With today’s announcements from Apple regarding new developments in the iPhone platform, it is becoming clear that we are headed for a major show-down between Cupertino’s and Waterloo’s most famous tech stars.
Today marked an important event for those who follow the mobile phone landscape, and in particular the phenomenal success of Apple’s iPhone. Apple hosted their iPhone SDK (Software Developer’s Kit) session for programmers who are seeking to write applications for the device.
There were a lot of technical details released regarding the kind of tools that developers will now have access to (far more than I can list here without a big cut & paste) but here are some of the highlights:
- The iPhone’s built-in accelerometer (a sensor that can detect movement) can be, and is being used as a control for new types of applications such as games – a game called TouchFighter was demonstrated
- The device will now work with Microsoft’s nearly ubiquitous Exchange Server product allowing for address book synchronization, but more importantly, push e-mail.
- All applications built for the iPhone by developers will be distributed to users via a forthcoming "Application Store"
- Applications can be made free of charge, in which case developers will not be billed by Apple, but if they choose to sell the app, they can determine the price and they will receive 70% of all revenue made (Apple keeps the other 30%)
- Apple will be publishing an API (application programming interface) called iPhone Simulator that allows developers to reproduce the full iPhone interface on their desktops, along with a programming environment called Xcode
- A new fund backed by Kleiner Perkins called iFund, which will allocate $100 million US to help new iPhone-centric businesses get up and running
Of course all this means that RIM is going to have their hands full trying to keep Apple from eroding their strangle-hold on the mobile business category. However, the maker of the Blackberry device is taking a different approach to maintaining their success. At a recent press conference, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said that he wants to see the Blackberry become a social networking tool, with an emphasis on the hugely popular Facebook platform.
So the iPhone is headed for the boardroom while the Blackberry begins to court consumers where they spend most of their non-email online time. Will one of them eventually rule both worlds or are they destined to coexist for the foreseeable future?