Wednesday, March 12, 2008

iPhone SDK Brings Out Some Big Guns

When Apple first launched their iPhone, Apple fanboys and early adopters were quick to gobble them up in the first few months.  As their amazing interface and creative fusion of phone and media player became more well known, the common tech folk also began to buy them.  Now that the holiday season is over, some though that the phone's popularity would begin to sink.  For this reason, Apple's new release of the iPhone SDK is an important move. 

After a new product's initial sales start to die down, the next big customer is often the corporate sector.  Some phones actually get corporate orders from the start, but the iPhone was just not equipped for the more complex job of enterprise integration.  The SDK does a lot to fill in the gaps and even offers new features that will not only attract more regular customers, but will also be a value-add for current customers. 

An SDK (software development kit) is a pack for software companies (and enterprising individuals) to build applications that can be loaded directly onto the iPhone.  Before now, this has been impossible without "jailbreaking" or otherwise hacking into the device.  Now, with Apple's "blessing" in the form of an SDK, developers and hackers alike can really push the boundaries of the iPhone.

On the business side, Apple has gotten the iPhone to work with Microsoft Exchange, which is a major email client for corporations.  Also, they are working to make the iPhone more flexible for IT managers who have, up to now, been having trouble securing iPhones on their companies' networks.  For more details on updates for enterprise iPhones, check out Engadget's full coverage of the SDK event

Now, for the stuff you're probably more interested in, consumer apps and general iPhone updates.  Basically the above link has all of the details of the SDK, but because it is long, I will summarize.  There are several ways new developers can distribute their apps.  There is of course the obvious way, through the iTunes store on your computer, but finally Apple is beginning to grow what it started when they launched the iTunes store on the iPhone.  Now, when connected to Wi-Fi OR the cellular network, you can download and update any of the apps.  This means that Apple will have complete control over who is allowed to put apps on the iPhone, but that's no surprise really.

Apparently some of the apps will be free because developers will want you to use their services more than they want revenue from app sales.  On the other hand a lot of them will probably cost money and, while nobody know how much they'll charge, the developers and Apple will split the costs 70/30.

Aside from some other announcements, mostly applicable to developers, that's about it.  The new updates to phones and touches will be in a few months and yes, old iTouch owners will have to pay a "nominal fee." 

Have a wonderful spring break!
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The content of this page is completely the creation and opinion of James Rogers. He is affiliated with Connect Mason and formerly Broadside Online but the relationship only governs republication, not content.

Further, in the interest of full disclosure, this author holds minor financial investments in Apple, Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices.