Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Apple to reveal iPhone blueprint for outside developers

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Apple on Thursday is to unveil a "software roadmap" for outside developers interested in making programs for its hip, hot iPhones.

In trademark enigmatic style, Apple provided scant detail regarding what it plans to debut at an invitation-only event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

"Please join us to learn about the iPhone software roadmap, including the iPhone SDK (software developer kit) and some exciting new enterprise features," an invitation reads.

Apple is apparently following through on a promise its iconic chief executive Steve Jobs made in October to open the zealously guarded inner workings of iPhones to computer programs made by outsiders.

Gartner analyst Van Baker expects Apple to skew opportunities in favor of large, established developers and be wary of letting maverick software savants play unfettered with iPhone software.

"I think Apple is going to keep a pretty tight rein on this because the last thing they want is some fly-by-night guy writing an iPhone program that breaks it," Baker told AFP.

Apple is expected to make iPhones more compatible with business applications, such as receiving email "pushed" from company servers, in a move that would challenge BlackBerry devices made by Research In Motion.

Apple wants to let developers tinker with iPhone software while simultaneously protecting against viruses and other malicious code.

Jobs is on record saying he expects iPhones to be "a highly visible target" for malevolent software wizards.

Applications made for iPhones should also work on the new iPod Touch, which is essentially an iPhone without the mobile phone feature.

Jobs said Apple might take a lesson from Nokia, which is not allowing outside applications onto some of their new mobile telephone models unless the software has a "digital signature" from a known developer.

Hackers began prying open iPhones to insert custom applications, and break the exclusive service tie between the devices and telecom giant AT&T, shortly after the mobile phones made their US debut in June of last year.

Jobs said in February that Apple has sold more than four million iPhones, touch-screen mobile devices combining telephone, video, music, and Internet connectivity.


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