Thursday, March 06, 2008

Apple iPhone SDK Launched

Today Apple promised to reveal details on its software developers' kit for the iPhone. At the special event held this morning at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Apple executives said the SDK provides developers with the same tools it uses to develop applications for the iPhone and iPod touch.

“We’re excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community with potentially thousands of native applications for iPhone and iPod touch,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.

Scott Forstall, Apple’s vice president of iPhone Software, explained that Apple had to build a version of its development framework, Cocoa. Dubbed Cocoa Touch, the new development tools are based on the touch interaction with the iPhone instead of the keyboard and mouse interaction users have with a desktop computer.

Forstall said the SDK is made up of several Core technologies. Much of what you find in the iPhone operating system is the same as what you would find in the Mac, except power management, which is even more robust on the iPhone, according to Apple. Core Services, Core Location and Core Audio will also be available to developers.

“So we have a fantastic set of tools, in addition to the amazing set of frameworks that make up the iPhone OS,” said Forstall.

On the enterprise end, the iphone will now support Microsoft Exchange. The iPhone can now work directly with the Exchange Server. Push email, push calendar, push contacts, global address list, remote wipe. We can also look for WI-FI with wpa2 and 8021x.
Enforce security policies.

Developers will have access to Keychain, Bonjour, SQLite and Core Location as well as a mature, Quicktime-based media layer including video playback, Core Audio, Core Image, Core Animation, PDF rendering, OpenAL, and OpenGL ES. Cocoa Touch gives developers access to the hardware and interface, including Multi-Touch events and controls, Accelerometer, View Hierarchy, Localization, Alerts, Web View, People Picker, Image Picker and the integrated Camera.

Apple will provide an AppStore for developers to distribute iPhone apps directly to users via download over WiFi or EDGE. Developers may specify any price or list apps for free however Apple keeps 30 percent to cover hosting, marketing, credit card fees and the like. Apple retains the right to not distribute any app if it is deemed to be malicious, invade privacy, or include "porn."

Apple allowed a few companies a head start and few apps are currently available. Apple developed a demo space shooter game, EA had a version of Spore AOL was on hand to demo a native instant messaging client, Sega demoed a version of SuperMonkeyBall, and reps from and Epocrates showed off some business-critical apps they have in the works.

The free beta iPhone SDK is available now and can be downloaded from Apple’s Web site. The $99 iPhone Developer Program, also introduced today, will initially be available in the US and will expand to other countries in the coming months. Apple is accepting applications beginning today from enterprise customers who would like to join the private iPhone Enterprise Beta Program.

Update, 3/31/08
Apple released the second beta version of the software development kit for building applications for the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

The free download is available online through the company's Apple Developer Connection Web site. The second beta of the SDK includes an interface builder, the Xcode integrated development environment, the iPhone simulator, frameworks and samples, compilers, and the Shark analysis tool.

Developers who want to test their code directly on the iPhone and distribute their applications through Apple's App Store have to apply for membership in the iPhone Developer Program.

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