updated 03:55 pm EST, Thu March 6, 2008
iPhone SDK QA Session
The iPhone and iPod touch will support more than just third-party applications when their version 2.0 firmware is available in June, Apple executives have revealed today at a question and answer session following today's software roadmap event. The company noted in particular that the software will allow voice over IP (VoIP) calling with the iPhone as long as the device is on a Wi-Fi network. Cellular data will be restricted, he says. No explanation is provided, though the limit is believed to be in place to protect AT&T's phone business.
However, while carriers often have some control over software, Apple can ultimately determine and 'define' both what software is allowed and how it can be distributd on the devices.
Both devices should also receive parental controls that permit adults to selectively disable software they consider risky for their children, such as the web browser or download services like the upcoming App Store or the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store.
More information has been revealed about the enterprise support for the iPhone. Apple explains that large businesses with the need for their own internal software will receive a separate application that allows them to implement the software on their network without exposing the program to the public at large. It will also be possible to support multiple Exchange accounts and to include it alongside competing formats, though the Microsoft-born format is the only business-class e-mail officially supported for now.
App security will be handled by digital certificates. This will let Apple track malware writers and potentially "tell their parents," according to the Apple officials. No mention has been made of whether Apple will have tools to actively block these programs from running on the network.
In addition to technical details, Apple has also explained that it is taking an iTunes-like approach to the App Store. Like the music and video services, the 30 percent revenues are meant to cover the cost of running the service rather than to generate a profit. The company has already explained that free apps will not incur the same royalty fee, representing a slight loss for Apple thanks to bandwidth costs.
However, Apple is not looking to create an open-source environment for its touchscreen handhelds and suggests that some aspects may be closed off, although it did not say what would happen if a developer were to publish their raw Xcode material.