iOS (known as iPhone OS prior to June 2010) is Apple’s mobile operating system. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support other Apple devices such as the iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV. Apple does not license iOS for installation on third-party hardware. As of January 14, 2011, Apple’s App Store contains more than 300,000 iOS applications, which have collectively been downloaded more than 10 billion times. Its latest version recently air to be updated is the iOS 4.3.
The user interface of iOS is based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interface control elements consist of sliders, switches, and buttons. The response to user input is immediate and provides a fluid interface. 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 or rotating it in three dimensions.
On the surface, iOS 4.3 looks very similar to iOS 4.2. It features Apple’s simple, yet elegant app grid and, of course, the same impressive ease of use. Overall, the updated iPad OS is superior to the Honeycomb Android operating system found on the Motorola Xoom, due to a better all-around OS polish and app catalog.