Just a few minutes ago, I had a most enlightening email conversation with someone who knows as much about the new iPhone SDK, and its effects/potential, as anyone who doesn't work at Apple. And probably know more than most who do.
That'd be Raven Zachary, who you may know as key force behind the iPhone DevCamp, (group-and-grin from 2007 SF event in pic) as well as an analyst and perhaps THE key thought leader in the third party iPhone developer community.
Raven had some thoughts on the new iPhone SDK. I know you are here because you want to know what he thinks.
Comin' at ya!:
RS: Your overarching thoughts on SDK?- is it what you hoped for in terms of flexibility, ease of use, etc?
RZ: This is what the development community was hoping for - a platform that allowed developers to build native applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In terms of openness, it looks to be something in- between what Apple does today with the iPod Games market and the Mac. Developers can write almost anything, but will need to distribute the software through the iTunes App Store, with Apple taking a 30% revenue share for distribution, billing, and marketing, basically. Developers wanting to distribute free applications through the App Store will be allowed to do so, as well.
RS: How does SDK functionality change the game for 3-party iPhone devs?
RZ: 3rd party development for the iPhone up until now was web-based through Safari, and a small number of people in the hacker community working on unofficial apps. We're now going to see an entire new market created around native applications, and providing functionality not possible through web development. You'll see iPhone development for web-based applications, just not exclusively.
RS: Are you troubled by the Apple "control" issue, i.e. they reserve right of approval?
RZ: No, because it seems that Apple will only limit this in extreme situations. Steve Jobs was quoted in the Q&A session with the media that they would even allow VOIP applications, although limited to Wifi and not over the carrier network. What we don't have here is Apple review of all source code, which would have been time consuming and expensive.
RS: In SDK, what's cool?
RZ: Everything, pretty much. Apple has provided a large sandbox for developers while still providing for data security.
RS: In SDK what's missing that ought to be there?
RZ: There are still a number of unanswered questions from today's announcement, such as hardware and peripheral connectivity, but these will be answered by Apple in time.
RS: Any other thoughts?
RZ: Don't underestimate this market and the disruption on RIM (BlackBerry). Kleiner Perkins is putting $100m into the iFund, and this platform has a very exciting future, and one with plenty of commercialization opportunities for 3rd party developers.