Thursday, March 06, 2008

iPhone Software Roadmap Keynote Review

Yesterday, Apple announced the roadmap for iPhone software development , and it's video is already available and really worth watching. When iPhone was initially released last year i (plus a big bunch of tech junkies around the world) got kinda disappointed when development was constrained to Web-based apps only. We were expecting a Mac OS-like Cocoa API and the Objective-C programming language/runtime to harness all of iPhone features.
Well, our prayers were listened by the Cupertino guys and here we are , with a full-blown native application development platform and business model to distribute iPhone apps.
Cooler than all the iPhone-corporative-value-talk were the game development demos from EA and Sega. EA's demo was a mobile version of Will Wright's Spore!

With the Mac OS X based kernel, OpenGL ES, OpenAL , Cocoa Touch, Accelerometer, XCode IDE, Remote Debugging and Profiling, developing software for iPhone seems at least attractive. Can it beat J2ME and Symbian native apps in the future? If Apple does in practice everything it was said yesterday we will have some interesting competition in a near future.

- The iPhone is a single phone device. You don't have to worry with the implications and code-bending to make it run in multiple phone devices like in J2ME and Symbian.
- Application provisioning done by Apple (which have great experience of selling content with iTunes) instead of Phone Companies, which opens up the distribution range
- Code is natively compiled and written with industry proven Objective-C (alive and kicking since NeXT times)

- It's a brand new platform. Time is needed for it to achieve maturity
- Objective-C is a very expressive and powerful object oriented language, but i don't know if that big mass of "Die-hard Java lovers" will have the guts to embrace it (Not offending Java programmers, i pay my bills with it. But i've seen around lots of java dudes around that hardly sympathize with the words "Smalltalk Messaging" and "C")

- Application profit distribution goes 70%(developers) and 30%(apple), i doubt of any Brazilian Phone Company that can do better.
- If the iPhone reaches a iPod-like popularity in the Mobile Phone world, the amount of users developers can reach is huge.
- Good range of applications that can be developed (personal, high quality 3d games , media , business)

- Unfortunately, with this kind of development platform, malware efforts tends to increase

I officially announce: After this keynote the iPhone is on my gadgets crush list :)

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