Bring on the apps
Following the release of the software development kit (SDK) yesterday, Apple is betting big on the success of third-party iPhone applications.
Apple will control the sale and distribution of iPhone-ready independent software with the debut of the App Store. Existing developers include EA, which demo'd its Spore game on the iPhone yesterday, and AOL, which brought the recently-opened AIM platform to iPhone.
The App store models the iTunes Wi-Fi store for the iPhone and iPod touch. App developers will get 70 percent of revenue from application sales, while Apple takes the other 30 percent.
For developers that want to disseminate apps for free, Apple will not charge a fee.
An icon to access the App Store will be available in iPhone 2.0, an iPhone software update scheduled for June. iPod touch users will be charged a fee to download it.
Steve Jobs positioned the App Store as the best way to make apps by both large and small companies visible to all iPhone users. PC World contends it gives Apple too much control over the platform.
Porn, privacy-breaching tools, bandwidth-hogging apps and other as-yet unforeseen negative programs will not be included in the store.
To encourage entrepreneurs to take advantage of the iPhone SDK, KPCB Ventures pledged $100 million to iPhone application development, an investment dubbed the iFund.
John Door of KPCB led the iFund announcement yesterday at Apple Town Hall, citing Jobs' single-handed creation of the personal computer industry and inroads in animated film (via Pixar). "Please join me in salute to the world's greatest entrepreneur, Steve Jobs," he said.
The statement lent a platform-revolutionary feel to the launch of open apps for the iPhone.
Watch the iPhone 2.0 presentation or download the iPhone Developer Program SDK. Joining the program costs between $99 (standard) and $299 (enterprise).