iPhone Software Development?

January 09, 2007

The big news at MacWorld today is, of course, the new iPhone. The keynote certainly didn’t disappointed, and there’s a lot to talk about and speculate over in the coming months before it’s released to stores. From a user’s point of view I’m certainly eager to try one out first hand, but what really interests me is development. Not only will the iPhone run OSX, but it will support “desktop class” applications, and seems to have some pretty powerful hardware behind it.

Now, it’s really unknown what you will and won’t be able to do with the iPhone, but assuming it supports third party development at all, it’s not unreasonable to expect it to use a Cocoa development environment. Given all the hardware behind it, I doubt there would be much you couldn’t do on an iPhone that you could in a normal, desktop Cocoa application.

The more I think about this, the more excited I get. I’ve been meaning to get back into developing mobile applications, but the complexity of writing software for the Windows Mobile OS ((The .NET compact framework does make developing WM applications a lot easier than with the WinCE API, but there’s still a bit of a barrier to getting started.)) and the fact that I’ve been busy with OSX software has really kept me from doing anything significant. I have a few ideas for some mobile applications I haven’t seen anywhere else, and it would be great to be able to implement them in Cocoa.

Even for Cocoa developers who don’t have much of an interest in handheld software, it would be extremely easy to port a lot of existing applications. Imagine buying Delicious Library, and having the option to install an iPhone version along with the desktop app. Your library would be kept synchronized of course, and the iPhone version would still have all the features, graphics and refinements in the desktop version, including barcode scanning with the built-in 2MP camera.

That’s the kind of thing I’m really looking forward to.


tuaw reports the iPhone won’t allow third party applications. Disappointing if it’s true, but it’s really far too soon to know anything for sure yet.

Marc Charbonneau is a mobile software engineer in Portland, OR. Want to reply to this article? Get in touch on Twitter @mbcharbonneau.