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iPhone - No SDK?

by Sachin Balagopalan on June 12, 2007 · 2 comments

At todays annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco Steve Jobs announced that “no software developer kit is required for the iPhone.” What this means is outside or third party developers will be limited to building applications based on AJAX standards that can only run on the Safari browser. This is a huge limitation considering the fact that iPhone is being touted as the next “revolution” in communication devices. Utilizing AJAX standards will no doubt enable developers to build fancy “UI-centric” applications that run inside a browser. But in order to develop real applications that actually provide some value to users, Apple needs to provide the necessary SDK tools along with an API so third party developers can crank out robust and meaningful applications.

Giving third party developers access to the core MAC OS classes will enable two main integration points that are crucial for developing killer applications - database access and hardware access. The sky is the limit if developers are allowed to query and store data and also access the various components of the device like the camera, bluetooth and Email. Using a client side scripting language inside a browser will not give developers access to these crucial integration points.

And why is this such a big deal? Well the success of this device hinges on its usability and the type of applications available. Apple has done a great job as far as the usability is concerned and this is evident in the slick user interface. However for the masses to embrace this device (in the long run after all the hype has died down) there has to be some useful applications available that appeals to all sections of the demographic spectrum. Right now it seems to me that Apple wants to have control over that i.e they don’t want third party developers building applications for the iPhone and in the process profiteering from it. In my opinion this is a huge mistake and overall a bad strategy. I don’t think Apple can “do it all” by themselves. They should concentrate on the framework and provide efficient hooks into the device and let third party developers build the applications. This will lengthen the reach of the iPhone and not limit the device to a few applications that Apples engineers deem useful to the masses.

I hope Steve Jobs and Apple wake up and realize that this is truly a great opportunity to revolutionize computing and communication.

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 swarovski uk 11.01.11 at 1:18 am

Apple needs to provide the necessary SDK tools along with an API so
third party developers can crank out robust and meaningful applications.

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