Inside Apple's iOS 4: new feature parity with Snow Leopard

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple's iOS 4 features the biggest foundational leap for developers since the company first opened up iPhone OS 2.0 to development, now catching up to the core features of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.



Developers familiar with Apple's plans say the new iOS 4 brings a series of plumbing improvements that move the core of iPhone OS 2.0 and 3.0 from the level of 2007's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard into the modern world of today's desktop and notebook Macs running Snow Leopard.



Primary new features include support for Blocks, which encapsulate C, C++ or Objective C code and data into a single object somewhat similar to a closure or function object. The system uses Blocks to support Grand Central Dispatch, which queues up and schedules them for execution, potentially in parallel on multiple processor cores.



Another core set of functionality iOS 4 borrows from Snow Leopard is expanded support for powerful regular expression tools for pattern matching, search, and replacement of text content.



The new iOS 4 also includes major new core networking features on par with Snow Leopard, including broad support for IPv6 addressing and DNS, something that will be increasingly critical for adoption in countries like China and Japan, which are aggressively moving their networks to the modern new standard for Internet addressing as IPv4 addresses run out.



Additional under-the-hood work in iOS 4 was done to support new "Anyconnect" SSL VPNs from Cisco and Juniper. The SSL-based VPNs are quickly becoming popular as a way to offer easy to configure, secure access to corporate networks from any location, regardless of NAT or other complications, and without needing specialized equipment or software on the client side, as was the case with IPSec VPNs.



Apple's near-exclusive focus of its Worldwide Developer Conference on iOS 4 this year, without even any mention during the keynote address related to new technology on the horizon for Mac OS X, makes sense given that the company had some catch up work to do to bring its mobile platform into feature parity with its desktop operating system.



The move also opens the potential for Apple to begin taking advantage of multiple core processors and delegation off tasks to available graphics cores, a frontier it just recently pioneered on the desktop with the release of Snow Leopard last year.



Apple is uniquely positioned as a operating system architect with a sophisticated, modern core operating system that scales from the desktop to mobile devices. In contrast, Microsoft is now selling a bewildering variety of different operating system products with very different kernels and core operating environments necessary to support legacy:



Windows 7 on the desktop PC

Windows Embedded Standard for other devices, based on XP

Windows Embedded Enterprise, with versions based on both XP and Vista

Windows Embedded Compact, based on an old version of Windows CE 5 in Windows Mobile 6.x

The forthcoming Windows Phone 7, based on the newest Windows CE 6, which is separately used by the Zune HD and shares some components with Kin devices, despite their being incompatible on an app level with both new Windows Phone 7 and old Windows Mobile 6 devices.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    dbfreqdbfreq Posts: 2member
    To whoever wrote this post:



    Is XCode even installed on your 'puter? How 'bout spell check?
  • Reply 2 of 81
    psych_guypsych_guy Posts: 458member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dbfreq View Post


    To whoever wrote this post:



    Is XCode even installed on your 'puter? How 'bout spell check?



    Did you read the article? Was it informative? Did you get something out of it besides a case of the troll wannabes?
  • Reply 3 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dbfreq View Post


    To whoever wrote this post:



    Is XCode even installed on your 'puter? How 'bout spell check?



    Apple doesn't spell Xcode with those caps, does it?
  • Reply 4 of 81
    curmicurmi Posts: 69member
    ...is all the support in iOS4 for Snow Leopard Server - that is, the technologies in Apple's server product. That is:



    CalDAV - as used in Calendar Server

    CardDAV - as used in Address Book Server



    For those using the other Apple operating system, that is a big and welcome update.
  • Reply 5 of 81
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:

    The forthcoming Windows Phone 7, based on the newest Windows CE 6, which is separately used by the Zune HD and shares some components with Kin devices, despite their being incompatible on an app level with both new Windows Phone 7 and old Windows Mobile 6 devices.



    Is that the official Microsoft product name, or a description of the OS? It's getting hard to tell these days...
  • Reply 6 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by curmi View Post


    ...is all the support in iOS4 for Snow Leopard Server - that is, the technologies in Apple's server product. That is:



    CalDAV - as used in Calendar Server

    CardDAV - as used in Address Book Server



    For those using the other Apple operating system, that is a big and welcome update.



    I just want to second this. This is important for us here, since this will basically enable everyone to use Apples own server for calendaring.



    As far as I have seen so far though, we miss seeing other users calendar on the iPhone/iPad. After that we can ditch desktops or laptops for a few employees!
  • Reply 7 of 81
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    I skipped the entire iPhone OS 1/2/3 series. Only programmed on Mac OS so far, and fixed an Objective-C bug that a friend had in an iPhone OS app he was writing. But now that iOS 4 is supposedly very similar to Mac OS X 10.6, and now that the iPad will be using iOS 4 soon, I think it's time...
  • Reply 8 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dbfreq View Post


    To whoever wrote this post:



    Is XCode even installed on your 'puter? How 'bout spell check?



    What? Seriously!
  • Reply 9 of 81
    nano_tubenano_tube Posts: 114member
    First, kudos to Apple on their work with iOS and bringing it on par with SL. I think that they are doing a wonderful job.



    There is one thing that I didn't see people talking about until now (I may be mistaken):



    The preparations Apple did with Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) on SL was presented as support for easier and more efficient way to code and launch multithreaded applications. I think that there is another thing about it - Apple is preparing the ground to enable future versions of Mac OS X and iOS to run every task (including OS tasks) in a sandboxed environment. This is similar to what the Chrome browser does. If this is indeed the case, Apple will have to have a very efficient multithreading manager in the OS - hence GCD. It will also immensely enhance the security and stability of OS X. Of course, it is also inline with the growing number of cores available on new CPUs.



    In short, I think we are going to see two major enhancements in the next versions of both Mac OS X and iOS:



    1. Sandboxing capabilities.

    2. Vector graphics UI, independent of resolution (my bet is that the code name "marble" refers to this feature).



    They did all the preparation work, now it's time to reap the benefits.

  • Reply 10 of 81
    richysrichys Posts: 160member
    You forgot to include the newly announced 'Windows Embedded Handheld'.



    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/18/wimeha/



    face --> palm.
  • Reply 11 of 81
    bappobappo Posts: 24member
    >Primary new features include support for Blocks, which encapsulate C, C++ or Objective C code and data into a

    > single object somewhat similar to a closure or function object. The system uses Blocks to support Grand Central

    > Dispatch, which queues up and schedules them for execution, potentially in parallel on multiple processor cores.



    Grand Central on iOS means multicore iPads and iPhones.

    It would be a nice rumor to spreand; why nobody talk about this ?



    Bappo
  • Reply 12 of 81
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,213moderator
    What I find incredibly interesting about this is when it comes to operating system marketshare. When iPhone OS 4 gets feature parity with the desktop version then they are more or less the same operating system, more so if Apple does some sort of merge in future.



    When you take into consideration the fact that the iPhone/iPod/iPad share is 90-100 million and the iPhone 4 had 600k preorders with 13 million credit checks for the launch and projected to double the current share by 2011, this gets very interesting.



    The Mac shipments are 12 million per year and Apple has 5-10% desktop share vs 80-90% Windows. This means that to rival the Windows install base, Apple in the worst case would need to ship 240 million devices. It may be a bit more than that by next year as the market grows.



    Smartphone traffic will rival desktop traffic one day too (page title is slightly erroneous):



    http://timothycohn.com/2010/04/15/ha...s-the-desktop/



    This has implications for the browser war because the big players: iOS, Android and Blackberry all use webkit.



    Apple has surpassed Microsoft in market value, there's a chance that this is their back-door to beating them in install-base (browser and OS) too. The new war will be with Google but they have a UNIX OS so it's not such a big deal. This will become a very significant development when phones reach Core 2 Duo level of performance with 2GB RAM and 64-128GB SSD standard.
  • Reply 13 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Nano_tube View Post


    First, kudos to Apple on their work with iOS and bringing it on par with SL. I think that they are doing a wonderful job.



    There is one thing that I didn't see people talking about until now (I may be mistaken):



    The preparations Apple did with Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) on SL was presented as support for easier and more efficient way to code and launch multithreaded applications. I think that there is another thing about it - Apple is preparing the ground to enable future versions of Mac OS X and iOS to run every task (including OS tasks) in a sandboxed environment. This is similar to what the Chrome browser does. If this is indeed the case, Apple will have to have a very efficient multithreading manager in the OS - hence GCD. It will also immensely enhance the security and stability of OS X. Of course, it is also inline with the growing number of cores available on new CPUs.



    In short, I think we are going to see two major enhancements in the next versions of both Mac OS X and iOS:



    1. Sandboxing capabilities.

    2. Vector graphics UI, independent of resolution (my bet is that the code name "marble" refers to this feature).



    They did all the preparation work, now it's time to reap the benefits.





    That sounds cool. I'd love 10.7 for those two features alone.



    Can't wait. Well, I'll have to...next June? Sighs...*



    Lemon Bon Bon.
  • Reply 14 of 81
    tomasftomasf Posts: 3member
    Quote:

    Another core set of functionality iOS 4 borrows from Snow Leopard is expanded support for powerful regular expression tools for pattern matching, search, and replacement of text content.



    This isn't borrowed from Snow Leopard. NSRegularExpressionSearch does not exist in Foundation for OS X yet. Also, this isn't new in OS 4.0; it exists in 3.2.
  • Reply 15 of 81
    jpcgjpcg Posts: 114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post


    That sounds cool. I'd love 10.7 for those two features alone.



    Can't wait. Well, I'll have to...next June? Sighs...*



    Lemon Bon Bon.



    I think they will release a almost finished developer preview next June and will release the OS 1-2 Months later. If they want to lead the pack, they need to keep their secrets.
  • Reply 16 of 81
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bappo View Post


    >Primary new features include support for Blocks, which encapsulate C, C++ or Objective C code and data into a

    > single object somewhat similar to a closure or function object. The system uses Blocks to support Grand Central

    > Dispatch, which queues up and schedules them for execution, potentially in parallel on multiple processor cores.



    Grand Central on iOS means multicore iPads and iPhones.

    It would be a nice rumor to spreand; why nobody talk about this ?



    Because it's obvious that it's going to happen. The only question is timing.



    AMD designs are already going multicore - just like almost every desktop CPU out there. GPUs have had multiple cores for years. Particularly in a mobile device, the ability to ramp clock speed is limited by power consumption and heat, so multiple cores is a given.



    The only question is 'when'. Since most of Apple's products are on 6-12 month update cycles, I would expect either a two care iPad this fall (in time for the Christmas season) or next spring.
  • Reply 17 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,167member
    I see another angle to the parity between iOS and OS X ... I know I am going out on a limb but I still see iOS features finding their way into OS X to create a hybrid in the near future.



    This may come about by simply brining out larger, more powerful iPads (iWorkStation?) with additional OS X like features such as support for OS X IO (mouse, graphics pen, FW, USB2, etc.) and porting more Apple Apps over time such as FinalCut Studio with the addition of full gesture support.



    I agree with Marvin ... this time next year or soon thereafter the global OS market share by MS will be shown to have been overtaken by Apple since iOS is a fully fledged OS. The trolls will argue till they are blue in the face that it doesn't count as they did with the relevance of market cap (watch AAPL pass XOM in 2011). However, the press will eat it up and the one last claim to fame of MS will be shattered. Phrases such as Software Legacy, Computer History and Twentieth Century will become associated with Microsoft. Even then Apple trumps them as the first personal computer and the first commercial developers of a graphics GUI (yes I know all about Xerox). Boy did Bill retire at the right time!
  • Reply 18 of 81
    svnippsvnipp Posts: 430member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bappo View Post


    >Primary new features include support for Blocks, which encapsulate C, C++ or Objective C code and data into a

    > single object somewhat similar to a closure or function object. The system uses Blocks to support Grand Central

    > Dispatch, which queues up and schedules them for execution, potentially in parallel on multiple processor cores.



    Grand Central on iOS means multicore iPads and iPhones.

    It would be a nice rumor to spreand; why nobody talk about this ?



    Bappo



    Yeah. This one seems pretty obvious to me too. My guess is that next year's iPad and then the iPhone 5 will both have a new dual core Apple processor. Hopefully the iPad will get a lot of love in other forms too such as an SD card slot for storage, a RAM increase, and of course the new Retina Display. Just a few thoughts off the top of my head.
  • Reply 19 of 81
    dr_lhadr_lha Posts: 236member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Nano_tube View Post


    2. Vector graphics UI, independent of resolution (my bet is that the code name "marble" refers to this feature).



    This already exists where appropriate (vectors are not the be-all-and-end-all, sometimes its better just to use high resolution bitmaps and scale them), resolution independence has been in Mac OS X for years (although never a public facing part of the OS). You can see it in full effect however on iOS, when you zoom in on a MobileSafari web page, and all the web page widgets and fonts scale up smoothly.
  • Reply 20 of 81
    Within a couple of years (2012) Apple will drop laptops and have only upgraded iPad devices that will be able to function in the same way as laptops and desktops. This OS modification is just one more step to an OS X with multi-touch controls for everything.
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