While in New York City this week, I happened to attend the (first?) iPhone Developer Summit, thanks to a free pass and a little wiggle room in my schedule.
I didn’t go because I am planning to learn Objective C and develop for the iPhone. I went because I wanted to see what the developer community is thinking, and I have to say I was impressed with what I saw. I sat in on a session about the new iPhone SDK and the audience looked almost to me like a group of doctors that are sitting in a room to learn about electronic health records and realizing that their lives are going to change.
There was discussion of the iPhone platform, which has far more computing power and graphics capability than any other handheld that has preceded it, coupled with the fact that Apple, Inc., has made it easier than ever for developers to distribute their applications quickly and efficiently through iTunes. Nothing like this has ever existed on other mobile platforms.
I sensed a tone of quiet resignation coupled with excitement that this will be the next revolution in computing. At the same time, the teaching was about the very basics of developing for the iPhone so it’s very early in the journey. I learned a few things, like the fact that the iPhone you use to develop on will need to be disconnected from the AT&T cellular network, so basically you will need to purchase a phone specifically for development. The SDK requires that you have a Mac running Leopard – you cannot develop on a Windows box. And an interesting revelation that was not well covered previously – the iPod Touch is also a platform for this SDK. This means that an enterprise developer could create internal applications that run off of Wi-Fi, decoupled from phone service. That’s a big deal.
After taking in this scene, I wandered with a colleague over to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, which provided more evidence of a transformation coming. The store was packed beyond all recognition. There was a long feeder line of customers waiting to buy things. And yet the store made all of the products available to customers and potential customers to enjoy at their leisure.
There’s something going on here. Click on any of the pictures to see them full size, and the video below to get a sense yourself.