First, iPhone will be getting Microsoft Exchange and ActiveSync support. The new support, unlike the prior Exchange-IMAP integration, will support all features that a typical Exchange device does. Email services will integrate with Apple’s Mail application, and calendar and contacts will also integrate into their respective iPhone applications (Calendar and Address Book).
Apple touted that there have already been 1,000 Web Apps designed to run on iPhone and iPod touch, but as rumored, Apple has announced their SDK for applications to run directly on the devices.
The SDK is advertised as being the “same tools used to build Apple’s apps on iPhone.” Apple has announced accessing the full range of services and APIs that Apple has had access to internally, similar to Mac application development. Apple’s Xcode IDE will be upgraded to include iPhone’s API suite, as well as debugging tools. Developers can either connect an iPhone or iPod touch to test applications, or run them in a simulator on a Mac.
Select developers have, as rumored, been given early access to iPhone and iPod touch’s SDK, EA Games announced at the event that they have created a custom version of Spore to run on the devices. Sega Mobile also announced an iPhone version of Super Monkey Ball.
AOL has announced that AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) is also being ported to iPhone.
Software will be delivered to customers via iTunes on a new platform called the App Store. This will be similar to iTunes’ Music Store, TV Store, and Movie Stores. Applications which are freeware will have no royalties associated… Apple will allow developers to offer them on the store for free (similar to iTunes’ Podcast Store). The App Store will be available via EDGE and Wi-Fi on iPhone (and Wi-Fi on iPod touch), as well as from a computer via iTunes.
Developers will have to pay a one-time $99 fee to get listed on the App Store, however. This covers the costs of fielding developers, testing applications for safety, and publishing them to iTunes. Apple appears to cover multiple applications (and unlimited updates) from a single developer under this fee.
Apple also announced that the next update to iPhone will include remote wipe support, so that if the device becomes lost or stolen, user data can be removed from the device without physical access to it.
Apple’s SDK is available to developers starting today. Software upgrades to enable this new functionality will be available in June. Due to Apple’s differing accounting models, iPhone will get the update for free, and iPod touch will receive the update for a nominal charge. Apple explained that this, like the January iPod touch Software Upgrade, is due to iPhone being on a subscription-based accounting model, while iPod touch is based on a device-sales model.
Ending the event, venture capital firm KPCB announced a $100 million fund for iPhone application development in venture capital grants. The fund, called iFund, is ten times the amount that Google’s Android firm announced for software development on their platform.
Updated with AOL AIM announcement, Sega Mobile, iTunes App Store, release timeframe, iFund.