Wednesday saw Apple issuing invitations to the media for a briefing on its "iPhone Software Roadmap." The invitation reveals that the meeting will be about "some exciting new enterprise features" for the iPhone. Together, with the date of the event on March 6, also further fuels speculation that Apple is unlikely to meet its deadline of shipping the SDK to software developers by the end of this month.
The current anticipation — and some say frenzy — over the release of the official SDK might be related to the iPhone coming in as the second most popular smartphone sold in the United States, just behind the far more established BlackBerry. If reports are to be believed, many business people are eager for features that would allow them to use the iPhone in the enterprise, such as the ability to link up to corporate e-mail systems.
Already, a number of third-party applications exist for the iPhone, though they all break Apple's licensing agreement. In what is now apparent to be a miscalculation, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs had initially counted on developers to embrace Apple's plan to leverage the built-in Safari Web browser to build Web 2.0 applications for the iPhone. Well, we knew how that turned out. If anything, this is a validation of accusations that say Web 2.0 is nothing more than a marketing buzzword.
We all know how important an SDK is, especially if it comes with an IDE that is easy to get started. Indeed, this was the motivation that got RIM to release a Visual Studio plug-in for its SDK for the BlackBerry.
Will the arrive of the iPhone SDK herald a new wave of applications to catapult the iPhone up another level of popularity? Perhaps 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008 is not so much wishful thinking after all.
In other iPhone news, Apple has quietly released an update for the phone's firmware to Version 1.1.4. That makes it the fourth update since the iPhone launched eight months ago, and it supposedly only contains bug fixes.
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.