As expected Apple delivered upon their promise of an iPhone SDK (software developer kit) which will allow developers to write native apps for the iPhone or iPod touch. The Beta of the SDK is FREE for download today. You can then write your own apps and test them directly on supplied simulator. However, if you want to distribute your app, you would then have to sign up for their developer program ($99/year) even if you plan to make FREE apps. Once you write your app and sign up. Apple will then have to approve your app and then it will be available through a new App Store app directly on the device or via iTunes. If your App is FREE, then you’re all done. If you want to charge for your app, then you set the price. After that Apple sells your app, collects the money, deals with credit card fees, etc. and keeps 30% off the top. You get a check for the remaining 70% on a monthly basis. I’m not a developer, but this doesn’t sound too bad to me. Also this will be the only legitimate way to do it.
Apple is really getting ready for business now!
Not only did Apple release the SDK, but they also announced support for Enterprise connectivity! This is big because it answers all (or almost all) of the issues that most companies had with deploying iPhones company wide. Apple has licensed Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft and is building it right into the iPhone, so that iPhone will connect out-of-the-box to Microsoft Exchange Servers 2003 and 2007 for secure over-the-air push email, contacts, calendars and global address lists. Built-in Exchange ActiveSync support also enables security features such as remote wipe, password policies and auto-discovery. The iPhone 2.0 software supports Cisco IPsec VPN to ensure the highest level of IP-based encryption available for transmission of sensitive corporate data, as well as the ability to authenticate using digital certificates or password-based, multi-factor authentication. The addition of WPA2 Enterprise with 802.1x authentication enables enterprise customers to deploy iPhone and iPod touch with the latest standards for protection of Wi-Fi networks. My IT guys are probably salivating at the moment
Games and AIM
Apple also showcased some really cool games. A couple of these games took advantage of the iPhone’s accelerometer that is built-in the iPhone. Think of it as a hand held Wii. Apple also gave AOL some stage time to show a native AIM chat client on the iPhone. This was one of my “10 iPhone Apps I Want“. This will be really cool! Surprisingly Apple also said that they wouldn’t stand in the way of VoIP apps that work via Wi-Fi! I was shocked to read that.
Sounds great, but we’ll have to wait a few more months
This all sounds very exciting! However, Apple won’t deliver the 2.0 software update to the iPhone until June. The up side of this is that it gives developers 3 months to get some apps ready. So I imagine by June we should see LOTS of available apps. It would be nice to have the ActiveSync stuff sooner than later, but I’ve waited this long, another 3 months won’t kill me. This also makes me feel even better about my iPhone investment because this update for the iPhone will be FREE. However, around the June timeframe I’m expecting their to be a 3G version of the iPhone too. So Apple will have come a long way in 1 year and they should be a lot closer to their goal of selling 10 million iPhones.
You can watch the event here.