Friday, March 07, 2008

Apple's new SDK

Well, Apple's new SDK was quite a surprise. It's not just a better version of Safari, though there is one coming. It's a native SDK with full-blown access to iPhone features like the touch screen, video, networking, and accelerometer.

What does this mean? Firstly, it's now clear that "touch" is a new platform, not just a new phone. We'll definitely now see more Apple "touch" devices - not just phones, but perhaps tablets and surfaces. All that SDK work is creating an ecosystem that other devices will slot into nicely.

Who will develop native apps? Apple showed an array of different providers, from the enterprise (Salesforce) to messaging (AOL) and gaming (Sega and EA Games). Personally I think gamers will be the most keen - they will love the accelerometer, advanced graphics and OpenGL tooling.

The last platform

Over the years we've seen some great platforms - Windows, Mac, and Linux come to mind. Now we have the Apple Touch platform. But the Salesforce demo was very instructive; why write an iPhone app when you can just publish a website?

If the Apple Touch SDK becomes very popular, it will be because it exploits the web's weaknesses (e.g. control over sensors such as accelerometers, and video quality animations). That's the other reason why gaming is a natural fit.

This surely won't continue for much longer. The web is closing the gap (e.g. recent work on an HTML 3D canvas element, or my sensors proposal).

Could the Apple Touch be the last great platform before the web subsumes even more? We'll just have to find out!

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