At a press conference earlier today, Apple released the much anticipated native SDK for the iPhone.
iPhone applications will be created using Cocoa. To develop native applications for the iPhone, developer will be using the XCode IDE and the newly released iPhone SDK and iPhone simulator. Third party applications will be made available through an iPhone App Store. The applications developed on the iPhone SDK also work on the iPod Touch.
The App Store is the exclusive distribution channel to deliver applications to the iPhone. From the press conference, it is reported that the developer picks the price of the application and get to keep 70% of the sales. The developer can release applications for free to the end user, Apple will not put charge fee for free applications.
The SDK is available right now, but the App Store might not be released to end users until sometime after June, perhaps in the next upgrade release of the iPhone kernel and software.
The iPhone SDK is free but Apple has a iPhone Developer Program starting at $99. At this point it is not entirely clear what you get from the iPhone Developer Program, but I imagine that you need to be in the program for you to actually sell your applications on the App Store.
At the press conference, John Doerr of the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture capital firm said, “best way to predict the future is to invent it. At Kleiner, we say the second best way is to fund it.” Doerr announced a $100 million iFund to fund companies and ventures developing application for the iPhone and iPod touch.
Apple had a few demos at hand at the press conference, which all seemed to make use of the iPhone’s great touch ui, touch gestures, and accelerometer.
Back in July of last year, I was at the iPhone Dev Camp where I had a small part in developing Tilt, perhaps the first iPhone motioned controlled game for the iPhone. Having full access to the accelerometer and location data will open the possibilities for a wide array of new applications.
Prior to the SDK being freely available, the only option for custom applications for the iPhone was web development.