Mobile Computing, The iPhone Way
The confusion is over - Apple revealed the secrets of creating slick iPhone applications.
When Apple announced iPhone in January, this year, the shocking news and the source of much speculation became the alleged lack of third-party application support. An intelligent cellphone without Java/J2ME was so unusual that for a long while it gave Apple-haters a thing to wave in front of everybody's face and left Apple-lovers confused and curious for what it really meant.
The first clarification came during the Steve Jobs's WWDC keynote on June 11th and once again proved how risky it is for mediocre minds to challenge the design decisions of the Cupertino-based centre of innovation excellence. The message was quite short and ambiguous, yet loud and telling: the future of the mobile applications, as Apple saw it, were Web applications.
In the hindsight it all made sense. When Internet connectivity improved for desktop and laptop computers, traditional, "desktop" applications started making a strong leap towards the Web (think Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Calendar etc.). Likewise, as Internet connectivity is finally progressing in the mobile arena, as well (think 3G) it makes a perfect sense for mobile applications to also want to break out of their tiny cages.
Whether it made sense or not, the concept was still very unusual and obscure. How can web applications adapt to the mobile user-interface? Will Safari-based "web pages" be able to look as slick as the "native" mobile applications on iPhone? How can they integrate with the Apple apps?
As big of a master of shock-therapy as Apple is, and you can not help a feeling that they were perfectly OK with "a little" confusion their half-statements created, they had to end the intrigue eventually and let people reap the benefits off of the breakthrough innovation. Which is exactly what they did.
Apple Developer Connection published an excellent guide for Web Developers interested in creating well-integrated iPhone applications. The Guide answers a lot of open questions and is a hard proof that the path Apple has chosen for third-party applications is the path of the future. See yourself:\
MacRumors reports that the famous, multi-service, online instant-messaging service Meebo is one of the first, prominent web-based services to move into the direction of iPhone compatibility. Being able to use GoogleTalk, AOL, MSN, ICQ and others with comfort on iPhone is a great news. There's no doubt that the capabilities of iPhone will increase rapidly with the help of services like Meebo.
P.S. On a related note, reportedly there were over 700,000 iPhones sold over just the first weekend. Obviously, we are not talking about a niche product that will have no impact on the general direction of the industry. It is clear that iPhone penetration will be even more dramatic in Europe with its more advanced mobile infrastructure.