Apple CEO Steve Job's announced earlier this week to shoot for the 10 million sales mark this year. Which itself may turn out to be a rather bold goal with regards to merely 4 million sold phones during the first 6 months of the iPhone hype. Still Jobs remains rather confident, putting all his trust into the new software upgrades coming later this summer. Effectively turning the iPhones into a business handheld and game console in one.
One of the most important new features being the incorporating Blackberry's push mail feature. Meant to make life particularly easier for manager dying to read their mails as they arrive instead of having to check them manually.
Another interesting feature being the connection to Microsoft exchange server for which Apple licensed the Microsoft software ActiveSync. Thus promising the ability to automatically synchronize schedule, mails and contacts between Windows computers and iPhones. Enabling one to start writing emails on one's iPhone only to finish them at your computer.
Other new features include:
- better support for the iPhone as part of virtual private networks (VPN) as used by many companies
- support for security issues such as encrypted wireless networts
- data encryption and remote maintenance
With these add ons is Apple trying to take on Blackberry vendor RIM who still sold more than twice as many smart-phones in the US last year alone. And according to first analyst comments are Apple's chances relatively good!
As of last Thursday, independent programmers are able to use the same tools as Apple developers to come up with fancy new applications for both iPhone and iPod touch. The software developer kit (SDK) can be downloaded for free. Yet in order to become an official member of the Apple developer team one still needs to pay 99 dollars as single developer or 299 dollars for companies respectively.
In return, developers are able to offer their programs in the Apple iTunes store, receiving about 70% of the revenues - while Apple keeps the rest with the outlook to apropriately test applications beforehand. As such Apple reserves the right to not allow anything porn related as well as traffic intense applications - such as
infamous file-sharing application. And with VoIP only supposed to work on existing WLAN connections it still remains up to the carriers how much they charge for actual phone calls. As opposed to being able to constantly use inexpensive internet alternatives instead.
Overall, this possibility for independent software development should in the longterm enable a more diverse amount of programs to run on the iPhone as well as give other software development companies the option to show what they are capable of.
Here some examples already:
- AOL promoted an iPhone version of their AIM chat program with the option to jump between dialogs by the swift of a finger
- Epocrates developed a special program for physicians who can now gain access to a medical database containing detailed drug information
- Salesforce.com enables access to their web software to fully maintain a customer database vie the iPhone
In the face of such news did the Silicon Valley investor Kleiner Perkins (known for financing Netscape, Amazon and Google among others) establish the 'iFund' - a 100 million dollar asset pool with the sole purpose to finance companies developing iPhone software. A turn which should most certainly boost the iPhone development while posing both threat and chance to computing handheld developers. What exactly is to prevail will however remain to be seen until the actual roll out in June.
It is however already known that major game developers such as EA and Sega started developing iPhone applications which are supposed to open a new chapter in mobile game design by utilizing control via touch and
motion. Complementing their work will independent developers fill the gap with iPhone games and applications only meant for one thing: win over potential customers.
Apple fights over the developers with an own software kit and the option to sell the products through their iTunes online store.
Among the many new extras is Apple trying to complement their business utilities with a number of new games for gadget nerds:
- Sega presented an iPhone version of their 'Super Monkey Ball' game
- EA announced the development of a 'Sim' evolution simulation clone dubbed 'Spore'
- Apple itself revealed 'Touch Fighter', a self-developed space exploration game which uses the iPhone as joystick and monitor altogether
So after all, the iPhone may turn out to become serious competition for the Nintento DS and PSP. Especially with the innovative iPhone controls through touch and motion may hold the power to turn it into a mobile Wii. One platform to potentially change the face of the game forever. Again.