I have not had time yet to figure out whether Apple’s direction with the iPhone SDK is a good or bad thing. Apple will be taking the approach that they will be the only way to distribute apps, the gatekeeper. That sounds bad, but I’m told by people I trust that the process will be reasonable, better than the situation we have for distribution of freeware with Symbian Signed for Nokia phones.
The SDK is available now, in beta, but not for writing apps that actually run on the phone, if I understand correctly, but just for building apps and testing them (on a Mac, I believe). So they didn’t really make their promised February 2008 for release, but at least there is progress.
I’ll be spending some time with it and I’ll be particularly interested in comparing the software distribution options for iPhone vs. Symbian/Nokia. Could it be that we are actually headed toward a situation where the only open platform is Windows Mobile? How ironic would that be?
No, your understanding is incorrect. People that have the SDK right now and have been also accepted into the $99/year iPhone Developer program can build and run apps on the iPhone right now. If you have not been accepted into the paid Developer program (or you haven’t applied) then you can still write and test applications but you run those apps in the emulator environment and not on the iPhone itself.
The iPhone SDK is fantastic and I’ve been coding in it since the day it was released, however because so many iPhone developers are under SDK you don’t see a lot of “positive” blog viewpoints (because they can’t talk about it) and instead you read all the negative stuff from people who aren’t actually using it. From the developers I know, all the ones that are working with the SDK currently are extremely satisfied and think it’s a great way to get apps on the iPhone. When the App Store launches with the 2.0 OS update in June, you’ll see just how many apps are being worked on at the moment.