With iPhone OS 3.0, Apple opens creativity coffers

Developers get 1,000 APIs, users get new features and apps
  • (Computerworld)
  • — 18 March, 2009 07:43

In the wake of Apple Inc.'s preview of iPhone 3.0 software Tuesday, one thing's clear: The level of creativity coming from iPhone developers is amazing.

Whether they're veteran code-pushers or new dabblers, the relative simplicity of the platform and access to tools -- along with new hooks such as location tagging -- are giving us some kick-ass, diverse stuff. Ocarina, SSH tools, GPark, Trism and countless other apps have already rotated through my first-generation 4MB iPhone. With some 50,000 companies and individuals registered now in the iPhone Developer Program -- and over 25,000 choices in the App Store -- I may need to dig out some cash to buy a model with room to grow -- especially once all the new apps envisioned Tuesday hit the market this summer.

And still, there's so much more that can be done.

Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone software, talked up what's new for developers at Tuesday's event in San Francisco: 1,000 new APIs. Even as a consumer, I can see it's the developers that really make this more than a phone, though I wonder whether all those new APIs might make developing for the iPhone -- and the iPod Touch -- more complicated, no matter how great the tools are.

Apple's decision to give developers the option of selling through subscriptions, offering not only the app but new content or new game levels within the app, opens up countless new business models -- and new ways into my wallet. A newspaper might actually be able to make money offering an app that serves as a gateway to iPhone-optimized content delivered fresh. Urban guides could sell per-city content.

Peer-to-peer sharing is on the way, too. Remember being able to "zap" business card info across early PDAs? This looks like it could do it, but I'm not sure why it's done via Bluetooth; the Nintendo DS can play peer-to-peer over WiFi. I can see a lot of iPhone gamers connecting randomly on Bay Area public transport for a quick game.

Being able to control and send data to accessories is another big step forward. Forstall mentioned medical devices that send data straight to doctors, something that could facilitate the digitization of medical records. Or it could put an iPhone in the hands of warehouse, medical, retail and other workers who now use bulkier and heavier tablet PCs. Push notification has been a sticky point for the iPhone. Corporate types can't be bothered to check e-mail on a regular basis, so companies like the push model. But Apple didn't want to deal with an 80% loss in standby time, so it waited until it could solve the problem elegantly. If Apple's push plans live up to the promise held out Tuesday, another enterprise reservation about the iPhone is gone. There's still the issue of Apple not allowing apps to run in the background -- Public Radio won't continue streaming audio if you go to check your mail. Yes, it can be a battery drain, but some apps have a reasonable need to process data in the background.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Turner

Computerworld
Topics: iPhone
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?