On the fifth anniversary for the iPhone and as we draw closer to the release of iOS 6 this fall (read our First Take from WWDC here), I can't help but think of how far Apple's iOS has come since the day the first iPhone was unveiled.
If you remember, that first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs and Apple on January 9, 2007, and was more about the touch-screen interface than any extras, but it wasn't until June of that year the iPhone was released to the public. That first iOS wasn't even called iOS (Apple said the phone was running a version of OS X), and was simply the iPhone OS. This early operating system just had what we know today as the core apps -- basics such as Safari, E-mail, Maps, Notes, and a few others. It's hard to believe with how important the App Store is today, but it wasn't until iPhone OS 2.0 that the iTunes App Store was even introduced and still took a while to really get off the ground as app developers experimented with the new device.
Regardless of what smartphone you use now, what Apple did with the first iPhone and its operating system was to put the smartphone into the hands of the casual user. It also pioneered the idea that the smartphone operating system was an evolution that would continue to improve incrementally over time and made iPhone users always want to know, "What will be in the next release?" The first iPhone had almost nothing beyond the fancy touch-screen interface, but over time, Apple listened to users and slowly crossed off the items on our iOS wish lists (while adding new features we hadn't thought of along the way).
It certainly wasn't perfect in the early days, however. Most probably remember the absence of important features in the earlier iterations of the iPhone OS like copy and paste and later multitasking. These were not just glaring omissions, but fodder for advertisers of competing devices in ads trying to win people over to Android devices and other smartphones.
On this five-year anniversary, check out how it all began for the iPhone OS and the steps it took to bring us where we are today. I'm not covering every release here, but instead showing the features added by the time the next major version was released. With that in mind, check out the major updates to Apple's iOS over the past five years.
|OS version||Release |
|iPhone OS 1.0 (initial release) ||June 2007|
|iPhone OS 1.0.1 - 1.1.4||Beginning in September 2007|
|iPhone OS 2.0 ||July 2008|
|iPhone OS 2.0.1 - 2.2.1 ||Beginning in September 2008|
|iPhone OS 3.0 ||June 2009|
|iPhone OS 3.1 - 3.2 ||Beginning in September 2009|
|iOS 4.0 ||June 2010 |
|iOS 4.1 - 4.3.5 ||Beginning in September 2010 |
|iOS 5.0||October 2011 |
|iOS 5.1||March 2012 |
iOS 6 (coming this fall)
iOS 6 was announced at this year's WWDC (read our First Take) and will probably be released this fall to coincide with the unveiling of the new iPhone. Scott Forstall, Apple's SVP of iOS, promised that iOS 6 would bring 200 new features, including tighter Facebook integration, an empowered Siri voice assistant, and the capability to conduct FaceTime calls over a cellular network. But the biggest new feature is Apple's decision to replace the current Google Maps app with an in-house version with a whole new look, 3D city views, and turn-by-turn navigation with voice.