Apple: SDK, iPhone games and Exchange support

As expected, Apple released its iPhone software development kit Thursday--the SDK is available for download now at developer.apple.com. Apple also touted a June software update that will enable a series of new iPhone games capitalizing on the device's touchscreen and motion-sensing capabilities as well as the addition of Microsoft Exchange, which promises users access to email, calendars and other enterprise tools. All upgrades are tied to Apple's stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of the year--according to CEO Steve Jobs, the device already boasts a 28 percent smartphone marketshare, behind BlackBerry maker Research In Motion at 41 percent.

While Apple will make the iPhone SDK available for free, developers must also join Apple's developer program for $99 to secure distribution for their applications via the App Store, a new 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." -Jason

Apple also announced its enterprise strategy for the iPhone and the biggest surprise is that the company is licensing Activesync from Microsoft and bringing full Exchange Server support to the device. Exchange support will be baked into the iPhone's native Mail, Calendar and Contact applications and Exchange sync can be toggled on and off for each of them. But that's not all: the iPhone is also getting push email/calendar/contacts for the rest of us, support for certificates, identities, Cisco IPsec VPN and WPA2/802.1x and tools for remote security administration, device configuration and even remote wipe capabilities. All of these features will arrive with version 2.0 of the iPhone firmware, which is scheduled to arrive in June. -Mehan

For more on Apple's townhall event:
- read this deep dive on the mobile content angle
- read this drill down on the enterprise implications
- also watch these video clips from the event
- check out this video interview with an Apple executive

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