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iPhone SDK rumors and delays

Posted on: February 29th, 2008 by Craig Rairdin 20 Comments

Please note the date on this post. Read our more recent posts on the iPhone for more up-to-date information.

Engadget reports that Apple is going to be exercising pretty tight control over what apps are available for the iPhone. They’ll be distributed through iTunes and won’t have access to all features of the phone.

So those of you old enough to remember, think of this as Apple’s “1984” Macintosh commercial, only this time it’s Steve Job’s face on the big screen telling all the iPhone owner-drones in the audience what programs they can and cannot use on their iPhone. Ironic, no?

Furthermore, the long-awaited SDK that was supposed to be released by today will not be released today, nor will it be feature-complete. It will be a beta, with the real SDK coming in June.

So, kick back, sign up for a monthly subscription to iPocketBible, and maybe this summer we’ll see what’s up with native apps for the iPhone.

20 Responses

  1. Nathan Youngman says:

    It’s all just speculation until Apple releases the roadmap on March 6th.

  2. Lawson Culver says:

    I was quite disappointed when I read that at Macrumors this morning… I think it’s a good move for Apple’s pocketbook, but a bad move for the consumer.

  3. Alex Kac says:

    All features of the phone meaning things like the dock connector. It seemed otherwise you’d have nearly full access.

  4. Without access to the dock connector we can’t do synchronization of personal data.

    It’s yet to be seen what other features will be supported or not supported.

  5. Dave says:

    One could always sync wirelessly. Not ideal, but if a potential native application from Laridian synced with a web server, then corresponding desktop software could do the same. (I know, I know… easier said than done.)

  6. In order to keep from having to reproduce the “hard” parts of synchronization on every platform we sync, we’ve designed the system to center around the Windows desktop. The sync manager and all the sync providers run there, where they have ample processing power. That way the sync manager function (which embodies all the logic of sync’ing) can be in one place.

    If the iPhone sync’ed with a Web server, either it or the server would need to host the sync manager. In either case the sync manager would have to be ported to the new environment. Changes made in the code for one would have to be made in the other.

    It also would require two steps to get to/from the iPhone. So a note from the iPhone would first have to be sync’ed to the server, then the server would have to sync with the desktop.

    I love how other people’s bad design decisions somehow always become our problems to solve. :-)

  7. Desmond Fuller says:

    So much for the beta SDK rumors… the software development kit is free and available now.

    According to MobileBurn, they seemed pretty fair on using their Application store…

    “Applications developed by 3rd parties will be available from the new “App Store” on iPhones running the new 2.0 firmware. Apps can be downloaded over EDGE or WiFi network connections, or side-loaded from a desktop computer running iTunes. Apple also explained the revenue sharing model it will use for 3rd party application sales. The developer sets the price of the app, Apple gets 30% of the purchase price as its share and the developer gets the remaining 70%. Apple’s 30% will cover processing and credit card fees and the like, meaning the developer gets an honest to goodness 70% of the selling price. If the developer chooses to offer the application for free, Apple gets nothing and doesn’t even charge the developer any kind of hosting or handling fee. Another neat feature that Apple is offering is automatic application update notices through its iTunes store.”

    So much for the 1984 theory…

  8. I have to step in to defend my metaphor.

    Nothing I said about the control Apple will have over application development, deployment, etc. turns out to be incorrect (other than iTunes vs. the App Store).

    Compare Apple to Microsoft, Palm, or any of the hardware manufacturers of Windows Mobile or Palm OS devices. Apple approves what apps go on the phone. Nobody else does that for MS and Palm devices. Apple requires certification and signing. MS and Palm do not. Apple gets 30% of the revenue. Microsoft, Palm et al ask for 0%. Apple charges companies who develop free software $99 for certification testing and support. Microsoft and Palm charge nothing for free software on their devices.

    So I stick by my metaphor.

    However, at least we have some details now.

  9. Lawson says:

    I downloaded the whole 2GB SDK, and am 30 minutes into the installation. I just now read that it requires an Intel-based Mac, which means I won’t be able to use it on my G5 iMac. Thanks but no thanks, Apple. I don’t think I’ll be purchasing a new computer just to write an application I have to pay $99 for just to get on my iPhone.

  10. SuperStevens says:

    I just signed up for an annual subscription for my wife’s iPhone in addition to the annual subscription that I bought for myself a few weeks ago.
    The reason that I did this is not because we actually plan to use it much though, it’s because we like our MyBible software so much on our old palm-pilots and are really looking forward to the native version for the iPhone. I understand that it costs a lot to develop and support another version of software, and I don’t mind paying for each different version. As a matter of fact, I don’t expect to use iPocketBibile much at all because it really doesn’t meet our needs. I’ve tried to use it, but with the latency of the connection, it is just not able to perform well enough to follow along with a sermon or Sunday school lesson, and since different translations don’t stay in sync, I’ve lost a lot of value compared to the native app for the Palm. There are free bibles available on the internet that come as close to meeting our needs, but the point is that I want to support Laridian’s development efforts, and vote with my wallet for continued iPhone bible development.
    We’ll primarily continue to use our Palm devices for using the Bible until the native version for the iPhone comes out, so if you look at your server statistics and don’t see traffic, don’t think that we’ve lost interest. We had been hoping to transition away from our Palms by now, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a few more months (for other apps as well).
    Thank you for your excellent work over the years, we look forward to good things in the future as well. Please be encouraged that you have contributed to the spiritual growth of our family.
    Thanks again,

  11. Thanks Josh. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the software.

    You should sign up for the iPhone list at We use that list to post announcements of all minor updates to the iPocketBible software. You might find that we make some changes that will make the program more useful to you in the future.

    For example, the next thing I want to work on is a list of Bibles in the verse context menu. So if you want to see this verse in another Bible, you’d tap the verse number to bring up the context menu, then select “All Bibles” and you’d see a screen with that verse displayed from all the Bibles you own. From there you could select one and go right to that verse in the other Bible.

    Another time-saver that most people don’t see right away is that you can type a reference into the “Find” dialog to go directly to it. So instead of going to the table of contents, selecting John, then chapter 3, then verse 16, you can tap the Find button and type “John 3:16″ and select Go. You’ll be taken right to the verse without all the intervening menus.

    As a frequent user of iPocketBible myself I know the issues related to latency that are inherent in the EDGE network and even show up a little bit with WiFi. But the only real problem I personally have with iPocketBible is the poor text-entry support on the iPhone. I’d much rather use the old Palm “Graffiti” or “Jot” techniques for input rather than either a real or an on-screen keyboard. If I’m taking notes I do it on my Pocket PC, where I’ve become rather adept at entering even HTML tags using the “block recognizer” (which mimics the old Palm Graffiti method of input). I can then sync with the desktop version of PocketBible if I want to do further editing, then sync with iPocketBible so I can view my notes on my iPhone.

    Thanks again for your comemnts.

  12. Dave Howell says:

    I am not an apple fanatic, the iPhone is the first apple product I have ever owned. I say that to say this…I understand the cult like following apple has with some people, I am not one of those. The iPhone has done something special and I believe it will remain a force in the market. The figures recently released show a significant gain on the Blackberry. In the business world I move in the iPhone is receiving more buzz than the Blackberry.

    I truly hope to be able to remain with Laridian, but I have to be able to keep up with the preacher as he moves from passage to passage, I cannot do that now.

  13. See my suggestions above about typing in the reference instead of going through the menus. It’s a lot faster. Make liberal use of the Back button to get back to previous passages, and forward to go to the ones he was referencing a minute ago before going back to the previous.

    Then talk to him about the fact that the Bible was written one book at a time. Not only does each book have a historical and cultural context, but each verse has a textual context. The Bible was not written as a collection of snippets of wisdom collected randomly into a large book. Jumping around that way could be the result of looking too hard to find what he wants to say instead of simply preaching what God has already said. </ end of my sermon>

    Not that that’s an excuse for poor performance. :-)

    The program does a good job of keeping up with most people’s use from what we can tell. The average user last Sunday accessed just 10 pages. In a 30-45 minute sermon, that’s one page change every 3-4 minutes. That’s not that bad of a rate to keep up with.

    Again, review the suggestions in the comment above to use the Find dialog to go to a verse. It’s faster especially if you don’t have WiFi.

    Also, remember that the SDK is out now so we’re officially not saying whether or not we’re doing anything native for the iPhone. That doesn’t mean we’re not doing it, and it doesn’t mean we are. If we are it doesn’t mean we’ll release something soon. If we’re not, it doesn’t mean we never will.

  14. Dave Howell says:

    I can appreciated the implications of this for your business. The first bible program to hit iTunes will garner special attention, but the costs must be carefully weighed. Paying 30% for their marketing efforts might be more than you are willing to consider. The volume may be more than you are geared up to handle also. I will pray for wisdom for you.

  15. The first native Bible program for iPhone is guaranteed to be worthless. It will be a KJV-only freeware app thrown together by someone who downloaded the SDK on a lark.

    We’re not worried about the volume, and since the 70/30 split is the only way to get an app on the phone, that’s just part of the calculation. It may drive prices up and it guarantees there won’t be any boxed products containing iPhone apps.

  16. Nathan Youngman says:

    Hey Craig,
    Have you looked into “iPhone SDK for Web Developers” yet? Ajaxian has a post about it, and Apple has a video about the enhancements they are making to Safari (like SVG support, Offline Data support based on the HTML 5 specification, Full screen mode, and gesture events like pinching). Something to work towards for this summer.

  17. Marc Thompson says:

    Hey Craig

    I’d love to see the “all bibles feature” in the context menu. I love the categorized bookmarks. Still waiting for the “all commentaries” and “all dictionaries” in the context menu.

  18. Ed Hansberry says:

    Now people and companies are being rejected from Apple’s developer program.

  19. Lawson Culver says:

    They’re being rejected from being a beta developer. Apple will officially open it in June. BTW, I got the SDK to work on my G5 Mac.

  20. Linda Hawkinson says:

    As I have emailed Laridian before… since I gave up my cell phone and HP ipaq for an iPhone the only thing I miss is my Laridian PocketBible. I know it will read beautifully on the iPhone. I tried the web app, but I can’t connect all the time in church. I want the Bible all the time, when I need it. Please make an application for the iPhone!

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