iPhone SDK

It’s a big day in the world of folks who are Apple Developers. Apple announced and released their iPhone SDK this morning (well, morning if you’re on the west coast of the US anyway). Apple has up a quicktime webcast of the presentation, and it’s a pretty slick one.

I followed Jacqui’s liveblog of the event, which was really quite good – and the inevitable backchannels of even that in Twitter and IRC. I kept waiting for the “bomb” to drop, but really – it’s a fantastic release. It’s beta, it’s all NDA’d and that other usual crap, but it is free to get your hands on and start working with. Apple has up a great site on iPhone development – well, it’ll be great again when their servers have stopped tanking. They include “getting started videos” and a whole ton of sample code – which I’ve downloaded quite a bit, but haven’t yet watched.

I did happen to be unusually lucky in getting the SDK down before the masses crashed in, so I’ve been poking and fiddling with that since about 2pm this afternoon.

There are a lot of interesting components to this release to get all excited about, but the big thing that really comes to mind is Apple’s distribution platform coordination.

In the presentation, they said they’d take care of all the hosting and redistribution for a 30/70 cut of the price of the application. If the application is free, then Apple just doesn’t take any cash. There is a nominal fee (basically $100) that you have to pay to get into the game. Once you’re got that set up (i.e. become an identified and registered iPhone developer), then Apple will accept submissions, doing their testing and verification on those applications, wrap it in FairPlay and sign it themselves. A little twitter backchannel detail indicates that the iPhone will only run signed applications – so they are definitely trying to lock this down a bit. I’m not quite sure how that all meshes with the ability for a developer to load and launch applications directly on their own iPhone or iPod Touch.

I haven’t done development for other mobile platforms, but some of the folks around me have – so I’ve heard a few things. Mostly, that the contractual obligations and costs for getting mobile applications are really pretty damn hideous through a lot of other settings, and that Apple’s take on this game seems pretty darned sane and reasonable.

The final release of all this goodness, including the iPhone and iPod Touch updates to enable the “AppStore” to get all these delightful goodies is coming in June. I think any sane mac developer would guess that the big release will coincide with WWDC. And yeah, oh yeah, I’m going. In the meantime, I expect we’ll see a lot of applications getting created in the next few months and polished up or ported to make them available for the release.

While all this is boiling up now, Karen is getting set to leave for 8 weeks on a once-in-a-lifetime art workshop opportunity. She leaves this Saturday night – and I’m starting to think that I’m not going to have to worry about keeping myself busy while she’s gone…

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