According to a recent report from iMore, references to ZFS have been discovered in Apple’s latest iOS 5.1 beta, revealing a nearly complete implementation of Oracle’s advanced file system. But what could Apple really hope to gain by implementing ZFS in their iOS devices? According to iMore, one promising possibility is to improve iCloud performance in iOS devices.
Apple is apparently investing significantly in ZFS, which includes a number of interesting features, including a technology called “snapshot.” Snapshots are easily compressed to extremely tiny sizes, and could easily be used transfer delta updates between iOS devices and iCloud, providing an improved Time Machine-like backup system for iOS devices.
Instead of backing up to iCloud just once a day, iOS devices could instead back up hourly using the same amount of data. Of course, Snapshots are only one of many interesting features found in ZFS. Apple has previously worked on ZFS implementation for the Mac, but reportedly dropped the program due to a licensing disagreement.
It’s unclear what Apple may have in mind for ZFS and iOS devices, but if they really have included a nearly complete implementation of the file system into iOS, future updates such as iOS 6 could provide some extremely exciting new features to Apple’s popular line of portable devices.