updated 02:00 pm EST, Thu March 6, 2008
iPhone SDK Details
As promised, Apple today provided development details for native third-party applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. The company has created a development kit that uses the same programming language and interface used by Apple itself and now includes Cocoa Touch, an API designed to add touchscreen input. Programmers now use a modified version of Xcode that is not only used to write programs for the iPhone but to manage them as well, including designing the visual interface, source control, and debugging.
Developers can also test the final results in an environment known as the iPhone Simulator, according to Apple.
Apple's Phil Schiller explains that the environment is possible due to the similarities between desktop and mobile versions of Mac OS X. While the kernel is optimized to work with the reduced resources of the handsets, the networking and media layers are virtually the same as for the desktop version of the OS and include both Core Animation and OpenGL for graphics as well as Core Audio and OpenAL for audio. Developers have access to much of the iPhone's hardware, including the accelerometer sensor and the camera. A sample game, Touch Fighter, uses the accelerometer exclusively to control the player and uses full 3D positional audio.
EA has ported a demo version of its upcoming life simulator Spore to the iPhone in as little as two weeks, Apple notes. SEGA has also ported a version of Super Monkey Ball that uses the accelerometer to steer the ball. This effectively puts a Nintendo Wii's remote into the phone, the game developer says.
AOL has also created a version of AIM for the iPhone in five days despite its developer's lack of experience for the Mac. Users simply swipe to change active chats. Other examples of third-party development examples include a medicine guide for doctors through ePOCRATES and a SalesForce.com app for customer relationship management (CRM).
A rough version of the iPhone SDK, including Xcode and iPhone firmware 2.0, is being sent out with "thousands" of developers and companies; the download for the SDK is free and will take roughly an hour to download, but developers can pay $100 to join the iPhone Developer Program. A finished version of both the SDK and the firmware is due in June.