March 07, 2008, 2:45 PM — In about two hours on Thursday, Apple
rolled out a massive amount of information about allowing independent software
developers to create programs for the iPhone. SDK, SQLite, core data, App Stores
-- who can make sense of it all?
Well, we're going to give it a go. In this story, we've tried to anticipate
and address many of the questions swirling around Apple's iPhone announcements.
What did Apple announce Thursday, in a nutshell?
it was releasing a Software Development Kit, or SDK, for the iPhone. The
SDK is a set of tools that lets independent programmers and software companies
design, write, and test software that runs on the iPhone. Right now there's
a beta version for developers, but a final version of the iPhone software that
supports the installation of new programs written by independent programmers
is due in late June.
As a part of the announcement, Apple introduced a new iPhone program, App
Store, through which you'll be able to purchase, download, and update iPhone
software. That will be available as part of the new iPhone Software 2.0 update
in late June. That's when you'll be able to add third-party apps to your iPhone
for the first time, at least via official channels.
Will Mac software run on the iPhone?
No, but since iPhone software is developed using the same development tools
as Mac software, it's possible that developers will be able to re-use some of
their code to make iPhone versions of their programs. But the entire user-interface
layer of the iPhone, dubbed "Cocoa Touch," is completely different
from the Mac's Cocoa interface layer, owing to the iPhone's finger-based interface.
Could someone post a free program on the App Store and then force users to
pay for a registration code to make it functional, thereby bypassing Apple's
30% cut on App Store sales?
It seems unlikely that Apple would put up with those type of shenenigans. Doing
so would basically let Apple pay for your marketing and bandwidth costs, and
deprive them any money they'd get from selling the software. It may be specifically
forbidden as a term of being an iPhone developer.
Will shareware not be an option on the iPhone?