Apple Hits The Ball Out Of The Park With iPhone SDK Introduction

Mar 6th, 2008 | By | Category: iPhone, iPods & Portable Media Players

iPhoneApple today introduced the iPhone software development kit (SDK) at a special event held on its Cupertino campus. In doing so, it hit the ball out of the park, delivering the deep enterprise support that businesses want and delivering the whiz-bang sh** that everybody else wanted to see.

If that weren’t enough, Apple announced a $100 million iFund to kick-start the development of great mobile apps.

Plus Spore on the iPhone.

Delivering The Corporate Goods

The iPhone 2.0 beta release, which is immediately available, includes both the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) as well as enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide secure, over-the-air push email, contacts and calendars as well as remote wipe, and the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to private corporate networks.

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. 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.

The iPhone 2.0 software provides a configuration utility that allows IT administrators to manage multiple iPhones, including password policies, VPN setting, installing certificates, email server settings and more. Once the configuration is defined it can be easily and securely delivered via web link or email to the user. To install, all the user has to do is authenticate with a user ID or password, download the configuration and tap install. Once installed, the user will have access to all their corporate IT services.

But enterprise support is just the start of it. Apple also introduced the SDK, the App Store, a giant bag of money and some whiz-bang games.

The SDK

The iPhone SDK provides developers with a rich set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and tools to create innovative applications for iPhone and iPod touch. Based on today’s introduction, Apple is leveraging it’s mature OS X system and also delivering state of the art mobile development tools.

Anyone can download the beta iPhone SDK for free and run the iPhone Simulator on their Mac. Apple today also introduced its new iPhone Developer Program, giving developers what they need to create native applications, and the new App Store, a way to deliver applications wirelessly.

With the iPhone SDK, third party developers will be able to build native applications for the iPhone with a rich set of APIs, including programming interfaces for Core OS, Core Services, Media and Cocoa Touch technologies. The iPhone SDK will allow developers to leverage the iPhone’s Multi-Touch user interface, animation technology, large storage, built-in three-axis accelerometer and geographical location technology.

In addition to the rich set of iPhone OS APIs, the iPhone SDK also provides advanced tools for creating native iPhone and iPod touch applications including:

  • Xcode for source code editing, project management and graphical debugging;
  • Interface Builder with drag and drop interface creation and live preview;
  • Instruments to monitor and optimize iPhone application performance in real time; and
  • the iPhone Simulator to run and debug applications.

During the beta iPhone SDK program, a limited number of developers will be accepted into Apple’s new iPhone Developer Program and offered the ability to get code onto iPhones for testing. The Standard Program costs $99 (US) per year and gives members an iPhone SDK and development tools; access to pre-release iPhone software; technical support; the ability to get code onto iPhones for testing; and distribution of applications via the new App Store. The Enterprise Program costs $299 (US) per year.

iPhone 2.0 Software & The App Store

The iPhone 2.0 software release will contain the App Store, a new application that lets users browse, search, purchase and wirelessly download third party applications directly onto their iPhone or iPod touch.

Developers set the price for their applications—including free—and retain 70 percent of all sales revenues. Users can download free applications at no charge to either the user or developer, or purchase applications with one click.

Enterprise customers will be able to create a secure, private page on the App Store accessible only by their employees. Apple will cover all credit card, web hosting, infrastructure and DRM costs associated with offering applications on the App Store.

Third party iPhone and iPod touch applications must be approved by Apple and will be available exclusively through the App Store.

In addition to these new iPhone network and security features, the beta iPhone 2.0 software provides several new Mail features such as the ability to view PowerPoint attachments, in addition to Word and Excel, as well as the ability to mass delete and move email messages.

The Money Bag

As part of today’s introductions, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) announced the launch of the iFund, with $100 million in venture capital to invest in companies developing applications and services for Apple’s innovative iPhone and iPod touch.

The iFund, managed by KPCB, will be invested in companies with products that extend the iPhone and iPod touch platform. Apple will provide KPCB with market insight and support.

“A revolutionary new platform is a rare and prized opportunity for entrepreneurs, and that’s exactly what Apple has created with iPhone and iPod touch,” said John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “We think several significant new companies will emerge as this new platform evolves, and the iFund will empower them to realize their full potential.”

The initiative will focus on several areas, including:

  • location based services
  • social networking
  • mCommerce
  • communication and
  • entertainment.

The iFund will seek to fund entrepreneurs with the potential to become standalone, public companies. In addition to providing capital, KPCB will assist with company-building expertise, business development relationships and access to its vast network of talented entrepreneurs.

The Fun Stuff

If a great software development kit, the promise of lots of cool free apps, solid enterprise support and a giant bag of money for iPhone developers wasn’t enough, Apple also showed off some fun stuff for the iPhone today.

They demo’d a new game developed using the SDK, Touch Fighter, which takes advantage of the multi-touch display and the motion sensors in the phone. EA also showed a iPhone version of its hotly anticipated Spore.

What It Means

All in all, it looks like Apple nailed it today. It’s turning the iPhone into a new platform, with a very low barrier to entry for developers, a bag a money to jump start things and a massive audience of buyers.

This means that there’s going to be an explosion of iPhone application development. It means that there will soon be thousands of cool apps to download to the iPhone. It means that we’ll see new blogging, podcasting and social media apps.

This could end up being the biggest tech event of the year. But the year is still young.

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No Responses to “Apple Hits The Ball Out Of The Park With iPhone SDK Introduction”

  1. […] More favorable response is pouring in on the iPhone SDK, which significant capital will support, but John Gruber, whose Daring Fireball was a key inspiration for my Engadget column Switched On, points out that enforcement will have some challenges. […]

  2. […] Apple unrolled its roadmap for the iPhone this morning, and it charts a route to the heart of the business district, with some side trips to the amusement park. On the business end, Apple answered the needs of corporate IT departments and sent a shiver through BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion by announcing that it had licensed the protocols to let the iPhone connect with Microsoft‚Äôs Exchange, allowing for push-mail and coordination of calendars and contacts, as well as the ability for companies to remotely delete data if necessary. The other headline news is the much anticipated release of the software development kit that will let third parties create iPhone applications using the same tools Apple does. Developers will need to submit their creations to Apple for approval (so no porn, malicious software or iPhone jailbreak cracks). The developers can set their own prices (including free) and distribute their apps directly to the iPhone or via the iTunes store. On any application that carries a price, Apple will take a 30 percent cut. And just to prime the pump a bit, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers have set up a $100 million fund exclusively to help finance start-ups in the iPhone application niche. Some sample programs were shown at the press event, including sales tools from Salesforce.com and medical software from Epocrates, but there were also revelations of a more playful side of the iPhone, including Sega‚Äôs plans for a version of ‚ÄúSuper Monkey Ball‚Äù and Electronic Arts‚Äô porting of the as-yet-unreleased ‚ÄúSpore.‚Äù […]

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