As expected, Apple released its much-anticipated iPhone software development kit, available for download now at developer.apple.com. According to various blog reports from Thursday's Apple conference in Cupertino, Calif., Apple will make the SDK available for free, although to distribute their iPhone applications developers must also join Apple's developer program for $99. According to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Apple will also launch the App Store, an application the computing giant will embed on all iPhones--the App Store will deliver all iPhone applications, both free and premium, and will serve as the exclusive platform for iPhone app distribution. Apple will also create a section of its iTunes digital storefront where users may browse available iPhone apps.
According to Apple, developers will name the price of their premium applications, with Apple taking 30 percent of revenues off the top "to pay for running the App Store." Apple will refuse applications that fall into the following categories: "Porn, privacy, bandwidth hog, illegal, malicious and 'unforeseen,'" with further clarification no doubt to follow.
A Q&A followed Apple's official presentation, with Jobs asked what safeguards will be implemented to guarantee apps that are secure and in accordance with user privacy concerns. According to this live blog at Gearlog, Jobs replied "This is a big concern. It is a dangerous world out there. We tried to strike a really good path here. On one side you have a closed device like iPod, which always works...on the other side you've got a Windows PC. We want to take the reliability and the dependability of that iPod, and we want to take the ability to run third-party apps from the PC world, but without the malicious applications. The developers have to register with us and for that $99 they pay...they actually get an electronic certificate. We can track them down, we can tell their parents and we will know who they are. If we're alerted to a malicious app that we didn't catch, we'll cut off the spigot."
A subsequent question asked "What if a developer doesn't want to distribute through the App Store?" Jobs' response: "Then they won't be able to distribute their app on the iPhone. We think this is going to be a boon for developers. They can download applications from a version of the App Store, which is loaded on the Mac or PC. We don't intend to make money off the App Store. We don't make a lot of money off of iTunes, and the split with the music companies is about the same. We just want to create a very efficient channel for these developers to reach every iPhone user. Most developers don't have a store to sell their apps on their website."