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Tuesday, June 05, 2007 

IPhone Third Part Apps?

Users eager to get their hands on an iPhone may have June 29 circled on their calendars to mark the mobile device’s announced ship date. But for software developers, the most significant date in the build-up to the iPhone’s release was easily May 30. That’s the day Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the D: All Things Digital Conference near San Diego and announced that his company is working to make its eagerly anticipated mobile phone open to outside developers, reversing months of skeptical statements about third-party involvement.

For software makers, the latest pronouncement by Jobs, though lacking specifics, couldn’t be more welcome. It indicates that they’ll have a chance to create versions of their apps—or come up with entirely new programs—that will run on what potentially could be the most popular mobile device since Apple’s iPod.

Jobs’ encouraging words to developers came during a Q-and-A session at the D: All Things Digital conference, an annual gathering of tech industry heavy hitters sponsored by the Wall Street Journal. Asked by an audience member about the possibility of third-party companies creating iPhone apps, Jobs suggested that was a distinct possibility in the months following the device’s June launch.

“We’re working through a way [to support third-party development],” Jobs said. “We’ve got some pretty good ideas that we’re working through, and I think sometime later this year we will find a way to let third parties write apps and still preserve security.”

Whither Widgets?

As with many specifics about the iPhone, the details on just when and how developers will be able to create programs for the mobile device are still up in the air. Chief among the questions: Will Apple release a developers’ kit for the iPhone? Next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco figures to shed some light on that issue, with the New York Times reporting that Apple “intends to announce that it will make it possible for developers of small programs written for the Macintosh to easily convert them to run on the iPhone.”

What the Times’s source refers to as “small programs” is still in question, but it’s possible that this refers to Mac OS X’s Dashboard technology, in which small “widgets” written largely in the JavaScript scripting language grab basic data from the Internet and display it in an attractive interface.

But beyond simple software such as widgets, the question remains: what kinds of full-blown apps would be appropriate for the iPhone? One of the post-interview questions during Jobs’ appearance at the D: All things Digital conference last week was posed by Blake Krikorian, the CEO of Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox video-streaming product. Sling has created remote SlingPlayer applications for cell phones running the Windows Mobile and Palm operating systems.

While the company hasn’t announced any specific interest in creating a version of SlingPlayer for the iPhone, Krikorian’s question to Jobs complained about the limited bandwidth on the iPhone’s built-in EDGE cellular data network. (Jobs responded by praising the speed of EDGE and pointing out that when an iPhone senses a Wi-Fi network, it attempts to join that network and use it for data transmission instead.)

source: http://news.yahoo.com

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Pedro "K2" Macêdo

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