Steve's Blog: Third-Party iPhone/iPod Apps Are Back

The Web is still a-twitter after Steve Jobs's pronouncement yesterday that an official software development kit is in the works (due next year) for the iPhone, allowing programmers to build native third-party applications. There's something about the tone of this communique—effectively a CEO's blog post—that I just love, so to quote:

_ Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers' hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users._

As many are pointing out as the dust begins to settle today, Steve saved the best for his love note's conclusion:

P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch.

While programming for the iPhone is great and all, that last juicy morsel is what seems to be getting Mac developers most excited. No matter how successful Apple's superphone becomes, its sales will likely remain a drop in the ocean when compared to the iPod, a gadget that has managed to sink its hooks into mass consumer consciousness like none before it. Safely assuming most future 'Pod permutations will be sporting higher-performance processors and an OS X operating system like the iPod touch, developers are licking their chops at the prospect of selling their applications to such a huge market of users.

In the end, though, Apple will have final say over what apps can and can't do via an "an advanced system which will...protect users from malicious programs." So you can probably stop crossing your fingers for that iPhone Bit Torrent client. The outlaw days were fun while they lasted. —John Mahoney