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This is About More Developers for the Mac

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In the wake of Apple's press event announcing the latest software update to its mobile platform due out this summer, John Gruber and other suggests that, with an interesting modification to the developer agreement, Apple is trying to increase the quality of applications created for their growing family of mobile multi-touch devices.

Specifically the new agreement, which developers must accept in order to use the latest development kit, bans the use of cross-platform compilers in creating applications for the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.

That is to develop software for the upcoming iPhone OS release a developer has one of two options; use Apple's development environment, complete with compiler and programming interfaces to develop an application specifically designed for the iPhone/iPad/iPod or target multiple platforms by building a web app that can also run in the web browser, Safari.

However, the restriction goes, you cannot develop using, for example, Adobe's pending Flash update which is designed to enable the building of an application in one environment, Flash, and in turn, recompiled for multiple, "less powerful" platforms such as the Android or Windows smartphones.

Yet, as other commentators have noted, Apple already reserves the right to review apps submitted to their iTunes store and that hasn't stopped the store from getting bogged down with lots of crappy apps.

Thus, their logic goes, Apple is really trying to lock in developers. If you want to develop for the iPhone, which everyone has, you can only use our toolkit. Oh and you have to pay us $99 to get a copy of the developer kit. Oh and the software developer kit only runs on a Mac, which only we make, so that will be another $1,000. Mahhhaaaa, we're so evil....

But one Hacker News commentator, thought_alarm, I think is on the right track noting, "Few developers have any experience with Cocoa or Objective-C."


Compared to the number of Windows developers or web developers out there, few have developed using Cocoa or Objective-C given the Mac's market share compared to other computers. Few individuals or companies have looked to develop Mac-only or Mac specific applications.

But now the iPhone and iPad are the toast of the town. Everyone wants to get in while the getting is good. Naturally, Apple wants to capitalize on this.

Now, it just so happens that Xcode, the software development kit for the iPhone, is the exact same development kit Apple provides to Mac developers. Objective-C the exact same language. Cocoa Touch, a variation of the Cocoa framework for the Mac.

All these new iPhone developers have everything they need to develop for the Mac.

Apple isn't looking to lock in these iPhone developers, instead Apple is looking to open up the number of Apple developers out in the wild, be it iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac.

See, a few years ago, when the iPod was growing in popularity, there was a lot of talk about the "halo effect." The idea that consumers, who for whatever reason had ignored Apple and the Mac, but now wanted an iPod, would in turn take a second look at Apple when looking for their next computer purchase.

By all accounts the halo effect is real. While the PC industry has been in the dumps during the recent recession, Apple has sold record numbers of Macs.

But the Mac still doesn't command the market to demand individual developer's attention. The iPhone, however does. 

By getting developers to use only Apple's software development kit for the iPhone, Apple gets a chance to say "See how easy that was to develop for the iPhone? Now just imagine what you could do for the Mac! You already have everything you need to write a killer Mac application. Go on, we dare you!"

The only other option, developing a web application, still works overall in Apple's favor. Since the framework for Safari on the iPhone, Webkit, is the same that drives the Safari web browser on the Mac.

In other words, Apple is looking to grab the attention of developers, who for whatever reason had ignored Apple and the Mac, but now want to develop for the iPhone/iPad/iPod, and in turn might take a second look at the Mac when looking at their next software project.

Apple iPad Preorders Begin

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First published: 12th of March 2010 for Technorati

As announced last week Apple has begun taking pre-orders from United States customers for its upcoming Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G model iPad.

Customers are being limited to pre-ordering no more than two devices, but Apple is including free delivery where possible.

The Wi-FI only model is due to beginning arriving in homes and stores on April 3rd while the Wi-Fi with 3G model iPad won't beginning shipping until sometime later in the month. Both the Wi-Fi and 3G models will be also become available in the U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Italy, Japan, Span and Switzerland late April.

The iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB model with Wi-Fi. Two additional Wi-Fi models are available with greater memory, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB.

While the iPad will initially release with a updated version of what is known as the iPhone OS, AppleInsider is reporting that Apple is working on a major summer update that will introduce a multitasking solution of the mobile multitouch platform.

Citing sources "with a proven track record in predicting Apple's technological advances" they report that development is in full swing, but that "the iPhone Software 4.0 remains under development and reportedly has a quite 'way to go' before it's ready for prime time."

AppleInsider then goes on to speculate on some the issues Apple will need to address, including security, user experience, battery life and other optimize resource conservation issues before the feature is released.

It is unclear if the given summer time-frame is from the reliable source or AppleInsider speculation. None the less, Apple annually holds its World Wide Developer Conference during the summer, and the past two years of the conference have brought refreshes of the iPhone OS.

Meanwhile, not to be left behind, Microsoft made news this past week in regards to their own tablet-based computing initiatives. Engadget last week, shorty after Apple announced the iPad's April 3rd availability, broke with news from its "extremely trusted source" that Microsoft's Courier will be a folding 10x14 "digital journal" that is built on the Tegra 2 mobile processor and will run the same OS as the Zune HD, Pink, and Windows Mobile 7 Series smartphones.

But while the iPad is the could-be hit of the summer, one will have to wait until fall or winter for the Courier.

No matter what, it seems that in some form or another the must-have-gadget of 2010 is going to be a tablet.

Apple Tablet Rumors Heat Up

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First published: 23rd of December 2009 for Technorati

The Interweb has been ablaze with tablet rumors for quite some time now and according to a recent Financial Times article, "Apple is preparing an announcement next month that many anticipate will be the official unveiling..."

Despite the swirling rumors, Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge the existence of such a device.

Backing up the Financial Times, Silicon Valley Insider (SVI) suggests that Apple is indeed preparing for a demo of a new mobile device with screen resolutions greater than the current iPhone and iPod Touch. Additionally, SVI reports that Apple has asked a select group of software developers to recast their apps and that "they've told select developers that as long as they build their apps to support full screen resolution -- rather than a fixed 320x480 -- their apps should run just fine."

However, SVI suggests that the device itself won't be ready to purchase until sometime in March, supposedly providing remaining software developers time to incorporate the tablet's specifications into their current and future planned releases.

Meanwhile, Appleinsider reports that Gene Munster, a market research analyst with Piper Jaffray, has issued a note to investors suggesting that he expects the long-rumored tablet device to ship by March. However, while Jaffray believes there's a 75% chance of some sort of announcement planned for January - maybe an iPod touch with camera and video or a new TV subscription service for iTunes - the odds of a January announcement for a new tablet are 50-50.

Traditionally, Apple has used the first full week in January to publicly debut new hardware and software, most notably being the iPhone in 2007 during the keynote speech at Macworld. However, at the 2009 Macworld, Apple announced that their strategy would no longer hinge on major events and that the 2009 Macworld would be the last one in which the company would particiapte in. This fact, along with the false rumors of Steve Jobs speaking at the Consumer Electronics Association's event in January, might suggest that Apple intends to delay announcement of the long-awaited tablet until it is actually ready for shipment.

As with all Apple announcements and rumors, consumers, analysts, media-types, industry watchers and brand-enthusiasts will just have to wait and wonder.

The iTablet, Only from AT&T?

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Short of some as yet unforeseen issue, it seems that most Apple rumors these days agree that sometime early next year, Apple will be releasing a "tablet-like" device to the masses.

The rumored specifications include one or more devices of varying screen size (between 6 to 10 inches) with multitouch support, a screen resolution around 720x480, an Apple designed ARM-based Processor, WiFi and a long-duration battery.

Rumors also include a built-in 3G HSDPA chip for accessing the Internet, away from WiFi hotspots, via a cellular carrier that supports the same data standard.

The cellular data support begs the question, will Apple's new device be sold by AT&T with a price subsidy?

Why do I ask? Well, the current rumors put this tablet device at anywhere between $600 - $1000. Now ask yourself, would you pay $1000 for a device that could get lost or dropped easily? If your going to spend that much would you just purchase a Macbook? Even at the $600 price-range would you by Apple's tablet, a cheap laptop or a netbook?

However a price subsidy could drop the upfront price for the consumer from $600 - $1000 to $250 - $400.1 But that subsidy would no doubt require a 2-year contract for data service from AT&T.

That of course begs more questions; If this new Apple device is indeed getting a price subsidy similar to the iPhone, one has to ask won't a successful new Apple device put more strain on that same AT&T data network that's supposedly getting hammered by all those iPhone users?

Or, given the high price and resulting subsidy that AT&T would need to make back, it would suggest that the unlimited data plan for the new Apple device would be more than the $30 per month rate for the same plan on the iPhone. That in turn suggests the preclusion of being able to share the iPhone's data plan between devices. Will people accept that?

And of course would said device be exclusive to AT&T?

Lots of questions. Not many answers, just yet.

1 In fact AT&T already offers two netbooks for $199 after rebate.

What's It Going to Cost Me?

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Continuing on a theme, Appleinsider estimates that "nearly half of all iPhone users ... jumped at the opportunity to enhance the functionality of their handsets by installing the free iPhone Software 3.0 update" within the first week of the software update's release. However, the very same software update that iPod Touch users can also apply has seen extremely limited adoption.

According to Appleinsider's sources, within four days of the software lease, 44% of iPhone users applied the 3.0 software update while only 1% of iPod Touch downloaded and installed the very same software update.

The difference? Apple uses different accounting methods for the iPhone and iPod lines. As a result, since the initial release of the iPod Touch, Apple has charged a nominal $10 price tag on software updates.

Considering that I rationalized that consumers, much like a business, preform a rough cost-benefit analysis when considering if they should preform a software upgrade or not, this bit of evidence presents something different, that consumers will consider adopting a software upgrade when there is no direct cost associated with the update.

Apply this bit of information to the Windows world and well, it shouldn't shock anyone that Microsoft recently announced that the upcoming Windows 7 release, set for this fall, for consumer versions will be less expensive than similar Vista upgrades.

Microsoft will also eschew the traditional limitation that to qualify for the upgrade pricing a user must be upgrading from the immediately preceding software version. That is Windows XP users and Vista users will qualify for the upgrade price, whereas traditionally only Vista owners would qualify.

And if that wasn't enough, for a limited time Microsoft has cut the price by 50% for those who pre-order their upgrade before July 11th.

Now the question is, will consumers bite?

Speaking of To Update or Not?

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The other day I came across a blog post from a non-developer at Microsoft complaining about the "fan" mentality of users (notable in this case users of Apple's iPhone) who feel the need to "upgrading every 20 seconds." Said poster goes on to note that, at least in the Windows world, upgraders are more cautious, "prefer[ing] to give a major upgrade a couple of months to bed down."

Naturally this post resulted in a bunch of comments around the theme of "well if initial releases of major Microsoft updates, such as Vista didn't suck, users won't have to wait months before updating"

My first thought, along the lines of the comments made by others, suggests that perhaps the two companies approach software development in different manners, resulting in software releases with different levels of stability and usability and thus resulting in the difference in why one set of users - Apple iPhone users - might differ in upgrade behavior from another set of users - Windows users.

Specifically, while the stages of software development are pretty straightforward; Planning, Design (specification and architecture), Implementation (coding, testing and documenting), Deployment and Maintenance the actual implementation of these stages varies. There are numinous methods for implementing these basic development stages.

However, as far as I know, there has been very little written, case studies or otherwise, about the adoption of any specific software development method at Microsoft for Windows or at Apple for OS X development or how the two compare to each other. And in any case, while stability and reliability are important when it comes to the adoption of software updates, any short comings that may or may not exist in Microsoft's (or Apple's) development methodologies are hardly to blame.

When considering a software update a user, consumer or business, is going to determine the cost incurred by the upgrade and the benefit from adopting the upgrade. Pretty straightforward right? All most too basic to even mention.

Now, a consumer considering the latest software has to consider the cost to purchase the upgrade in terms of time and money. What is the cost of purchasing the new software? Does the software upgrade require a hardware upgrade as well? All of which gets compared to the the benefit the update brings to the consumer's computing chores.

Same of a business, but in their case their cost includes having to pay for their IT staff to update numinous devices within the company and teach the users about the benefit of the update, thus adding an additional significant cost.

Now I break up users into consumer and business types because one might argue that the percentage of iPhone users falls heavily in favor of the customer-type of user, while there is a significant percentage of businesses dependent on Windows and a business might sit and wait to test an update to verify the update's stability and benefits1 once released. Hence the difference between Apple iPhone user's quickly adopting the latest 3.0 software release and Microsoft Windows users who wait.

However, in reality, even before the release is fully available businesses will already have a copy of the update in hand for testing2 since software companies such as Apple and Microsoft have developer programs which allow those dependent on their software insight to what's coming down the road, while also providing feedback about potential concerns and issues with adoption.

So then, why the difference?

In the case of the iPhone 3.0 update the cost is $0 and 30 minutes to apply the update to one phone. The update does not require an additional hardware upgrade and provides significant improvements to productivity compared to previous software versions.

Windows Vista however starts at around $130 per update copy and can require significant investment in new hardware parts as well. Add to that various issues Microsoft has had in communicating requirements and potential benefits of Vista against various complaints about stability and performance and it becomes clear why iPhone users are quickly adopting their latest update, while Microsoft Windows users are waiting for Windows 7.


1 Which, I suppose could also be considered an additional cost to upgrading for a business.

2 Which in my mind puts this cost of testing and revewing in terms of normal operation of the IT infrastructure, instead of the cost incurred by the adoption of a new IT project for updating

AT&T Service Questions

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As with others, after Apple announced the new iPhone 3GS last week at its World Wide Developer Conference, I considered my options on upgrading from my iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS. What follows in the post below is a review of my concerns about AT&T's service and why I was planning on staying with the iPhone 3G.

Between scheduling this post for publishing and now AT&T has release an open letter to their iPhone 3G customers addressing some of the same concerns I note below. Specific to my criticism about determining my upgrade eligibility and the pre 1 year service contract anniversary of the 3G's release, AT&T has clarified that while "customers who spend more than $99 a month per line with [AT&T] generally are eligible for an upgrade between 12 and 18 months into their contract ... and since many of our iPhone 3G customers are early adopters and literally weeks shy of being upgrade eligible ... we're extending the window of upgrade eligibility for a limited time."

As such, those, such as myself, who purchased the iPhone 3G within the first three months of its release can upgrade with the full upgrade discount on the first day of the iPhone 3GS release this week.

I still think AT&T could do better job communicating its upgrade policy online. Plus my MMS criticism still stands. None the less, nice job AT&T.

Original Post
One of my initial concerns about adopting the iPhone was was with AT&T Wireless and its customer and network service. As I noted when the iPhone was first introduced, "I'm quite happy with T-Mobile. I spent hell on earth for many years with Sprint [and] I don't want to switch providers [again]."

When the 3G iPhone came out a year later, I made the jump, despite my concerns about service. I felt the phone itself, with its adoption of faster voice and data service as well GPS was well worth the switch.

Since then one of my biggest issues has been with the iPhone's approach to Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). The lack of ability to send multimedia, such as a photo, as a text message from one phone to another is frustrating. With the latest version of the iPhone's OS the fundamental support of MMS will finally be added to the iPhone. Case close, right?

Nope, AT&T won't be supporting MMS on the iPhone with the new software release, at least not right away. Support will arrive "in late summer." Why the delay? Supposedly because AT&T has to manually enable all iPhone accounts for MMS service.

Wow, that's some service operation AT&T has there...

This might not be all AT&T's fault if the iPhone supported MMS from the start, but it has been suggested that both "Apple and AT&T had initially resisted support for MMS messaging as a protocol, calling it 'ugly'."

I'm not sure I quite buy that, if Apple can develop a new feature, Visual Voicemail, and work with AT&T and other provides on its adoption, why couldn't they do the same for a MMS protocol replacement if MMS was so "ugly?"

Well because the iPhone has built in email support. Why use MMS or build a whole new communication protocol when one can email an image as an attachment to anyone, Right?

If you're trying to send a photo to someone "on the go" that only works if they too can access their email account from their phone. More to my real frustration with how MMS has been handled, if someone elects to send me a MMS, I get a message from AT&T saying that I received an image and, using a randomly generated username and password, have to log into an AT&T website within a specific timeframe in order to see the image. Not exactly the most time efficient method of keeping in touch with people while "on-the-go", even with iPhone's Safari web browser. If AT&T and Apple felt email was the answer, why did AT&T just forward the MMS message to my email account? It's not like they don't already have that information on file.

AT&T also leaves the upgrade process a lot to be desired.

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that AT&T is a business and is looking to turn a profit. I understand, that if AT&T offers a phone, any phone, at a subsidize price they need to recoup that loss some how. That is why they bind customers to a 2 year contract.

I also realize that the new iPhone 3GS is being released before the 1 year anniversary of the 3G release and while a customer's 1 year anniversary is not necessary the break even point for AT&T, AT&T certainly hasn't made their money back just yet on iPhone 3G customers such as myself.

So with the 3GS release, 3G customers have the option to what? Upgrade by paying the full price of the new phone? Upgrade with at a lower discount? No option at all?

Accessing my account online and using the "Check upgrade option" feature I am told that "as a valued AT&T customer" AT&T can offer me "a discounted iPhone upgrade at a higher price, along with a 2-year commitment and an $18 upgrade fee" and that if I wait, I "may qualify for a full discount on a standard iPhone upgrade on 12/13/2009."

A discounted iPhone upgrade at a higher price?" What is a high priced discount? Can't you just say a "lower discount?"

"I may qualify?" Are you not sure?

Come on AT&T, you know your break even point. You know what your discount rate is. You know what your qualifications for discount are. You can certainly build that logic into your online system, so that instead of some vaguely worded statement, the customer knows exactly what their options are and what it will cost them.

Oh and an $18 upgrade fee? I guess that's one way to make sure the customer service operation is cash flow positive for this financial quarter.

iPhone 3.0

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Today Apple previewed their next major software update for the iPhone (and iPod Touch). Apple is touting "100 new features" for this summer, when the update is made available for existing users. But off the top of their list we get:

  • Search your iPhone
  • Cut, copy, and paste
  • Send photos, contacts, audio files, and location via MMS
  • Read and compose email and text messages in landscape

For each one of these features all I have to say "It is about time." Why? Well:

  • Expanded Search: Existing Search capabilities will be expanded, allowing customers to search within Mail, iPod and Notes or search across all key Apps from a single location.

    Honestly, I didn't even know that a search function existed already. And while a global search across "key Apps" isn't something I'm dying for, a decent search feature for the Mail App will be quite welcomed.

  • Cut, Copy and Paste: With this new version, dubbed 3.0, users will be able to cut, copy and paste text in and between iPhone Apps.

    Why the wait for something as basic as Cut, Copy and Paste? According to Apple they had an engineering challenge on their hands in dealing with the security implications of this. How can moving text around present a security issue? Well Cut, Copy and Paste basically works by writing some highlighted text into a memory buffer and then reading from that buffer. In theory an App could create a buffer overflow by writing more text than the memory buffer could handle, leading to either the iPhone or App crashing or to the potential unrestricted access of personal information residing elsewhere on the system. Hence the delay.

  • MMS Support: Soon the iPhone will support Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).

  • MMS is the standard method for sending messages with photos or videos between cell phones over the phone network. It's texting with pictures basically. I have yet to hear why this hasn't been support since day one, and frankly, this has been the biggest issue to date I have with the iPhone.

    How the heck could Apple develop such a media-rich device and not support such an obvious feature is beyond me. Add to the fact that AT&T's web interface for accessing MMS messages (provided to those unlikely enough to have a phone that doesn't support MMS, you get a text message that says someone sent you a MMS message go login using this temporary username/password) is a joke and well, well...

  • Expanding Use of Landscape Mode Coming soon as well, the ability to read and compose email and text messages in landscape mode.

    Another one of those, well duh missing features that must come only after the fact of rushing to release a "killer cellphone." One of the iPhone's key features is the ability, if the App is designed for it, to switch between "portrait" and "landscape" modes. Many Apps lock you into one or the other, depending on how the developer wishes to use the screen "real estate", but others, Safari being the obvious, allow the user to choose based on what they are focusing on.

    I can't tell you how many times I've turned my iPhone while trying to read an email only to realized that, "oh, yeah the Mail App doesn't support landscape mode, how dumb."

What's not on the list? Flash support, which is fine with me. While YouTube and other websites offer content via a Flash player, the iPhone skips the player and supports H.264 video streams. YouTube and other Apps use this for delivering video to the iPhone. Which works fine for me. I suppose the only issue is for those websites that don't have an iPhone specific App but do have Flash content (video or animation of some sort) on their site, that could be accessed via Safari, that won't be seen.

And on the rumored coming soon list? Tethering, using the iPhone as a modem for a laptop, is coming. Apple is working on the software for the iPhone, no doubt software for Windows and Mac laptops as well. The real question is how will the cellphone providers deal with this option. Will AT&T, here in the States, keep their "unlimited" data plan in tact? Or will one have to "upgrade" their wireless plan, for an additional monthly fee? That's the real question.

More Random iPhone Speculation

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Seems iPhone rumors are in vogue again as more than a few observers have noted that Apple's supply of iPhones in the US isn't currently keeping up in the order fulfillment department. Given Apple's "just-in-time" supply chain, this has given a few analyst reason to suggest that iPhone updates are just around the corner since Apple traditionally slows down its supply chain ahead of new product releases.

While I do expect a 3G iPhone from Apple this year, I don't think it's going to be released in the next few days. Nope, June is my guess. Why? Well, Apple just released the larger 16 GB iPhone in February while also seeding the software development kit (SDK) for the iPhone/iPod Touch in beta form that will be formally released in June at its annual developer conference. Since June will also mark the one year anniversary of the iPhone why not celebrate (and more to the point make sure the press takes notice) with a newer 3G model?

More to the point of 3G, last year Apple announced that as part of its worldwide rollout for the iPhone, Asia would see the iPhone in 2008. While that technically gives Apple till December, it does raise the point that Japan (and I think South Korea) use at the minimum 3G backed networks. Thus to release the iPhone in Japan, as part of an Asia rollout, Apple will need to have a 3G capable phone. Recent rumors also include "wish list" items such as VoIP and video conferencing, which on a 3G network (or WiFi in the case of Voice over IP, why would AT&T allow you to bypass their voice network?) might not be too bad.

But my question is what will come of those older iPhones? Apple has a sales goal of 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. Why completely stop production of perfectly viable models that can be sold at a lower price point with AT&T or, dare I hope, unlocked for use with other networks? Thus I think the supply issue is just a bump in the road for Apple, perhaps an issue with an upstream supplier? Perhaps, an issue with its flash memory supplier, which is working in tight market conditions as it and other manufactures ramp up to meet demand for ever increasing memory capacity in various devices (phones, cameras, USB drives, portable media devices, et. al.).

As for the unlocked iPhone executives at Apple have mentioned that they are "not wedded" to the locked-networked bundle method. Other cell phone makers have "exclusive" contracts with service providers that don't completely preclude them from selling unlocked models. The question here, which I can't answer, is what does AT&T's 5-year exclusivity mean for Apple? Could it mean AT&T just gets exclusive dibs on new models? Does it mean feature set?

After all I suspect Apple can easily make its 10 million mark if it sold the current 2.5G models in 8, 16 or perhaps 32 GB variations at less than the current $399 price point and a "premium" model with Visual Voicemail, iChat video conferencing, 32 GB or more memory and 3G data network capability exclusively for AT&T customers at the same time. As a bonus, with an unlocked phone and SDK release Apple would deliver and one-two knockout punch to the underground iPhone market


Apple Trifecta

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Zoomshare On Your iPhone?
Apple has been quite busy since June's release of the iPhone. The latest news being that yes Virginia, there indeed is a software developer kit (SDK) to write iPhone specific applications with and it will be released to the public for third party developers in February.

Why the delay? Well Apple originally stated that no SDK would be released for AT&T's fears of network abuse from malicious software writers targeting the iPhone platform for their trojans, viruses, and worms. A legitimate concern, but a few developers didn't buy it, noting that AT&T already allows other smartphones, such as those running Palm and Windows Mobile, on its network, each of which, with their own SDKs, opens the AT&T network to possible attack.

Did Apple have a change of heart? Doubtful, from the original Apple II to the iPhone, Apple has a long enough history to know that third party software developers are important to the success of any computing platform. The delay of course was simply about priorities. Now that the iPhone is out the door, the iPod line has been updated and the latest version of Mac OS X (more on Leopard in a bit) is shipping Apple has the manpower to polish off the SDK focusing, you guessed it, on protecting "iPhone users from viruses, malware [and] privacy attacks."

What, you might be thinking, does this really have to do with Zoomshare? Well given the iPhone's "rich Internet capabilities" anyone with an iPhone can already access and/or manage a Zoomshare site on the go. Moreover, in theory, some of the more modular features, such as Zoomshare Widgets, can be used sans website.

However, even via iPhone's Safari web browser some features won't translate well, if at all. Zoomshare wasn't designed with mobile computing in mind, let alone around the iPhone's unique Multitouch abilities. With an SDK, the possibilities open up a bit more. We've already batted around a few interesting ideas here in our office.

Does this mean Zoomshare is coming soon to an iPhone near you? I really can't say. After all the SDK is still a few months off and while Apple has sold 1.4 million iPhones already the iPhone market is still in its infancy. Apple has a stated goal of selling 10 million by the end of 2008, which may or may not happen. It took Apple five and a half years to sell as many iPods. On the plus side any iPhone developed application will also work on the new iPod touch.

Only time will tell.

We Are From France
Speaking of the iPhone, it seems my guesstimate of a European sold iPhone working with an American number from an American cell phone provider other than AT&T was off by one country. If you recall I speculated that the iPhone about to go on sale in the German market via Deutsch Telekom's cell phone subsidiary might work just fine in the USA given a SIM from T-Mobile. Why? Because Deutsch Telekom's cell phone division is in fact, T-Mobile.

While it might not be that easy it seems it might not matter. See the original rumor of the European iPhone release included three cell phone providers for three specific European markets, T-Mobile in Germany, O2 in the UK and Orange in France. Yet when official word came from Apple and its European partners Orange was suspiciously missing. Only later did Apple and Orange make the partnership official, announcing iPhones in France by the end of November a few weeks after the German and UK release date.

The delay? Rumors have the profit sharing agreement between the two companies holding up the official announcement and release, but a few observers have pointed out that French law requires cell phones to be unlockable. Now, I don't know French law, let alone the specific law(s) in question. For all I know to comply with it Orange simply needs to sell one and only one unlocked iPhone to Joe Six-Pack (in France would that be Jean-Pierre Bordeaux?) and be in compliance. But it does open up the possibility of unlocked iPhones from France making their way Stateside.

But as I noted previously that iPhone, given Euro-to-Dollar conversion, oversea shipping costs and whatnot, would be a bit expense. More than even the overpriced eBay market currently prices "unlocked" iPhones at. Guess only time will tell.

Last, But Not Least, OS X
Finally, the original impetuous for today's post, the latest, greatest version of OS X goes on sale today.

While I'm not lining up at an Apple Store today, alas payday isn't until the end of the month, I will be picking up a copy for my home and work Macs in the coming week. The features I can't wait to put to use? Time Machine and Spaces.

Time Machine, while practical, just looks slick. To visually go back to a previous saved computing state and recover a lost or damaged file in a heartbeat is a must have in my book. Sure, I'm a slouch when it comes to keeping files around and given how cheap disk space is these days, it's quite easy to keep stuff around, just in case. But really backing up important files only gets my attention when I run out of local disk space and need to offload recently unused files to a secondary location. Every now and then I'll run into trouble, now I don't have to worry as much.

Of course, Time Machine still needs a secondary disk to save previous versions on, but I already have that, its just the actually doing that can be a bit more infrequent than it should be. But what I'm really hoping for is the ability to use Time Machine with an iPod in disk mode or a remote fileshare. While, I'd still want a copy that can't get lost or stolen, like one stored on my home build half-a-terabyte RAID server, I do like the idea of being able to have a mobile backup with me as I go. Hopefully both options are possible.

Initial reviews note that yes, you can backup to a remote system, but that remote system must also be running 10.5 - Leopard and the file share must be via AFP

I've blogged else where about virtual desktop setups and some of the issues with third-party options for them on OS X. Even with those problems I love virtual desktops and can't work with out them. Sure OS X has Expose among other features for dealing with desktop clutter, but for organizing application windows based on function or task, nothing in my mind beats virtual desktops. Given how common they are in other Unix-centric windowing environments, I remember impressing a friend of mine with fancy desktop transitions on a Linux workstation when I worked at Red Hat a few years ago, I'm kind of surprise its taken this long for builtin support to appear in the Mac world.

Does this mean we know of at least two new features for the next release of Windows; support for automatic backups and virtual desktops? I suppose only time will tell.

~~~ Reddit ~~~ Digg ~~~

About the Author

Paul is a technologist and all around nice guy for technology oriented organizations and parties. Besides maintaining this blog and website you can follow Paul's particular pontifications on the Life Universe and Everything on Twitter.


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