Developing for the iPhone in Windows...sort of
First a bit of stunning news, or maybe just news depending on your viewpoint, the number of iPhone apps has surpassed the number of MS Mobiles Apps. According to 148Apps which keeps a running count of AppStore applications sliced and diced by month of submission, price and category, the the total count today stands at 28,408, far beyond the closest competition offered by Microsoft Windows Mobile with latest estimates hovering around the 20,000 mark. in fact, the pace seems to be accelerating, the number of new apps for the first two months of this year, 10,584, has already outpaced the biggest 3 months of last year coming in at 9,901 apps. based on the numbers from 148Apps.
This data is also support by mobile analytics firm Mobclix, showing Apple's AppStore offering 29.501 mobile applications as of this writing, consisting of 6,678 free apps and 22,823 paid apps.
Also of note is a report from the web metrics firm Net Applications which issued a survey of the mobile search market showing the iPhone emerging with a commanding lead. The data shows that 63% or nearly 2/3 of all mobile Web searches for the month of March came from an iPhone.
This is exciting news for developers looking for a captive large and expanding market. But the only way to develop iPhone applications currently is on a Mac. Simulator or iPhone, using XCode and Objective C right? Well technically speaking this is only partially true and there is now an alternative for Windows programmers. ComponentOne has introduced a new product in a Community Technology Preview or CTP named Studio for iPhone. According to ComponentOne the product enables programmers to combine the power of ASP.NET with the sleek iPhone interface. So Windows programmers can create web applications that run on the iPhone, in the browser and look and feel like a native iPhone app, almost. There are some subtle issues like whole page transitions instead of partial page transitions you find in native iPhone apps. In fact overall the feel is similar to the difference between a web app and a desktop app, makes sense. I haven't looked how an an ASP.NET application will fare with the AppStore approval committee but its an interesting product.