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Apple provides updates to the iOS operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch through iTunes, and since iOS 5.0, also through over-the-air software updates. With the June 6, 2011 announcement of iOS 5.0, a USB connection to iTunes is no longer needed to activate iOS devices; data synchronization can happen automatically and wirelessly through Apple's iCloud service. The most recent major update, iOS 6, sees the addition of around 200 new features, including Passbook, Apple-sourced maps, and full Facebook integration.
Apple's iOS did not have an official name until the release of the iPhone software development kit (iPhone SDK) on March 6, 2008. Before then, Apple marketing literature simply stated that their iPhone runs a version of "OS X", a reference to iOS' parent operating system. When introduced, it was named iPhone OS. It was renamed iOS on June 7, 2010, as iPhone was no longer the only device to run iOS. Apple licensed the "iOS" trademark from Cisco.On June 29, 2007, Apple released the first version of what became iOS – concurrently with the first iPhone. The final 1.x series release was 1.1.5, released shortly before version 2.0.
July 11, 2008 saw the public release of iPhone OS 2.0, with upgrades through version 2.2.1 made available.
June 17, 2009 was the release date for iPhone OS 3.0. It was updated through (and including) version 3.1.3 (release date February 2, 2010). The first generation iPod Touch and iPhone have iPhone OS 3.1.3 as their newest available version. The iPad was introduced with iPhone OS 3.2, later updated to 3.2.2, a version made specifically for the iPad.
On June 21, 2010, iOS 4.0 was released to the public and was made available only to the iPod Touch and iPhone. iOS 4.0 was announced to have over 1500 new APIs for developers, with the highly anticipated multitasking feature. The iPod Touch (2nd generation) and iPhone 3G have iOS 4.2.1 as the final version available. Nevertheless, many features are not available for the iPhone 3G or iPod touch 2nd generation, such as multitasking and home screen backgrounds. iOS 4.2 is the first version to bring major feature parity to the iPhone and iPad. The release of the CDMA iPhone for Verizon Wireless saw a branching of iOS. The 4.2 version sequence continued for the CDMA phone while 4.3 was released for all other products.
On June 6, 2011, Apple previewed iOS 5, Apple TV 4.4 beta and the iOS SDK 5 beta along with iCloud beta among other products. This update introduced iMessage chat between devices running iOS 5, a new notification system, Newsstand subscriptions, Twitter integrated into iOS, Reminders app, Enhancements to AirPlay, full integration with iCloud and over 200 new features. iOS 5.0 supports all iPad models, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 GSM & CDMA, and the iPod Touch (3rd & 4th generation).
iOS 5 had very few bugs, causing it to have only three minor additions, 5.0.1, 5.1, and 5.1.1, which were all provided as an OTA software update.
Apple concurrently provides the same version of iOS for the comparable model of iPhone and iPod touch, usually devices released in the same calendar year. iPhone users receive all software updates for free, while iPod Touch users paid for the 2.0 and 3.0 major software updates. As of iOS 4.0, Apple no longer charges for iPod Touch updates.
As of October 23, 2011, two versions of iOS were never released. iOS 1.2, which after the first beta was replaced by a 2.0 version number; the second beta was called 2.0b2 instead of 1.2b2. The other was iOS 4.2, replaced with 4.2.1 due to a Wi-Fi bug in 4.2 beta 3, causing Apple to release 2 more golden masters (4.2 GM and 4.2.1 GM).