iOS

What Does iOS Mean?

IOS is a mobile operating system for Apple-manufactured devices. iOS runs on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV.

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iOS is best known for serving as the underlying software that allows iPhone users to interact with their phones using gestures such as swiping, tapping and pinching. These finger actions are typically performed on multitouch capacitive touch screen displays, which provide fast response and accept inputs from multiple fingers. Although it is not the No. 1 mobile OS globally, iOS dominates the North American market by a large margin, with a 60 percent market share as of May 2010.

Techopedia Explains iOS

iOS is derived from Mac OS X and is a Unix-like OS. There are four abstraction layers within iOS:

  • Core OS Layer: Provides low-level features as well as frameworks for security and interaction with external hardware
  • Core Services Layer: Provides services required by upper layers
  • Media Layer: Provides the necessary technologies for graphics, audio and video.
  • Coca Touch Layer: Where frameworks are located, which are often used when creating an application

iOS comes with a lot of default apps, including an email client, a Safari Web browser, a portable media player (iPod) and the phone app.

Developers can use the iOS software development kit (SDK) to create applications for Apple mobile devices. The SDK includes tools and interfaces for developing, installing, running and testing apps. Native apps can be written using the iOS system frameworks and the Objective-C programming language. Included in the iOS SDK are Xcode Tools, which include an integrated development environment (IDE) for managing application projects, a graphical tool for creating the user interface and a debugging tool for analyzing runtime performance. It also includes an iOS simulator, which allows developers to test apps on a Mac, and an iOS developer library, which provides all the necessary documentation and reference material.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.