Mac Developers Eager to Get Hands on iPhone SDK

Developers eager to start building iPhone applications examine the potential of Exchange support and enterprise products.

With Apple set to provide details this week of its planned iPhone software development kit, even developers of desktop Mac products are looking forward to new business opportunities in the mobile space.

Alykhan Jetha, CEO of Marketcircle, a developer of Mac OS X applications, said, "The anticipation is very high within the larger Mac developer space-including us here at Marketcircle-not only because this is a Cocoa/OS X based-mobile platform, but also because the interface paradigm is new and has some exciting, unexplored potential."

Jetha said, "There is concrete proof that the iPhone is everywhere-in almost every country on Earth. ... The iPhone's a great device, and opening that device up will create a new level of greatness. I think Apple and developers like us can bank on increased market share both for the device and the Mac."

"There are many apps already [for jail-broken iPhones]," he continued, "and so as soon as we get the SDK, those apps will become official."

"We are absolutely raring to go," said Wil Shipley, owner of development company Delicious Monster.

"Developers recognize that the iPhone is the first pocketable general-use, always-on, Internet-connected ubiquitous computing device. This is going to be nothing short of a revolution," Shipley said. "I've already started making a list of apps that I want to make, and am literally giving away some ideas because I have more than I can possibly do."

"I'm currently developing an application for the iPhone, so I and my entire five-engineer team are eagerly awaiting the announcement," said Mike Lee, head and "chief primate" of software development group United Lemur. "I, for one, have declared Thursday a holiday, and intend to kick up my heels, pop some corn and tune in," he said.

"I don't know a developer who's not interested in the iPhone, and most are very excited about it," Lee added. "Some are already working on iPhone applications; others are considering making their next project for the iPhone.

"Everyone is thinking about how they are going to adopt the iPhone into their current plans. I, myself, am benefiting greatly, as a lot of engineers are willing to volunteer their time to work on United Lemur projects just to have a chance to dip their toes in iPhone development," Lee said.

One often-cited bar to widespread corporate adoption of the iPhone has been lack of native support for the proprietary Microsoft Exchange messaging system. Though iPhones work with any IMAP or POP (Post Office Protocol) e-mail through its own mail client, some corporations insist on Exchange-centric features and installations.

Could an open iPhone SDK bring this about?