Apple’s annual WordWide Developer’s Conference got underway today in San Francisco. For the Apple faithful, this is Mecca, a time and place where the public gets to find out what the gurus at Cupertino have been working on for the last 6 months or more. Here’s the scoop.
Since this conference is geared toward the people who work on Apple’s products for a living, it has a distinctly geeky feel to it and many of announcements are designed to build enthusiasm for Apple’s platforms and developer tools.
Today, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs outlined in his keynote speech that the company has 3 major areas of focus:
- The Mac
- The iPhone
However all of Job’s keynote was dedicated to the iPhone, and the companion iPhone SDK (Software Developer’s Kit) which enables code-writers to create programs that run on Apple’s hugely successful mobile device.
The big, widely anticipated announcement was the new, "3G" version of the iPhone, which is now set to debut July 11.
The latest version will be much more affordable – at $199 USD for an 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB, and it will give users much faster data speeds. The speeds are apparently so good, they come close to offering Wi-fi performance over a cellular network.
Apple has been signing up mobile providers like crazy and claims that there will be no fewer than 70 countries worldwide which support the iPhone, by year’s end.
The new version of the iPhone has full Microsoft Exchange support, which will help alleviate many concerns that large companies had with rolling out the unit to their workforce which often number in the tens of thousands. It also sports GPS functionality with real-time tracking. This feature is key for many of the applications built specifically for the iPhone. Speaking of which…
Since the actual SDK was released earlier in the year, the topic turned to what developers had accomplished with it so far. The highlights were:
- TypePad: a fully iPhone-enabled version of the popular blogging tool
- eBay: an iPhone interface to the world’s largest e-commerce market place
- Pangea Software: a slate of new games for the iPhone, many of which make innovative use of the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer, giving players the ability to steer cars or affect the behaviour of objects on-screen through the tilt of the device
- Cow Terry: an application that lets you compose and mix music using a variety of instruments
- MLB.com: an all-in-one solution for fans of the official game of summer, including in-depth stats and "real time" video highlights immediately after a play is complete
- MIMVista: a stunning medical application which gives health care professionals detailed text and graphical information on their patients including medical imaging like PET scans
- Modality: a pocket medical reference for students that allows users to see body parts and read descriptions
- AP News: AP is updating their existing software to give users local news headlines based on where they are physically located. It’s also got a user-generated-content component, allowing iPhone users the ability to take and upload photos from their phone to submit to AP.
Also announced were:
- MobileMe: touted as "exchange for the rest of us", MobilMe is a platform designed to unify photos, email, calendars and contacts from one device to another. Enterprise users already have this functionality but for anyone else, this will be a huge advantage. The service will cost $99/year and be powered by Apple’s iDisk storage, which starts you off with 20GB worth of space.
- Apple’s next version of OS X, named Snow Leopard.