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Avo Reid

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Apple Opens the Door to the iPhone

March 23, 2008

Earlier this month at its headquarters in Cupertino California, Apple announced the release of the iPhone SDK and the iPhone Developer Program. The SDK provides a complete and integrated process for developing, debugging, and distributing free, commercial, or in-house applications for iPhone and iPod touch. The SDK comes with everything developers need to "go from code to customer", including development resources, real-world testing on iPhone, and an exclusive application distribution channel, the App Store.

The App Store is an Apple-developed application designed for the iPhone to provide iPhone an iTunes type store front to purchase, download and update applications directly to the iPhone using EDGE or Wi-Fi. The App Store is actually built into the iPhone enabling users iTunes style functionality to search applications by popularity, title, or genre of application. The App Store will also prompt iPhone user's when a new version of the application is released to wirelessly download the application update.

Being an exclusive channel Apple is the gatekeeper to applications that are made available in the App Store and Apple has already indicated that it will not allow "iPhone porn". Apple will also impose a revenue sharing model for applications in the App Store; Apple allows the developer to set the price of the application but takes 30% off the top of each sale. This appears more reasonable considering Apple will not charge for credit card processing, hosting or marketing. Apple will pay out revenues on a monthly basis. Developers distributing free applications would of course not be charged anything.

Also good news for Adobe Flex 3 developers it appears that Adobe and Apple are working to make Flash and/or Flash Lite available on the iPhone. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said "We are also committed to bringing the Flash experience to the iPhone and we will work with Apple. We've evaluated the SDK, we can now start to develop the Flash player ourselves and we think it benefits our joint customers." Adobe later watered down the statement adding "However, to bring the full capabilities of Flash to the iPhone Web-browsing experience we do need to work with Apple beyond and above what is available through the SDK and the current license around it." The beyond and above points to the agreements that must be ironed out between Apple and Adobe to enable Flash to work within the Safari Browser on the iPhone and to come to a licensing agreement similar to the one Adobe recently ironed out with Microsoft.

It would make sense for Apple to iron out an agreement with Adobe considering that all major handset manufacturers worldwide license Flash today. By Adobe's account more than 450 million Flash-enabled mobile devices shipped worldwide and with 150 percent year-over-year growth they are on track to see 1 billion Flash enabled devices by 2010.

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