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Currently, [iphone-sdk] is a synonym of [iphone], and [cocoa-touch] is just a regular tag without any synonyms.

However, [iphone-sdk] and [cocoa-touch] are both used to refer to the libraries available for developing iOS applications, and [iphone], like [ipad] and [ipod-touch], is used to (or: I think should be used to) refer to the device the problem occurs on.

Thus, I think that [iphone-sdk] and [cocoa-touch] should be merged/synonymized, instead of the current situation where [iphone-sdk] and [iphone] are synonyms.

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How is it justified that [iphone] and [iphone-sdk] are synonyms? That part I agree, they should not be.

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As I stated in response to Georg's other question, I'm not sure how to resolve the difference between common terminology and precisely defined tags. The iPhone is a weird case where the term "iPhone development" has come to mean a specific SDK, unlike how "Mac development" or "Windows development" could mean several different things. Therefore, when someone comes here with a question about the iPhone SDK, they almost always tag the question [iphone] and rarely anything else.

Likewise, among the developers I know we use Cocoa Touch and iPhone SDK synonymously. In fact, I've been using the term Cocoa Touch more lately with the addition of the iPad, the rise of the iPod touch as a platform, and the name change of the OS to iOS.

Is this precise? No, as Georg points out. The iPhone SDK has non-Cocoa elements in it, like OpenGL ES and OpenAL, so it's not technically all Cocoa Touch. That doesn't mean I still won't call it Cocoa Touch, because people will know what I'm describing.

I guess the question is, do we go through the effort of retagging all 38,000 [iphone] questions to use a more precise taxonomy and then instruct new askers on the proper tagging, or do we just adapt to how developers use terms in practice? This isn't a very good answer to your question, because I don't know the proper direction myself.

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I think [iphone] should be merged with [iphone-sdk] as [iphone-sdk], since on SO we are talking about the SDK anyway (no iPhone screensaver tips allowed!)

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It currently is already a synonym. I disagree on that as well as merging - consider iPhone- or iPad-specific bugs, hardware, AppStore and webdev-stuff. The (currently two) devices covered by the SDK simply have different properties. – Georg Fritzsche Sep 8 '10 at 14:17
It would be like merging [Windows] (or [PC]) and [Visual-Studio] together. One is a platform, the other is a development tool. – MPelletier Sep 8 '10 at 14:59
@MPelletier No, it would be like merging [windows] and [winapi], which is somewhat reasonable to suggest (though I wouldn't recommend that merge). – bobobobo Sep 10 '10 at 2:04
That isn't reasonable either, windows-specific questions are not necessarily about the winapi. – Georg Fritzsche Sep 10 '10 at 7:58
yes, I guess your simile is more relevant, though I side with @GeorgFritzsche and disagree on that other tag merger. – MPelletier Sep 10 '10 at 10:15

I disagree on the [cocoa-touch][iphone-sdk] synonym: [iphone-sdk] refers to the whole set of libraries and tools while [cocoa-touch] is only a subset of the libraries in the SDK. See e.g. Wikipedia on the SDK contents.
I don't like [iphone-sdk][iphone] either though and opened a specific question about it.

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True, but when looking at questions tagged [iphone-sdk] on SO, before it was made a synonym of [iphone], you see the post are all about Cocoa Touch ([cocoa-touch]), not about the iPhone device. – Douwe M. Sep 8 '10 at 10:34
@Douwe: That most of [iphone-sdk] is about [cocoa-touch] doesn't make them synonymous. Users tagging lazily is no reason to merge two tags that don't generally have the same meaning. I think don't like the [iphone]/[iphone-sdk] either, but thats a different matter. – Georg Fritzsche Sep 8 '10 at 10:58
Wikipedia article notwithstanding, the developers I know using the iPhone SDK refer to the entire native toolkit as Cocoa Touch, just like how Cocoa is used to describe the larger native development environment on Mac. I don't know if laziness is the right word here in regards to the precision of tagging, it's more about common usage of terms. – Brad Larson Sep 8 '10 at 15:32
@Brad: As you point out yourself Cocoa Touch simply doesn't include the whole kit. If common usage would be (nearly) completely be synonymous i'd agree, but from my experience the usage on SO [cocoa-touch] is meant to be more specific. – Georg Fritzsche Sep 8 '10 at 16:03
True that there is a technical difference between the two, but that won't stop people from using them as synonyms. I find myself doing it, although I haven't checked to see if SO users are more precise about using [cocoa-touch] only for the Cocoa frameworks and nothing else. – Brad Larson Sep 8 '10 at 17:44

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