Apple has promised the software development kit (SDK) for the iPhone for months now. The SDK was delayed slightly, but Apple delivered today and it’s most definitely firing on all cylinders.
First off, Apple announced that is targeting enterprise customers with a wealth of new feature on the iPhone. The iPhone will now support push email/calendar/contacts, global address lists, Cisco IPsec VPN, Certificates and Identities, WPA2/802.11x and remote wipe. In addition, Apple is bringing the oft-requested support for Microsoft Exchange via Microsoft ActiveSync — Apple licensed ActiveSync specifically for this purpose.
Apple also revealed on its Cupertino campus that the iPhone SDK is available today for third-party developers. Access will be provided to the iPhone’s APIs including Cocoa Touch, Core Services, Media and Core OS. Developers can use Xcode to create and debug applications. Xcode includes a source editor, integrated documentation and a remote debugger — naturally, it runs on Macs.
In addition, Apple rolled out the iPhone Simulator which will allow developers to test the software they have developed on a Mac and see exactly how it will look and respond on an iPhone. The mouse can then be used to make Multi-Touch gesture commands on the “Virtual iPhone” screen.
Apple announced today that EA Games’ highly-anticipated “Spore” is coming to the iPhone in September and will be the first third-party game for the platform. The stripped-down version of “Spore” was made in a claimed two weeks using the SDK and includes 18 complete levels. Other new apps coming to the iPhone include AOL Instant Messenger and SEGA’s “Super Monkey Ball”.
In order to distribute these new third-party applications, Apple created the iTunes App Store. Unfortunately, this will be the only way that customers will be able to get new iPhone applications.
While developers can nab the SDK today for free, it will cost $99 to publish an application to the iTunes App Store. All hosting, processing fees are free if a developer makes his or her application freely available. If a developer chooses to charge for the application, Apple will take a 30% cut of the purchase price.
For companies that are just starting out, a $100M venture capital “iFund” will be provided by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — a figure ten times that of the Google Android fund — to help make the development process easier.
“Developers are already bursting with ideas for the iPhone and iPod touch, and now they have the chance to turn those ideas into great companies with the help of world-class venture capitalists,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “We can’t wait to start working with Kleiner Perkins and the companies they fund through this new initiative.”
Developers can start making apps today, but customers will have to wait until the iPhone/iPod touch 2.0 firmware update to take advantage the previously mentioned goodies (iPod touch users will again have to pay for the update). Unfortunately, that update won’t see the light of day — for consumers — until June of this year. Developers and enterprise customers can apply to beta test the update.
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