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iOS comes into its own with extensions

Dan Moren | June 6, 2014
With the advent of extensibility in iOS 8, Dan Moren argues, Apple's mobile OS is finally coming into its own as a mature platform.

Coming into its own
While iOS has matured over the years, as users we've still had to adjust our expectations of it, aware of its inherent restrictions—the dependency on battery life, for example. As a result, there's long been a sort of unconscious asterisk next to iOS's capabilities, a "good, but..." mentality. But while that hedge may not entirely go away with iOS 8, it will fade still further into the background.

Over the last few iOS releases, we've started to see an increase in parity between iOS and OS X in terms of front-facing features—capabilities that roll out to both platforms at the same time, like Facebook integration. But what we're starting to see with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are underlying technologies that appear on both platforms at the same time: Peer-to-peer wireless networking now makes it seamless to have iOS devices and Macs talk to each other. The new Swift programming language that Apple unveiled is equally applicable across its ecosystem.

The addition of extensions makes it clear that iOS is not just a consolation prize for Mac users. Perhaps we've known that logically—if for no other reason than simply comparing sales numbers between the two platforms. But for those of us who have long loved the ways that we could bend the Mac to our will, iOS always had an "also ran" quality. But the latest changes put the lie to that assessment, starkly positioning the platforms as equals and giving truth to Apple's philosophy that all of these devices are here to stay.

 

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