including Flash on iOS, Apple
decided to bet on HTML5 instead. It was a more modern format that could be
used for some aspect of web content, although the technology was much different from Flash. This turned out to be the right move for Apple,
since Adobe announced in 2017 that that’d be killing Flash in 2020, due to the transition
to HTML5. But despite some limitations, iPhone OS 1
was a leapfrog operating system that far outstripped anything its competitors were doing. More importantly, it set the stage for new
players to enter the smartphone market with similar advanced touch screen devices that
traditional phone manufactures were, at the time, unwilling to make. Mainly because companies like Blackberry and
Microsoft were convinced that business customers needed smartphones with physical keyboards. And not only was this assumption a critical
mistake, but it demonstrated how being stuck in traditional ways of thinking can cloud
your understanding of where the future is headed. Even when it was staring them right in the
face with the iPhone. Looking back, it’s easy for us to see iPhone
OS 1 and saying “that was definitely the future of technology.” But back in 2007, that would’ve been a very
controversial statement. Some might say the iPhone was simply a toy
for people who don’t understand how to use real smartphones. They might say a touch-based operating system
doesn’t make sense for a mobile device since it needs the precision of a stylus. And one of my favorite criticisms of the iPhone
from a friend in high school was “who would want to touch their phone’s screen all the
time? It’s going to get so many fingerprints.” And this is where I think the iPhone and its
OS doesn’t get enough credit. They single handedly convinced an entire industry
that the way they’d been doing things for the past thirty years was wrong. Mobile phones aren’t meant to have dozens
of plastic buttons that take up half of the device. No one cares if they have fingerprints on
their screen. A software keyboard is something you can get
acclimated to and perhaps even type better on with features like predictive text and
swipe keyboards. And once people became receptive to these
new concepts, other companies were able to explore similar approaches to their products. And this is how the touch screen era was born. Not only did other smartphone makers adopt
multi touch displays, but they also began appearing in things like appliances, computers,
and cars. Now when it came to iOS, Apple began iterating
on it every year. And one of the most notable additions came
in iPhone OS 2 with the App Store. A concept that Steve Jobs was initially opposed
to, since he thought third party developers should simply create web apps instead. Well, the App Store turned out to be a huge
hit, and allowed for a vibrant app ecosystem that to this day remains a big reason why
people choose iPhone. But I should mention a phenomenon that occurred
in the early days of iOS that young people today may not know about, and it was called
jailbreaking. You see, Apple has always been known to take
time when implementing new software features. So as competitors like Google were adding
features like custom wallpaper, multitasking, and cut copy and paste to their Android mobile
operating system, iPhone users were forced to wait on Apple to introduce similar features
to iOS. And because of this high demand to access
more advanced functionality, it became fairly common for iPhone users to jailbreak their
device. This would remove Apple’s software restrictions
and allow installation of software that wasn’t available through the App Store. A program called Cydia allowed users to download
apps, games, and even operating system tweaks. You could change the layout of the home screen,
download ad-blockers, and customize the keyboard. Jailbreaking was a very important part of
the development of iOS. Because although Apple heavily discouraged
users from doing it, there were some features borrowed from the jailbreak community and
implemented natively on iOS. Things like screen recording, a customizable
control center, one handed keyboard, QR code scanning, and Files were all features that
originated in jailbroken iPhones. And I actually think this helped Apple understand
what features their users wanted most since they could simply see what Jailbreak tweaks
were most popular. Now today Jailbreaking isn’t nearly as popular
as it once was. Mainly because iOS has absorbed many of those
advanced functionalities that users wanted, giving users less reasons to Jailbreak in
the first place. Now today iOS is about more than just the
iPhone. It runs as a slightly modified OS on the iPad,
and provided the groundwork needed to create watch and tvOS. And although the Mac’s operating system
has existed for decades, it’s being influenced by iOS more and more with every annual update. In fact, Apple recently introduced Project
Catalyst. Which would allow developers to bring iPad
apps to the Mac. It’s a huge step in the direction of universal
apps which would not only result in more high quality apps being available on the Mac, but
hopefully mean more capable, desktop-class applications for the iPad. And while Apple has made it clear that they
don’t intend on merging MacOS and iPadOS, they are trying to make all of their operating
systems work together as seamlessly as possible. But iOS’s influence has reached further
than the Mac or Apple Watch. Take a look at some of the touch-based software
we’re seeing in products I mentioned earlier. Kiosks at McDonalds and even newer vending
machines are designed to function like a touchscreen smartphone. Cars like the Tesla Model 3 have taken a very
software-centric approach to its functionality. Eliminating nearly all traditional buttons
and dials, in favor of a large display powered by a multi-touch operating system. Sound familiar? iOS essentially started what I call the touch
era of technology. Where software is designed around our finger
instead of a cursor or stylus. And I think that makes it one of the most
influential operating systems ever made. So in order to show some appreciation for
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see you next time.