iOS (originally iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. and distributed exclusively for Apple hardware. It is the operating system that presently powers many of the company’s mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It is the second most popular mobile operating system in the world by sales, after Android. iPad tablets are also the second most popular, by sales, against Android since 2013, when Android tablet sales increased by 127%.
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 iPad Mini (November 2012). As of January 2015, Apple’s App Store contained more than 1.4 million iOS applications, 725,000 of which are native for iPads. These mobile appshave collectively been downloaded more than 100 billion times.
The iOS user interface 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 between portrait and landscape mode).
iOS shares with OS X some frameworks such as Core Foundation and Foundation Kit, however, its UI toolkit isCocoa Touch rather than OS X’s Cocoa, so that it provides the UIKit framework rather than the AppKit framework. Therefore, it is not compatible with OS X for applications. Also, while iOS shares the Darwin foundation with OS X,Unix-like shell access is not available for users and restricted for apps, preventing iOS from being fully Unix-compatible.
Major versions of iOS are released annually. The current release, iOS 9.3.3, was released on July 18, 2016. 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 9), dedicates around 1.3 GB of the device’s flash memory for iOS itself. It runs on the iPhone 4S and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad Pro, all models of the iPad Mini, and the 5th-generation iPod Touch and later.