Apple iPhone Announcement

TechCrunch and Macworld were live blogging from the Apple iPhone Software Roadmap event at the Apple campus at Cupertino.

Below are the main takes from today’s announcements (plus some commentary of course):

  • Long list of features aimed at the Enterprise market:
    • Push email\calendar\contacts
    • Global address list
    • Cisco IPsec VPN
    • Two-factor authentication, certificates and identities.
    • Enterprise-class Wi-Fi with WPA2/802.1x.
    • Security tools to enforce security policies.
    • Deployment tools to allow an organization to configure and set thousands of devices easily.
    • Data Security – Ability to protect iPhone data and remotely wipe it.
  • Apple licensed the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol and will feature full Exchange sync support on the next iPhone update.

“With ActiveSync, the iPhone talks directly to Exchange. So the iPhone will get push e-mail, push calendaring, push contacts, global access lists, and remote wipe, all while talking to Exchange. And it’s built into the existing applications — mail goes into the same Mail program, calendar into the same Calendar, and so on.”

  • iPhone SDK

“Starting today we’re opening up the same APIs and tools that we use to develop our own applications today. Now, there are a lot of pieces that make up an SDK. But the most important are the APIs and the platform. And we have a great one, Mac OS X.” Layers: Core OS, Core Services, Media, and Cocoa. “To build the iPhone OS, we took the bottom three layers and moved them across. Now Cocoa is interesting… it’s the best application framework out there, but it’s based on a keyboard and mouse.” Instead, they build Cocoa Touch, based on touch interaction with the iPhone OS.”

According to Apple, its opening up all the APIs used by its own developers to develop the iPhone applications. They’re also building tools to support developers (on a Mac):

“Now a brand new development tool, the iPhone Simulator. Runs on a Mac, and simulates the entire API stack of the iPhone OS. So right here, on your Mac, you can run your application in the simulator, which gives you an incredible turnaround time on development.”

  • iTunes as an Application Market

Apple is using iTunes to allow distributing and selling applications. Developers have a standard platform to be used for distributing their application.
The application store is going to be the exclusive way to distribute applications to the iPhone. It is going to be free of charge for free applications and will involve a 30% fee of revenues of commercial applications.

Reminds me of Nintendo tactics – in its early days, Nintendo kept all manufacturing rights for Nintendo hardware. Being the manufacturer of Nintendo cassettes media it made all its developer buy its media to be able to distributing games…

  • Gaming platform

One of the aspects of the SDK is that it supports OpenGL for graphics and OpenAL for sound.
Apple had representative from EA testifying about the iPhone as a gaming platform and talking about games they’re working on.
Apple is selling the iPhone as a device with serious gaming capabilities. I bet we’ll also see more desktop oldies converted to iPhone now….
Combines with iTunes as a game distribution platform Apple can be on to something interesting here…  Kind of like what Microsoft is doing with Xbox Live! Arcade

  • Business Applications Platform

The iPhone graphics capabilities can also be used for analytics in business applications, as demonstrated by a application:

“Salesforce automation application comes on screen. There’s a needle showing how a sales guy is doing, on a spectrum from red to green. A full iPhone toolbar on the bottom, and a native iPhone list at the top.”

Other demos shown:

  • Apple also had AOL talking about bringing AIM to the iPhone. I guess the other instant messaging platforms will follow…
  • Epocrates – Software used by doctors. I guess Apple is joining Microsoft, Google, SAP and Oracle in attacking the health market
  • iFund

Kleiner Perkins announced a $100 million iFund for investment in startups who create applications for the iPhone.

I wonder how corporate IT is going to treat these new features. Richard Koman at ZDnet seems skeptic

In any case, an iPhone SDK plus tight integration with Exchange can bring up some interesting ideas for Enterprise Applications like the ones we’re doing at SAP…
An iPhone Duet (iDuet) anyone?

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