The iPhone is four years old today. Along with the iPhone, iOS is celebrating its fourth year in existence. It originally helped set the tone for modern mobile operating systems and has become one of the main ones alongside Android.
It's time to look at iOS through the years
1) iPhone OS 1
Originally released with the iPhone on June 29th, 2007, iPhone OS was based on OS X, but built for a mobile phone. It felt more advanced than many other mobile operating systems at the time. It was much faster and cleaner than Windows Mobile, which at the time was trying to emulate the desktop. Really, it was early at this point. It was basically like using an iPod with a phone interface. It had a few extra features, but even as nice as it felt at the time, it was nowhere near as deep as we'd expect today. What a difference four years makes.
2) iPhone OS 2
This was released alongside the iPhone 3G. It let you view MS Office and iWork attachments and gave users more support for necessary smartphone features such as push notifications for email and calendars. It also let you scroll through the contacts quickly through the icon. Most importantly, this one added the App Store.
3) iPhone OS 3
iPhone OS 3 came with the iPhone 3GS. By this time, iPhone OS 2 was missing some key features that the competitors had, and Apple made up for it. It added the much-needed cut, copy and paste. Turn-by-turn navigation was added. YouTube integration was improved as well as recent call details. The camera added video recording.
4) iOS 4
First, was the name change. It became iOS to reflect its use on other mobile devices (iPad and iPod touch). It was released close to the iPhone 4. It added some of the most important updates yet: multitasking, FaceTime, iBooks, Folders, GameCenter and several more. AirPlay and Mobile Hotspot were also introduced during the lifetime of iOS 4.
5) iOS 5
iOS 5 adds more key features. It's currently only available to developers, but it looks promising and Apple is gearing up for the fall 2011 release. Most notable are the improved notification system, which show up through Notification Center, iMessage (which lets iPhone users message other friends on iOS. This will not be counted as part of your text messaging plan with your carrier) Newsstand will house your digital subscriptions. Also cool is Reminders, which will work as a to-do list and can be set to remind you based on the time or your location. For instance, if you want to call your mom when you get home, you can set the iPhone to remind you as you get home that it's time to give Mom a call.
It also adds Twitter integration and an instantly-accessable camera (icon on the lock screen). There is also basic photo editing and the ability to sync over wifi. Then of course there is iCloud.
Mobile Operating Systems
It's crazy to look back and compare it to what we have now. It's even cooler to think back at what desktop operating systems were like several years ago and compare it to what is now available on a phone.
We are sure that iOS will continue to improve, especially with the increased pressure from all the other mobile OSes that are fighting for a piece of the Apple pie. It's a great time for smartphone users.