Wednesday, June 13, 2007

iPhone development

I just got through watching Steve Jobs' Keynote speech at WWDC2007. It seemed to be a case where what was not said was more interesting than what was said. Let's pull some threads together:
  • Safari for Windows was announced
  • The iPhone will support Web 2.0 and Ajax applications - that work on Safari
  • Webclip will be built in to Leopard and tools to deliver dashboard widgets will be provided in Dashcode, part of the developer tool set delivered with every copy of OS X
These threads got me thinking. Apple should deliver a modified version of dashcode, let's call it Phonecode. Dashboard widgets are mini window applications that are built using html and javascript. Webclip will take almost any snippet of a web page from Safari and create it as a dashboard widget. I am convinced that a brilliant way to ensure the success of the iPhone is to deliver a Phonecode tool that can create widgets that can be delivered as web-based applications to the iPhone. This would fire up the developer and hobbyist community to deliver a rapidly growing toolset of phone widgets. Apple could even setup a framework to publish these through iTunes, much like podcasts are handled. At the same time I read an interesting perspective on the launch of Safari for Windows. Ed Bott, in his Microsoft Report on ZDNet puts forward the proposition that Steve Jobs might be planning a hostile takeover of Windows for Mac machines. I am not sure I agree. I think there is an alternative path. Apple likes to control the hardware and software environment that they operate in. There may be a way to do this. First think on some of the developments shown in Leopard. Many of them are under the cover components that are integrated across the Finder, iTunes, iChat and other parts of the OS X environment. I can't see Apple supporting a dual platform development of these components. They risk making the Windows environment too useful and that would stem the flow of defections. Safari for Windows and iTunes are a beach head. They provide a platform on Windows to tempt users to switch to the OS X environment. This is where A bit of ingenuity is required. What would happen if Apple extended their relationship with VMware and created a limited function OS X environment that could run in a VMware partition. Apple could define the virtual hardware interface. They could then offer a hybrid version of OS X bundled with iLife for around $200 that could run on VMware with slightly less functionality than a fully fledged Mac. However, this would provide many more users with the opportunity to experience iPhoto, iWeb, iMovie etc. This could run on modern PCs under Windows and could tempt far more users to switch when the purchase their next machine because they might realize that the transition isn't that hard after all. I believe this alternative path provides an opportunity to accelerate Mac adoption far more than an Apple adapted Windows for Mac users.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I like your alternate view point. I believe Steve is up to something, just not sure what it is. :o)