June 12th, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced during his keynote (Video) at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) the answer to the question on the minds of software developers around the planet: “Can we write apps for the iPhone?”
The answer was interesting: “Yes, your SDK will be Web 2.0 + AJAX”
The only way for third-party apps to run on the iPhone will be through the Safari engine, which is part of the OS X install that powers the iPhone.
Interestingly, the apps can have the iPhone look and feel. Apple showed a custom iPhone application that worked as an LDAP corporate address book, written by one person in less than a month using around 600 lines of code. Such apps can access iPhone resources, give apps the ability to make phone calls, access Google Maps, and so forth.
The second, and somewhat unexpected announcement, is that Apple has expanded their standards-friendly and open-source derived browser to the Windows platform. Version three is available now, in beta, on Apple’s Safari site for both XP and Vista. This has a number of implications:
- Easier testing of web sites for compatibility with Safari, making a Mac an option for the Windows-based developer
- The very standards-friendly WebKit engine can now expand its user base beyond Macs and the iPhone (Safari), Linux (KHTML) and Nokia phones
- Yet another standards-friendly browser for Windows is now available – competition is good.
Mac users also can download the v.3 beta for Mac OS X 10.4.9 (Tiger) but be warned that the install will overwrite your v.2 install. Clearly, Apple believes this beta is stable.
Lastly, you may notice that Apple also completely revamped the look and feel of its well-regarded and highly-trafficked website quietly while Steve had us distracted during the keynote. They’ve simplified the navigation panel at the top, widened the page and redefined the visuals to fall inline with the upcoming Mac and iPhone software.
In the Apple sphere of influence, it was a big day for web developers. And that sphere seems to grow daily.
[ Postscript: If you've found this post interesting, I've written a more speculative commentary on my personal blog, discussing what impact I think Safari will have on the mobile web, check out my post on WWDC '07 ]Tweet