Today's press event at Apple's HQ was more thorough than expected on on the ins and outs of the forthcoming Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone. Apple announced a bevy of tools and methods for quickly developing and testing applications to run native to iPhone, including an application distribution method both through iTunes (as expected) and natively on the device (to me, unexpected). If you've jailbroken your iPhone and had experience with Installer.app, this approach will sound familiar to you.
The extent to which Exchange integration was discussed is encouraging as this platform seems the most targeted for Enterprise adoption over Apple's other products, including the Mac, which have largely been geared towards consumer and education markets.
What made the Mac so great was how easy and open it was for developers to build inspired and useful tools. I'm pleased to see that Apple has taken a page from its own, original playbook appears to be extending that to the iPhone. I can't help but believe this will further adoption of the iPhone and continue to make it the "Mac in my pocket" I hoped it would be.
Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until June to enjoy these applications as support will be included in the forthcoming iPhone 2.0 firmware release (iPod Touch users included). In the meantime, I expect a number of developers, professionals and hobbyists, will be busying themselves for a huge launch, not unlike last year's June 30 release of the device itself.
Apple was pretty transparent about its revenue sharing with developers for sold applications (they will pocket 30% and not charge for credit card settlement fees, which can range from 1-2%), and will fully support the distribution of free and open-sourced applications. This is very good news.
What I didn't expect was to see High Tech stalwarts like Kleiner Perkins themselves establishing a $100M development fund to invest in nescient developers of iPhone applications. I'm probably most excited about this announcement as its sure to produce a rich and vibrant ecosystem of iPhone applications to take this platform to the next level.
Examples provided in the press event included native Exchange integration for Corporate types, a handful of games and (finally) a version of iChat.
Until June, I'll keep my jailbroken iPhone so I can continue to look to iCrossword, iSolitaire and other enjoyable pursuits while standing in line at Starbucks. My only hope is that the Apple-sanctioned apps sold through their app store will require some moderation on the use of the "i" prefix. Scrolling through an alphabetized list of applications on Installer.app is pretty uneventful until you get past the letter H...