Now Is The Right Time For Apple’s Mobile Operating System To Be Rebranded As ‘iPhoneOS’

COMMENTARY: – Apple should really consider changing the game with the name of one of its software platforms: iOS.

“realityOS” — the purported name of the new operating system that will run on Apple’s forthcoming AR / VR headset — is high on the list of announcements that Apple is expected to make during the keynote address at this year’s worldwide developers conference (WWDC). The one thing, however, that everyone can definitely expect to see are previews of the latest versions of the company’s software platforms, for instance, MacOS and iPadOS.

iPhone in glass case
An original iPhone running iPhone OS as seen on display in the exhibit hall at the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2007. (Photo: Joe Leo / PowerBook Central)

If a previously published rumor proves to be true, iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, may be due for a significant change at this year’s WWDC that brings back the software to its roots.

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Reverting iOS To iPhone OS?

In 2020, just days ahead of that year’s WWDC, AppleInsider reported a rumor with regard to Apple possibly reverting iOS to iPhone OS in order to align the software with the branding of iPadOS (et al.).

The report stemmed from a cryptic pair of words posted on Twitter which hinted at iOS being possibly renamed in advance of an upcoming release of the software. Notably, the tweet — tweeted by a well-known leaker of Apple-related rumors on the web — didn’t provide any information other than the mention of iPhone OS.

AppleInsider noted in its story that if the change were to take place, it wasn’t immediately clear from the tweet which version of the software, iOS or iPhone OS, would run on the iPod touch moving forward.

Because of how close the timing of the leak was to that year’s WWDC, AppleInsider posited that the tweet might be in reference to iOS 14, the next major release of Apple’s mobile operating system at the time. Of course, as everyone knows, the software was released by Apple without any changes to the iOS branding (as was the case last year with iOS 15).

Could 2022 be the year that Apple finally reverts iOS to iPhone OS at WWDC?

An OS Specific To iPhone

Apple’s mobile operating system debuted alongside the release of the original iPhone in 2007 and was called: iPhone OS.

The software not only ran on the iPhone but on the iPod touch as well. Even the iPad originally ran iPhone OS 3 when it was released in 2010. That same year, shortly after iPhone OS 4 was announced by the company ahead of that year’s WWDC, Apple rebranded iPhone OS as iOS.

In fact, the fourth version of the software was initially called iPhone OS 4 but, upon its release, it was subsequently renamed iOS 4 by Apple.

For close to a decade, iOS was what ran on all three of those “iDevices” (a colloquial term used for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch). The status quo would change when iPadOS — an offshoot of the software specifically designed for an Apple tablet computer — was released in 2019.

With the iPod touch finally put out of its misery (so to speak) and Apple’s mobile operating system now running solely on the iPhone, this year’s WWDC is the right time for Apple to rebrand iOS as iPhone OS… or, better yet: “iPhoneOS” (see what I did there?).


Related Reading: fromthe “Mac Potpourri” story archives – “There’s No Method To The Madness For The Convoluted Mess Apple Has Made With MacOS” (October 2021).

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