iOS: Then and Now…

With all the hype about Apple’s latest iOS update, it was decided that, after all these years, it’s time to look back on the first few iOS systems and see how far the tech giant has advanced. So, without further ado, here are the progressions of five major features that have not only defined the iOS user’s experience, but have also defined Apple as a company.


Apple has been known from the beginning to be a company that incorporates top-notch functionality with seamless user interface. Apple wanted to minimize any and all friction between the user and its product from the creation of the company. The first iOS boasted a black backdrop to frame the square-like icons, with their rounded edges, their small names, and their pristine pictures. Today, the user is able to add a touch of personality to his or her screen with the addition of wallpapers. Every Apple product has a crisp, clear wallpaper that tells a short anecdote about them. Most products that Apple makes even showcase the Parallax effect, a feature where a tilt of the phone sends the apps sliding across the screen in the direction of the angle. The default apps have shed their old, grainy visages and revealed sleek, glossy appearances. Everything from clicking and dragging to tapping and typing has become quick and responsive. In fact, with the latest release of iOS 8, users are no longer confined to Apple’s standard keyboard. Third-party keyboards can now be installed and used in place of the standard Apple keyboard. Being one of what might become many instances in which Apple has allowed users to import third-party software, this new feature hasn’t just provided more letters for users to type with. It has opened the door for millions of possibilities…


Whereas Apple once amazed people with products that could only run one operation, one tap at a time, Apple continues to mesmerize people today with interfaces that seem to push the limits of the iPhone, the iPod, and the iPad. Users can now multitask by keeping multiple apps open and running at once. They can now switch effortlessly between two apps that pick up right where the user left off. Along with the addition of multitasking, Apple has added multi-touch capability and has continued to exploit the user’s every swipe, tap, and touch to create new opportunities. User’s can now use multiple fingers at once to perform operations on their device without experiencing any delay in performance. However, Apple continues to improve the capabilities of one-finger operations. For example, an earlier iOS system would receive a text message and alert the user with a sound or vibration. The user would have to quit the app they were currently using, hunt down the Messages app and type a response. Today, a new message will prompt a banner to drop down in the top of the screen, allowing the user to view the message’s details without getting interrupted from their current task. A simple swipe towards the bottom of the screen will summon the keyboard and a reply can be sent in seconds.


The functionality of the iOS system has not only improved the user’s experience with default apps. The App Store has ballooned since its creation, with the addition of user-designed apps. Before, the core iOS applications were the only apps that a user could operate. Today, apps for almost every function populate every corner of the App Store, from games and entertainment applications, to productivity and lifestyle applications. Apps provide outlets for Internet services, so that mobile device users have an easy, reliable way to access the Internet service without having to find their webpage and scroll around on the smaller screen. The App Store has become a huge monolith, not only for users, but also for developers. Programmers from all over the world now have the opportunity and freedom to open XCode, the compiler used to execute code for iOS apps, and use their imagination to create something new. By exposing the apps to the world, Apple has tapped the huge resource that is the myriad of programmers, eager to generate tools that make our lives easier.


Apple’s products have always been about providing for the user. However, their products have also had the effect of bringing users together. Apple has created a countless amount of features that have helped bring people closer and they have all been easy and helpful to use. In earlier devices, a phone calls and messages were the only bridge between the huge amounts of people with Apple devices. Today, on top of those vastly improved features, users have the ability to use FaceTime, a futuristic app that connects two Apple devices by relying solely on an Internet connection. The users of both devices have the ability to see each other’s face and converse with each other as if they were actually getting real face time with the other person and having a conversation with them. Also, Apple has created AirDrop, a service that allows users of Apple devices to “drop” or instantly send large files to other users in the immediate vicinity without having to utilize contact information. The AirDrop menu instantly provides the names of the nearby devices capable of receiving an AirDrop. Finally, Apple created iMessage, an added feature to Messages that allowed users to send messages to Apple devices that were incapable of sending or receiving Text Messages.


Apple has constantly been about helping users connect with their devices. However, if you were to purchase an Apple device right now, upon opening the device, it would immediately start on its journey to better understand one person: you. Apple’s old devices never really had any settings to personalize a user’s Apple experience. However, new devices have been equipped with capabilities and software that allows the device to connect with you on a level like never before. Whereas old devices were protected with the security of a four-digit password, new devices are equipped with software that recognizes the human fingerprint! The Fingerprint Scanner is one of the most popular features in recent devices and continues to gain popularity as Apple improves the intelligence and security of the Scanner. Also, devices are now equipped with HealthKit. In previous devices, an app for a pedometer could be installed and the user would instantly be able to track steps that they took while they had the device in their pocket. However, Apple decided to outdo themselves again and make HealthKit, a personalized assistant that keeps track of all health related events that the user experiences. HealthKit then generates reports for user performance and health.

In short, Apple has come a long way with the iOS system and they continue to amaze us to this day. On that note, we salute Apple in hopes that they continue to improve their devices and software so that these devices and software can continue to improve our lives.

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