Confirming details previously disclosed to iLounge, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and VP Scott Forstall today used the iPhone Software Roadmap event to officially discuss the development requirements for iPhone and iPod touch software. Under the iPhone Developer Program:
Abilities: The iPhone and iPod touch Software Development Kit (SDK) will enable developers to access most of the iPhone’s hardware functionality, including its sensors, camera, EDGE and Wi-Fi antennas, as well as its Mac OS X-like software resources such as Core Animation, Core Services, Core Audio, and OpenGL. Applications will not be able to access the devices’ Dock Connectors, other than for purposes already specified by Apple. Tools will be provided to help developers create and debug applications quickly, using either an iPhone Simulator or an actual iPhone/iPod touch device.
Development: The SDK will be available to developers for free starting today, however, strings are attached. Apple will charge a $99 fee to join its new iPhone Development Program, which will include the generation of a digital certificate that will identify the company when its applications are published, and the ability to run your applications on an actual iPhone or iPod touch. Additionally, the SDK will only run on Macintosh computers. A $299 fee will be charged for the Enterprise Program, specific to developers “who are creating proprietary, in-house applications for iPhone and iPod touch.”
Publishing: Apple will publish all iPhone applications, regardless of the developer, making them accessible through iTunes and a new App Store icon on the iPhone and iPod touch. The applications will be hosted and distributed solely by Apple, and all transactions will be processed by the company, with a 30% cut of all sales going to maintain the App Store. This figure, roughly the same percentage as what is paid to Apple by artists selling music through the iTunes Store, leaves 70% to the developers, who will be paid on a monthly basis. Developers who do not want to distribute through iTunes can create web applications or stay off of the platform altogether.
Limitations: Apple will not distribute pornographic or malicious applications, or ones that will invade privacy, but has suggested that its interest is in getting as many applications out as possible, not in restricting applications. The company plans to use both the digital certificate program and the App Store to prevent bad applications from affecting too many users: users will be able to report malicious applications, enabling Apple to disable access to them from the App Store, and the company claimed that it will track and contact developers of problem applications. During a Q+A session, Apple also said that it will limit the ability of VOIP applications to use the cellular network, but will not restrict that over Wi-Fi, and that it will not allow carrier unlock software to be distributed through the Store.
Funding: Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins has developed the iFund, a $100-million pool of funds designed to help the firm find and back budding iPhone developers. The goal is to locate and build up entrepreneurs whose talents can grow what the firm believes to be an even more significant invention than the personal computer, given the iPhone’s mobility and access to communications networks.
Limited, U.S.-based Developers Only: According to the page, “The iPhone Developer Program will initially be available to a limited number of developers in the U.S. and will expand to other countries in the coming months.”
Future Versions of the SDK to Come: Interface Builder, a UI development application discussed by Apple during the Event, is not included in the initial SDK release. “Future releases of the iPhone SDK will include Interface Builder to make designing a user interface as easy as drag and drop.”
Enterprise Developer Benefits: As a component of the $299 fee, “iPhone enterprise customers will be able to create a private page on the App Store accessible by their employees only.”
Free SDK Available Now: The SDK can be downloaded from this link.