Friday, 7 March 2008

iPhone Roadmap

On March 6th Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple unveiled the iPhone Roadmap at Apple Town Hall, Cupertino, California. You can view a movie of the event here.

The iPhone has it’s fair share of critics, (most of them haven’t yet used one ...) here are some interesting statistics especially considering the iPhone has only been available for around eight months.

In the US the iPhone now has a 28% share of the Smartphone market, beaten only by RIM (41%) with their Blackberry devices. In addition 71% of the mobile Internet Browser market is taken by the iPhone.

One of the main features of the iPhone Roadmap is concerned with iPhone in the Enterprise. Apple sees massive opportunity here, and rightly so. These are the most desired enterprise features requested by corporates, and they will all be available in the next release of the iPhone software:

Push Email
Push Calendar
Push Contacts
Global Address Lists
Two Factor Authentication
WPA2, 802.1x
Enforced Security Policies
Global Configuration
Remote Wipe

Full Microsoft Exchange support will be built into all iPhones. Direct connection between the Exchange Server and the iPhone is possible utilising ActiveSync wirelessly, avoiding the traditional and convoluted method of Smartphone > Network Operating Centre > Message Server > Exchange Server.

Software Development Kit
Another big announcement concerns the long awaited SDK. This news was well worth waiting for. The iPhone O/S is a modified version of OSX with a full set of API’s for 3D Graphics and Sound, both hardware accelerated, a 3 axis Accelerometer and built in SQLite database. A full suite of tools based on Xcode and Interface Builder are available as is an iPhone Simulator.

For an example of what can be accomplished with this new SDK with just a couple of weeks development time, view the video from 40:50. Fantastic software from Apple, Sega, Salesforce.Com and Electronic Arts, amongst others is demonstrated. If you are a developer and this doesn’t excite you then it’s time to look for a career change

Distribution of iPhone applications will be through either iTunes or the new App Store, directly from the iPhone. Developers get to state their price and take 70% of the revenue, Apple keeping 30% towards the running of the distribution facilities. Free applications can be developed and made available with no cost to either the developer or the customer.

The SDK will be available in June, All the features discussed and demonstrated will also be available on the iPod Touch.

The iFund
A surprise at the end of the event was John Doerr from the worlds largest venture capital company Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, they announced that they have a pot of $100,000,000 with which to fund iPhone related startups.

One word to describe the announcements made at the event ? WOW.

"Better shun the bait, than struggle in the snare." - John Dryden

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