What is the iPhone SDK?
by admin

The acronym SDK stands for software development kit. In simple terms the SDK allows people to develop applications for use on the iPhone and the iPod Touch. These applications can be games, tools, networking programs – basically any software which will run on the iPhone device. For an idea of how large the scope is take a look at the App Store. There are currently over 35,000 applications on offer and Apple recently announced there have been over 1 billion apps downloaded by customers. Some of the apps are completely free, others have an associated cost.

In March of 2008 Apple released the iPhone SDK. This allowed third party developers (companies outside of Apple) to create software for the iPhone and the iPod Touch and to test their applications on an iPhone simulator. In order to develop an application for release in the App Store developers have to sign up to the iPhone Developer Program. The standard program costs $99 and the enterprise program costs $299. You can access them at the iPhone Dev Center.

Developers who sign up for the program gain access to a wide variety of technical resources. They get tools that help them test and debug their code and if the resulting application is approved by Apple they get to sell it or distribute it for free through the App Store. Access to the program also provides developers with access to iPhone OS 3.0 beta so that they can begin to prepare applications for the next generation of iPhone.

Once the developer has used the iPhone SDK to create an application and it is ready for release and approved by Apple they can decide on the price. If they decide to offer the app for free then there are no further associated costs and Apple will distribute it. If the developer wants to charge a fee for the application then they agree on an amount with Apple and the fee is divided with 70% going to the developer and 30% going to Apple.

The iPhone SDK itself is a free download but developers cannot release any application created with it unless they sign up to the developer agreement and pay the fee. The SDK is broken down into sections and developers can hook into any of the features. The iPhone simulator is a program which can be run on the developer’s desktop PC or Mac and it closely emulates the look and feel of the iPhone.

Before Apple released the SDK there were people determined to develop applications for the device and they created a practice called jailbreaking. To jailbreak the iPhone simply meant opening up the operating system so it could accept third party applications. The App Store and the fact that Apple has opened up the platform to third party developers has gone some way towards reducing iPhone hacks. However there are still alternatives to the official developer program for people who want to develop an application for the device and don’t care about distributing through the App Store.

If you are interested in finding some tutorials to help you use the SDK to develop an application then you will find there are plenty of resources out there. There is a website called iPhone SDK Articles which provides plenty of useful information. There is also a useful section at MacRumours Forum which is dedicated to iPhone programming. You can find plenty of other resources to help you if you search and the iPhone Dev Center itself provides a wealth of information.


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