Developing for iPhone?

Staying Connected is Michael Connick’s blog. As Mike Cane puts it:

For all iPhone users, I heartily recommend Michael Connick’s Staying Connected blog. He has an uncanny knack of finding sites that have been optimized for the iPhone. I learn something new with each of his posts.

I’ve held back on getting too much into iPhone/iPod touch web apps since they were announced as the SDK at WWDC2007. Reason being: I knew it was a lie.

I knew we’d just have to wait for the proper SDK and I knew I’d have to wait for an app to arrive. What is for sure is that I don’t want to have to rely on spotty coverage with EDGE or 3G in order to use the apps I need every day (and there are certain parts of my workplace where there is no EDGE or 3G signal at all). In truth, it’s quite hard to ‘stay connected’ in Northern Ireland.

I think that’s why I’m so excited about this push update service which is being provided by Apple, apparently free of charge. But this also tells me why there seems to be a developer acceptance rate of just 16%. (based on 25 000 applications and 4000 acceptances).

One comment from Kirk:

I have been developing iPhone apps full time since the SDK was announced and applied for the developer program on day 1. However, it is now less than 1 month until the App Store opens and I wonder if I have wasted all this time developing apps that I won’t be able to market. I am beginning to think I should cut my losses and switch to the Android platform. Very frustrating.

And this worries me as well. I’m motivated enough to really give Cocoa a good try this time around but not being able to deploy my poorly thought-out apps is something that gives me pause. And this is going to be the case – Apple has a team of QA people deciding which apps will make it into the store and which won’t. In the interim, I can’t even test my apps on my own iPhone. So what’s worse – developing for a platform where you may never get to ship or developing for a platform that doesn’t exist and will take a long time to get the same penetration (and be inundated with hardware-variation-related support requests)?

However, allegedly Steve said:

Only a limited number of developers will get certificates now (we just can’t support all of the requests we’ve received). Almost every developer will get a certificate when we ship in June.

which does make me feel a lot better about the whole thing. I’m a true believer, me. I trust Steve Jobs to not lie to me.

Apple does need to address the ‘community’ aspect of Developer Relations. Having the iPhone SDK in closed beta and NDA’ed out the wazoo only hurt the good guys who silently struggled with bugs and couldn’t talk to anyone about them. It wouldn’t hard for them to put a discussion forum behind the ADC portal.

Apps are coming to the iPhone. Proper apps. You won’t have to put up with the crappy EDGE connection when trying to fit in a quick game of Bejeweled while in the lunch queue or being faced with 25 minutes of boredom because you have to wait somewhere and all of your media is longer than that and you don’t want to split it.

I think there’s a very real opportunity for some individuals and small businesses out there to really shine. The App Store provides a great leveller so that someone coming along with great ideas, great code and great marketing could just rise to the top of the lists. It’s a new platform, folks. How often do they come along?

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  1. You’re mistaken there. Connick’s blog isn’t all about *web apps*. It’s mostly *web sites*. No other phone has ever “deformed” the Internet the way the iPhone has. No site was ever redesigned for, say, a Nokia or Palm phone. Sure, some sites have put up alleged “mobile versions,” but these iPhone sites are a whole different animal.

  2. I don’t think I am ‘mistaken’ as I didn’t reference them as being web apps – so you’re inferring a bit much there. I have previously vented my opinion on ‘iPhone optimising’ as being destructive when they use User Agents to restrict the clients.

    Sure, it’s bad but no worse than the last decade of sites ‘optimised’ for Internet Explorer and the world survived that debacle.

  3. I think that’s a potentially great way to get ‘Cocoa’ onto Windows.

    Think about it.

    Mac-> Cocoa then…
    iPhone – Web apps then…
    iPhone -> Cocoa then…
    Windows -> Web apps….

  4. Yeah, people think the purpose of a corporation is to amass money…

    …without wondering why…

    and Giant Death Rays On The Moon are boring when you can take over the world with consumer electronics…

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