Factors and Idea Behind iPhone's and Apple's Success

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Abstract

Apple is a technology company founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The company set out to design appealing user technology in the form of Personal Computers(PCs) like Mac books, portable music devices like the iPod and mobile phones. Following a PowerPoint presentation, group 2 was required formulate a report expanding further and providing a wider understanding of the topic mentioned above. The report only consists of the software structure and the App Store due to the lack of communication and sufficient contribution from the other member who was assigned to report on the hardware.

Iphone Operating System

The performance of any apple device is heavily reliant on an effectively functional operating system. The iPhone has its own operating system which was derived from the Mac OSX structure. The first iPhone operated on a mobile version of Mac’s OSX in 2007 when it was produced.

IOS Architecture

The IOS architecture comprises of layers that are categorised with accordance to the functions or processes performed. The layers are the iPhone hardware, Core OS, Core Services, Media Services and Cocoa Touch service (Figure below). IOS performs both high level and low level processes for the iPhone to function.“Core OS has a UNIX based foundation called Kernel which is engineered for stability, reliability, and performance,” Apple. OS Kernel performs low level functions such as device driver support which supports plug and play, power management and dynamic device management, Network Support which allows the device to send and receive data and File System Support which allows permission on removable media, access control lists and long file names. Core OS also has a gate keeper which prevents installations of apps from external sources or sources that are not approved by Apple. App Sandbox is another component that grants apps and developers the minimum amount of access required for an app to function to avoid corruption or malicious damage to iOS. A code signing feature with the IOS allows the developer to sign off their code which ensures the app is unique to each developer to prevent illegal versions of the app.

The Core Services layer provides services to apps without a direct effect to the interface. These services ensure the essential efficiency of an app is maintained. The Core Services Layer is heavily dependent on the Core OS layer to perform its fundamental functions. Some of the functions in this layer are security services, address book, iCloud, CloudKit, social media integration and bonjour. Security services provided in this layer includes functions such as keychain services which is a secure password safe which stores the user’s password details and ensures a quicker login process. When the user is about to log in, the keychain database is fetched to match the details required to access the particular application or website with the user’s permission. Address book is used to centrally store contact details entered by the user. The contacts are stored in physical memory and the address book facilitates this process. iCloud is a virtual storage system which helps the user store data passing it through a server. This data is not physically stored on the mobile device but can be retrieved by the user. iCloud also allows the user to view this data on another device after a secure access control system which would involve the use of keychain. CloudKit is a tool which allows apps to use iCloud by saving the user’s data and logs. Social media integration is key to smartphone functionally and this tool allows the OS to integrate user account information with the social media framework.

The Media Services layer is instrumental to the OS interface which supports the Cocoa Touch layer. This layer has frameworks such as Core Audio, Video Playback, Core Animation, Instant Messaging and Image Kit. Core Audio provides audio services to iOS through recording, playback, synchronisation and surround sound. The framework enhances the user’s audio experience by normallising and mastering all audio. Video playback in this layer is here all video codecs are located. Codecs are files that enable the operating system to read various video formats. Core Animation is a 2D and 3D graphics framework which allows the developer to code applications and games to a standard and quality. 3D touch is facilitated by the Core Animation framework.

The Cocoa Touch layer is the final layer of IOS which directly interacts with the user. It is responsible for the appearance of applications and the efficiency of response to user actions. This layer has the Notification Center, Graphic User Interface, Multi Touch, Map Kit and Accessibility. The Notification Center is where all the applications messages and alerts are centralized to communicate to the user. Messages such as updates and news are shown in a brief text format. The Graphic User Interface (GUI) is the representation of the software to the user. The GUI is one of the most important features of any software as the better is appears, the more engaging it is. Multi Touch is a framework which allows the user to interact with the GUI by tapping the screen with multiple touch commands or requests at once. The interface in return responds to every tap simultaneously. Map Kit is a framework which allows iOS to run apple maps which is a satellite navigation application. Accessibility is a feature designed to cater for all special needs or disabilities. This feature allows the user to increase font size, customize the home button or use the camera’s flash light as a notification alert system.

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Key IOS Versions

Apple released various versions of IOS, this section of the report will cover key influential changes. In 2007 the first iPhone was launched and it was the first mobile device to deliver similar functionality of a personal computer. Apple’s goal was to create a device which allowed the user to possess everything available on a computer on a mobile device. At the time Research In Motion or RIM in short flooded the market with Blackberry smartphone devices. However research showed that users barely used the Blackberry smartphones to full potential. Apple’s answer to the user issues was the iPhone. The iPhone 1 was made up of the Mac OSX model with similar functions to the apple personal computer. The iPhone also had built in apps such as Youtube, iPod and Safari. In 2008 apple released the iPhone 3G which was powered by Operating System 2(OS2) and along with it the App Store which was a service that provided Apple created applications to enhance user experience. Later that year apple released a Software Development Kit (SDK) which allowed third party developers to manufacture applications for the iPhone and other IOS devices later.

Between 2009 and 2012 apple maintained the popularity of the iPhone and the Appstore by updating the operating system which was renamed to IOS. IOS 3 to 6 along with the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 5 were released in this time period. The new updates paved the way for wireless software updates which meant users were able to update the iPhone OS remotely without connecting the device to a computer by means of WIFI or cellular network. iMessage is an instant messaging feature which allowed iPhone users to interact with multi apple devices along with FaceTime, an IOS video calling feature were also introduced during this period. Apple then introduced the world to a mobile digital personal assistant named ‘Siri’. Siri changed the future of smartphones which now makes it a requirement for a smartphone to embed a personal assistant application. Apple Maps was added to IOS after apple discontinued the use of Google applications such as Google Maps and Youtube as pre-installed applications. Apple countered Google Maps with Apple Maps which did not receive positive feedback from users initially as the navigation application was inefficient and led users to incorrect destinations.

Between 2013 and 2016 IOS 7 to 10 were released for public use on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 7. Apple changed the iOS interface from curvy shaped applications to a flat design as a refresh to represent a change in direction. Other features included a pull up menu which offer quick access to features such as a Torch, brightness and volume adjustment. The picture above shows a change in the IOS interface in which the model on the left is how the IOS home page looked like and a change is noted on the three models on the right. As IOS updates grew in file size, user issues began to arise such as the frequent requirement to recharge an iPhone which was deemed to frustrate users. Apple introduced a low power mode which allowed the user to reduce the iPhones use of features at a deficit to allow the iOS to function and power the device for longer periods. The finger print scanner feature was later introduced which was a feature that allowed users to securely lock and unlock access to the device via a finger print scanning frame work. This feature was made popular by apple and is widely used by competitors today.

From 2017 to present day Apple have continued to dominate the mobile device industry by introducing devices such as the iPhone 8, X and XS which run on IOS12. From IOS 8 to the current installment apple introduced features such as Facial scanner, Augmented Reality, Apple pay and managed to expand compatibility of previous devices to the most recent IOS versions. Older devices up to the iPhone 5c are able to run IOS12 without issues. Facial scanner is a facial recognition feature which allows the user to lock and unlock access to the mobile device via a facial scanner. Augmented reality is a 3D manipulation of the real would via an IOS device camera. This allows the user to design a model world, incorporate 3D animations into real life structures or play 3D games such as Pokemon Go.

The App Store

The App Store launched in 2008 following the 2007 release of the iPhone 1 with only 500 applications. The future of mobile application was revolutionised and the App Store developed a significant amount of traffic and interest after launch. By December 2008, 300 million application downloads were recorded which increased to 3 billion downloads by January 2009. This created a demand for manufactures to buy into the apple brand and adhere to apple’s standards. Figure 3 below describes the basic operation model of the app store from the developer to the user.The developer designs an app which is submitted to Apple’s Front store where a Risk Analyzer measures the possibility of crashes or errors before distribution.

If any errors are discovered, the design is sent back to the developer for improvement. When an app successfully passes through a performance analyzer which measures an app on past detected errors or defects to ensure the current version is better than the latter, the app is then published on the App Store for public use. While applications are in use; downloads, usage logs, crashes and reviews are logged by the crowd monitor and reports are sent to the developer through the Risk and Performance Analyzer to allow the developer to improve the version of the application. When an application crashes, the Crash Analyzer sends a report to the Front store and the developer and while the developer generates an improved version, a hot patch is created via the Patch Generator in the form of an update. This process has contributed to the efficiency and continued success of the App Store.

Key Success Factors

The iPhone is a key figure that is among the elite smartphones available to users. Apple continue to innovate and introduce technology that was predicted in the future and managed to integrate it in the present. The instant impact of the apple iPhone, IOS and the App Store success were due to the factors that follow. In 2008 Apple’s vision was to bring quality to mobile experience that was brought to life by improving the user internet browser experience which facilitated a direct representation of internet browsing on a PC. The speed and efficiency of the apple applications excelled and promoted positive reviews. The interactive GUI made an impression and engaged the end user. Coupling the convenience and variety of the App store made IOS the leading mobile software for mobile web applications.

Device Sync on apple devices allowed the user to execute functions on one device and continue or pick up on another Apple device such as the Mac book. This was convenient for the education and business sector which eased compatibility and continuation issues from mobile devices. Apple’s security and access control to the IOS made it difficult for the possibility of malicious or inconsistent applications. Apple’s product innovation and ‘outside the box’ method of problem solving put the company’s devices ahead of its competitors with the wide device compatibility and features such as FaceTime and Augmented Reality (ArKit 2). When Apple launched the iPhone 1, a distribution agreement with AT&T, a mobile network provider was in place to allow AT&T to market and sell the iPhone exclusively. The network provider allowed Apple to sell applications through the App Store without charge and this allowed Apple, the App Store and the iPhone to grow in revenue.

Conclusion

This report was generated by one member of group 2. Before the presentation, a brief research was carried out to understand the outlining structure of the task. The research enabled the group to divide the task with one member conducting research on the iPhone hardware and the other on the software. Books, journals, reports and videos provided a sufficient supply of information which was then translated into PowerPoint slides and notes for the report. After successful completion of the presentation and report respectively, Time management, better work division and leadership where the main issues for future improvement. This could have been achieved by regular progress meetings, more team familiarization to the scale of the task in order to allocate work evenly and proactive methods to execution of tasks to finish in good time and prepare the report to an excellent standard.

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