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Mobile Application Platforms

iPhone and iPad Applications Development

iOS (previously iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc. and distributed exclusively for Apple hardware. It is the operating system that powers many of the company’s iDevices.

Originally unveiled in 2007 for the iPhone, it has been extended to support other Apple devices such as the iPod Touch (September 2007), iPad (January 2010), iPad Mini (November 2012) and second-generation Apple TV onward (September 2010). As of June 2014, Apple’s App Store contained more than 1.2 million iOS applications, 500,000 of which were optimized for iPad. These apps have collectively been downloaded more than 60 billion times. It had a 21% share of the smartphone mobile operating system units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012, behind Google’s Android. By the middle of 2012, there were 410 million devices activated. According to the special media event held by Apple on September 12, 2012, 400 million devices had been sold by June 2012.

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. 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 (one common result is the undo command) or rotating it in three dimensions (one common result is switching from portrait to landscape mode).

iOS shares with OS X some frameworks such as Core Foundation and Foundation; however, its UI toolkit is Cocoa Touch rather than OS X’s Cocoa, so that it provides the UIKit framework rather than the AppKit framework. It is therefore not compatible with OS X for applications. Also while iOS also shares the Darwin foundation with OS X, Unix-like shell access is not available for users and restricted for apps, making iOS not fully Unix-compatible either.

Major versions of iOS are released annually. The current release, iOS 8.1.3, was released on January 27, 2015. In iOS, there are four abstraction layers: the Core OS layer, the Core Services layer, the Media layer, and the Cocoa Touch layer. The current version of the operating system (iOS 8.0), dedicates 1.3 – 1.5GB of the device’s flash memory for the system partition, using roughly 800 MB of that partition (varying by model) for iOS itself. It runs on the iPhone 4S and later, iPad 2 and later, all models of the iPad Mini, and the 5th-generation iPod Touch.

Android Application Development

Android software development is the process by which new applications are created for the Android operating system. Applications are usually developed in Java programming language using the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), but other development environments are also available.

As of July 2013, more than one million applications have been developed for Android, with over 25 billion downloads. A June 2011 research indicated that over 67% of mobile developers used the platform, at the time of publication. In Q2 2012, around 105 million units of Android smartphones were shipped which acquires a total share of 68% in overall smartphones sale till Q2 2012.

Windows Phone Application Development

Windows Phone (WP) is a family of mobile operating systems developed by Microsoft for smartphones as the replacement successor to Windows Mobile and Zune. Windows Phone features a new user interface derived from Metro design language. Unlike Windows Mobile, it is primarily aimed at the consumer market rather than the enterprise market. It was first launched in October 2010 with Windows Phone 7.

Windows Phone 8.1 is the latest public release of the operating system, released to manufacturing on April 14, 2014.

The Windows Phone brand was phased out in accordance to Microsoft’s new branding strategy and is due to be succeeded in 2015 with the release of Windows 10 for mobile, which is designed to provide a universal experience in conjunction with the PC version of Windows 10