Consumer or enterprise? Free or fee?

By Daniel Drew Turner  |  Posted 2008-03-04 Print this article Print


"I think that the key thing that the SDK brings to the table for people wanting to tie Exchange in to the phone is the ability to tap into not only iPhone's Mail application, but also its calendar and contacts database," said Marketcircle's Jetha.

"Microsoft's Exchange supports a Web-based protocol that allows applications to push and pull all exchange data-calendars, contacts, folders, mail, and attachments," he said. "The protocol supports both push and pull models of access. Using the protocol and some software on the iPhone, a developer could move data to appropriate locations on the iPhone as it arrives, to the calendar or contacts, for example, and post back to the Exchange server as that data is updated on the phone.

"Even without Exchange support, which I think is coming, but I'm not sure when, we can infer that with an SDK, enterprises will be more interested because they can easily put together custom applications. Back in the NeXT days, Cocoa was targeted at enterprises and clearly showed faster times to market. The SDK will allow software developers [in the enterprise or otherwise] to create great value for their users."

However, Jetha said he hoped that Apple will continue to stay focused on the needs "of the end users and not enterprise purchasing committees. The iPhone's appeal to enterprise users is a side effect of Apple's focus on great user experiences."

United Lemur's Lee echoed the sentiment: "[E]nterprise users I've spoken to have listed the lack of third-party applications as the main, if not only, thing holding them back from adopting the iPhone. The only real question is what Software Update has to do with any of this. Any conjecture on my part would be just that."

As for the yet-unanswered question of whether Apple will charge a fee for either the SDK or distributing iPhone applications, Marketcircle's Jetha said, "Cost or no cost, it is absolutely worth buying in. I predict that within a few years, the number of iPhones and iPod Touches will surpass the number of Macs.

"Mac business software such as [Marketcircle's] Daylite already syncs with iPhone and iPod Touch. So at Marketcircle, we're SDK-watchers and also keen to contribute to the growing Apple product and Mac-based business solutions market for sure."

Gus Mueller, head of small developer company Flying Meat, said the iPhone SDK would "certainly" be worth a buy-in. "I already pay 500 bucks a year for an ADC membership. As long as it isn't crazy-expensive, I'm probably willing to pay it."

"It would be unlike Apple to have a fee to develop apps," Shipley said, "but they may have some hurdles to getting into their store. Even if there were a fee, it'd be worth it for developers to just buy it, but I doubt it'd be worth the bad will for Apple."


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