Building an iPhone application

Building an iPhone application

Summary: The iPhone has a terrific touchscreen and great features like 3.5G mobile broadband and GPS, making the iPhone highly suitable for some enterprise mobile applications.

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The iPhone has a terrific touchscreen and great features like 3.5G mobile broadband and GPS, making the iPhone highly suitable for some enterprise mobile applications. If you're thinking of building your own iPhone application, here are a few useful pointers:

-- You need a Mac to build iPhone applications. Building iPhone applications on a PC is not supported by Apple.

-- Register as an iPhone developer here and download the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK), which includes the iPhone Simulator. Registration is free, but to test your application on an actual iPhone or iPod Touch, you'll need to purchase the Standard or Enterprise iPhone Developer Program (more details below).

-- You'll program iPhone applications using the Objective-C programming language. At first glance, an Objective-C program looks similar to C++ and Java, but when you look closely, you'll see that the object-oriented programming is done differently--more like Smalltalk.

-- You'll use the Xcode development environment provided in the iPhone SDK to compile your Objective-C program and test your application against the iPhone Simulator. It's somewhat similar to using Microsoft Visual Studio to compile and test your Windows Mobile applications. I found this tutorial very helpful in creating my very first iPhone application.

-- The iPhone SDK gives you programmatic access to a rich set of functions on the iPhone: camera, accelerometer, animation, 3D rendering with OpenGL ES, embedded SQLite database, GeoLocation (i.e. GPS), and so on. You can most certainly build powerful iPhone applications with the SDK.

-- If you want to run your application on an actual iPhone or iPod Touch, you need to purchase the Standard iPhone Developer Program (US$99) or the Enterprise Program (US$299). The Standard Program lets you install your application on up to 100 iPhones via the "Ad Hoc Distribution" method. The application is tied to the iPhone's unique device ID through digital signing (similar to the Symbian Signed program for Symbian applications).

-- The Enterprise Program is meant for companies with 500 or more employees who wish to create their own proprietary in-house iPhone applications. It's also possible to distribute your application through the public iPhone App Store, but the process is more complicated and I won't describe it here.

It took me a few hours to get my iPhone application signed correctly and working on a real iPhone. Be warned that the iPhone SDK documentation can be quite hard to navigate and comprehend.

Next week I'll write about building applications for Google Android phones.

%IMAGE=HelloIPhone.jpg%

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

Lee Lup Yuen

About Lee Lup Yuen

Lee Lup Yuen is passionate about mobile phones and PDAs, as he is constantly buying new gadgets and programming them in J2ME, .NET, Symbian and AppForge.
He has developed commercial applications with mobile technologies like SMS, MMS, WAP, 3G video streaming and location-based services.

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6 comments
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  • Building an iPhone application

    I need to pay $300 to put my app into the app-store???

    The Enterprise Program is meant for companies with 500 or more employees who wish to create their own proprietary in-house iPhone applications. It's also possible to distribute your application through the public iPhone App Store, but the process is more complicated and I won't describe it here.
    anonymous
  • Building an iPhone application

    You'll need to pay US$99 for the Standard Program to get the app tested on a real iPhone. Then you'll need to upload the app to Apple for review. The details are described in the iPhone Developer Program User Guide, which you'll receive when you buy the Standard Program.
    lupyuen
  • Building an iPhone application

    Hey Lee, while we didnt actually build the app ourselves I was involved in the entire process. I was actaully shocked at how quickly Apple came back with the first set of fixes. Then when we submitted it again it took a day and a half to approve it. I had heard roumers of weeks and months and was more nervous about the competition coming out with one first.

    If your bored feel free to take a look Itunes store search "ticketsdirect".

    Would love to hear your feedback as well.

    Have a good day.
    anonymous
  • Building an iPhone application

    The Android Market doesn't require any validation process for publishing Android apps; instead it relies on public feedback to pick the best apps and weed out the bad ones. Do you think this will work better than the iPhones App Store validation process?
    lupyuen
  • Building an iPhone application

    Great question.

    Over all yes I think its a better to let the public feedback pick the best app. But there is a couple things to that....
    1) We don't know 100% the screening that Apple does on their apps. (At least I dont). To me Apple wants their users to have the best experience which they have done a great job on. The Ipod, Mac and the Iphone. Yes they seem a bit 1984 but they also have a great reputation with their products.
    There is some stupid Apps on Itunes as well as some amazing ones, but we really have no idea how many are rejected. Maybe its as low as 1%.
    To me, I feel that Apple means quality where google will let anything go so that they get more attention by doing it.
    I haven't tried their apps, wasn't impressed by their phone either. But if there is a way to put on a .99 app on google that is being solely judged by their peers then there is a way to have a million people say its the best app, that dev company will make millions before google would do anything about it. I don't see Apple allowing something like that. It's very easy to have a huge network of people comment positively or negatively on something.
    anonymous
  • Building an iPhone application

    I like this article very much.
    It enhanced my knowledge about iphone application.
    Shawn
    anonymous