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The evolution of iOS from 2007 to the present [WWDC Special History]

My partner Pedro Santamaria gave us a tour of the history of Mac OS X a few days ago, but to prepare ourselves completely for tomorrow’s event we can’t forget his little brother, the mobile operating system presented alongside the original iPhone and mainly responsible for the company’s current success.

Join us on a time travel where we will see the evolution of iOS since 2007 through Apple’s developer conferences. From an operating system that turned the industry upside down even without being able to copy and paste, to the latest version, its break with Google and good friends with Facebook and Twitter.

iPhone OS 1 (June 2007 together with the original iPhone)

The evolution of iOS from 2007 to the present [WWDC Special History]
The evolution of iOS from 2007 to the present [WWDC Special History]

Cover of Time magazine as the invention of the year under descriptions as difficult to discuss as “The phone that has changed phones forever” , the original iPhone fell like a bomb in 2007. Even after its introduction, no one expected it to have such an impact on the industry, but you only have to walk around a mobile shop today to admit the reality.

That first version had great shortcomings, but also great successes such as its email and Internet browsing applications, a player worthy of the iPod family name and a revolutionary multi-touch interface as intuitive as it is versatile with dozens of details never before seen: a touch keyboard that you could really use, the inertial lists, the bounce? Google Maps and Youtube were also part of the standard apps, but the only way for other developers to reach the iPhone was through web applications.

iPhone OS 2 (June 2008 together with iPhone 3G)

The second version focused on polishing many of the details that had been left in the inkwell so that the original iPhone could be launched on time. It accompanied the iPhone 3G, the first model to cross US borders and reach countries such as Spain, and its most significant new feature was the launch of the App Store and support for native third-party applications .

Again, it was a success and in just two months the App Store had over 3,000 apps that had been downloaded 100 million times. A year later, they would become more than 85,000 apps and 2 billion downloads. This is unprecedented for a digital app store that would be quickly imitated by the competition.

Other exciting new features in this version included the ability to view Microsoft Office and iWork attachments in Mail, play Youtube videos directly from Safari, push synchronization of email, calendar, and contacts, geo-tagging of photos taken with the camera, security enhancements such as support for WPA2802.1X or remote wipe, and the ability to take screenshots.

iPhone OS 3 (June 2009 together with iPhone 3GS)

With over 100 new features, the star new feature of this version was undoubtedly the expected copy (or cut) and paste function, but it was not the only one: support for MMS messages; search with Spotlight ; landscape keyboard for apps like Mail, Messages, Notes and Safari; GPS API enhancements to allow turn-by-turn navigation; new apps like the Digital Compass, Voice Notes or Find My iPhone; video recording on the 3GS with easy editing/sharing options and innovative one-touch focus control.

Safari also switched to HTML5 support and made major improvements to its JavaScrit engine, increasing its speed by 3-16 times depending on the case. In addition, it was finally able to auto-complete form fields with our information.

Push notifications for third-party applications, voice control, Nike+ support, and accessibility options with features such as VoiceOver were also introduced in this version.

iOS 4 (June 2010 with iPhone 4)

Probably the most ambitious version of iOS released to date, iOS 4 was renamed to signal that it was no longer just a phone to also encompass the iPad and iPod touch. “Everything changes again, again” .

More than 100 new features and 1,500 new developer APIs to unleash the full power of iPhone 4 Multitasking , folders, FaceTime (at the time, over Wi-Fi only), Game Center , support for the first Retina display in the apple (four times the resolution of iPhone 3GS), expanded support for business, major improvements in Mail, custom wallpapers, support for Bluetooth keyboards, HDR photo mode, and new apps such as iMovie and iBooks . A great version.

iOS 5 (October 2011 with iPhone 4S)

A sad year. This was the last presentation in which we enjoyed Steve Jobs’ presence before his death four months later and it is impossible to ignore that his state of health was already tremendously delicate at that time.

As for iOS 5, what to say, the Notification Center, iMessage, iCloud and Siri were the big news in this version which also premiered the Reminders, Twitter integration and a host of improvements to the Camera app including direct access from the lock screen, the ability to use the volume button as a trigger, or more photo editing features. In total 200 new features that in Spain left us with a bittersweet taste because of the late and incomplete arrival of Siri in our language overshadowing other important developments such as wireless synchronization with iTunes and the end of dependence on a computer to configure iOS devices.

iOS 6 (September 2012 with iPhone 5)

Especial WWDC 2013

The last presentation of Scott Forstall, the former senior vice president of iOS Software before his fall from grace just a year after the death of his main ally in the company, Steve Jobs. Bugs with the launch of the new Maps service (with a notably more advanced app but with bump errors against the Google Maps data used until then) didn’t help him in the internal power struggle that was developing over the future of iOS and from which Jonathan Ive ended up emerging victorious.

In addition, iOS 6 brought us some interesting new features such as a vitaminised Siri in Spanish at last, integration with Facebook , the Photo Sharing function in Streaming via iCloud, Passbook , Some really remarkable refinements in basic phone functions (like sending default messages when you hang up a call), tab synchronization in Safari between all our computers and devices, panoramic photos up to 28 megapixels as standard with iPhone 4S or higher, and a lot of small but necessary details.

iOS 7 (June 2013)

And with this we arrive at the present, the end of the history and the beginning of the future of iOS with a new version that we will know in only 24 hours and of which, at least, a marked washing of face is expected that releases a more modern and minimalist interface with the quality seal of Jonathan Ive , the vice president of industrial design of Apple and for eight months also responsible for human interface. I leave you with the words of Tim Cook in October 2012 announcing the restructuring of the company that will mark the next version of the operating system for Apple’s mobile devices:

It’s time to see if it’s been worth the wait.

At Apple