Yesterday evening Apple introduced the iPhone SDK in a special event. Now everybody is enabled to develop custom applications for the iPhone platform (iPhone and iPod touch). This includes an Apple design guide for the iPhone user interfaces.
I think this SDK has a lot of potential to beat all the other mobile platforms. As a developer of WindowsMobile, Symbian or Java mobile applications you never now on what hardware your app will run. You don’t know if it’s a wide screen or a small display. You don’t know if there is a keyboard or only a touchscreen. You don’t know if there is a camera, music player etc. So you better reduce your requirements to the absolute minimum or risk that your application wont be usable on many devices.
You don’t have to worrie about all that on the iPhone. You now exactly what you can expect and even get design suggestions from the one and only manufacturer. This is a huge advantage of the iPhone platform and I predict a very fast growing market of iPhone apps. As you can also expect that a lot of these will work on the iPod Touch as it’s almost the same hardware platform.
Another interesting announcement was the integration of Microsofts ActiveSync technology so that iPhone can be wireless synced with MS-Exchange email, calendar and contacts. This is very interesting for business users who had to rely on Blackberry or WindowsMobile before.
Although this leaves a bad taste as Apple is selling it’s soul to Microsoft on this. John Gruber always was complaining about this proprietary technology stuff and hoped that Apple wont give in. But that seems to be the fact right now. Anyhow this will open a wider market for the iPhone.
In this company at least 10 people already use an iPhone and asking me to open the MS-Exchange to the internet for them. But surely deny to put an MS-Server directly into the internet or buy another one just to support iPhone. We already have Blackberrys and these are at least useable.
For downloading the new applications to iPhones Apple also introduced the AppStore for iPhone. This is portal site you can access from your iPhone to buy or just download iPhone applications. This is similar to the iTunes Music Store for audio and video content but independent from that and from iTunes. The license model grants 70% of the revenue to the application developer and 30% to Apple. But there will be also free applications.