What it is: iOS is a mobile operating system based on OS X. It was originally designed for the iPhone but later extended to run on multiple devices including the iPod touch, the iPad, Apple Watch, CarPlay, and Apple TV.
Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, the most dominant operating system on the planet was Microsoft Windows. If you wanted to write a letter, balance a budget, browse the Internet, send e-mail, or play a game, Windows was your best choice. Then Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 and ushered in the era of mobile computing.
To run the iPhone, Apple created a brand new operating system called iOS (originally called iPhone OS), based partially on OS X. While OS X and iOS software are incompatible, they share many similarities that makes writing software for OS X and iOS simple.
Unlike OS X, iOS omits a file management system and a UNIX-like shell. That makes iOS less confusing for novices to use. When paired up with Apple’s own series of ARM-based processors, iOS is a streamlined, 64-bit operating system nearly as powerful as today’s desktop computers.
More importantly, iOS is flexible and powerful enough to handle applications typically associated with desktop operating systems such as video game playing, desktop publishing, and video editing. By giving users the power of desktop computers in a mobile device, iOS made the iPhone and iPad popular.
Unlike the old days when people bought PCs and knew they had to learn how to use Windows, most people bought iPhones and iPads and didn’t even care what operating system they were using. All they wanted to know was how to use their devices.
Because iOS made using a computer simple and intuitive, few people even care about iOS, which is exactly what you want an operating system to do — hide in the background and help the user accomplish tasks that they couldn’t do without a computer.
As the iPhone dominated the smartphone market, iOS became one of the most popular smartphone operating systems. As the iPad dominated the tablet market, it further cemented iOS’s reputation as a popular mobile operating system. As Apple uses iOS in the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and CarPlay, you can expect iOS to dominate the wearable computing market, the TV market, and the in-dash automotive entertainment market.
With software frameworks designed for home automation (HomeKit), health monitoring (HealthKit), and medical research data collection (ResearchKit), iOS has expanded into the home automation market, health care market, and medical research markets.
That means the future of operating systems is now iOS. If you stay with Windows, you’ll have access to the desktop PC market, but if you focus on iOS, you’ll have access to the smartphone, tablet, wearable, TV, health, and car markets. iOS is simply the future operating system of tomorrow.
Unlike other operating systems like Windows, you won’t need to take a class or read a book just to learn how to use iOS. iOS is simple enough to use that it works invisibly in the background, allowing you to focus your time on being productive. For the first time, the emphasis in the computer market is no longer learning the operating system but on using applications.
For developers, the future clearly lies with iOS. For ordinary users, iOS will soon be powering so many different devices that can work seamlessly with one another that it will simply give people more of an incentive not to use any other operating systems such as Android or Windows.
With Windows, the operating system represented a learning barrier that people had to conquer before they could be productive. With iOS, the operating system fades into the background so you can be productive right away. You don’t have to learn iOS in the same way that you had to learn Windows to be productive. All you have to do is buy and use iOS devices that can work together and help you become more productive with less hassle.
You won’t see an “iOS For Dummies” book on the market because iOS is invisible. For the first time, people can focus on the devices they want to use (household items, television sets, mobile devices, wearable computers, and automotive entertainment systems) than the software that makes it possible.
For that reason, iOS is a giant, revolutionary leap forward. People don’t want to learn operating systems. People want to achieve results, and the software that will help people be productive now and in the future will largely be iOS.