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Sunday, March 9, 2008

iPhone 2.0 is a Leap (Spring) Forward

Reset your clocks. When all the dust settles after the iPhone SDK announcement, even with all the concerns about Apple's control over the platform, one thing is very clear -- the iPhone experience will change radically with the release of iPhone 2.0 in June.

While many questions remain, Apple will promote development on the iPhone both with consumer level applications and with implementations of enterprise software tailored to individual companies and institutions.

No doubt museums and art galleries will be using the platform as a place to launch interactive media such as the Walker Art Center has already began to do in a limited fashion. Hospitals will find the handheld iPod or iPhone invaluable to searching and locating records. Schools, collections and libraries can be incredibly interactive and mobile inside their wifi domains.

We are also likely to see the iPod Touch become a much more popular tool as owning and using one will not require a AT&T cell phone contract and developers can use wifi to send and receive vital data. The iPod Touch running 2.0 might even become a way out for Apple to sell iPhone equivalent technologies without AT&T being party to the purchase or contract with users.

Using an iPod Touch inside a corporation for capturing and sharing data such as with doctors in hospitals, inventory in retail operations, or point of sale and service has huge potential for the Touch technology, where not having the cell phone capabilities becomes a plus on a mobile device.

In Apple's Thursday announcement they invited a number of developers on stage to preview versions of the games, data base tracking applications, and messaging clients for the iPhone. It was abundantly clear that the prospects on this platform are immense with robust development and will be enjoined by enthusiastic programmers.

And despite developer concern about the Apple Apps Store being the sole distributor for iPhone and iPod Touch applications, Apple will be partner with thousands of developers and enthusiastic about getting new tools and entertainment to iPhone users through this huge direct sales network and free distribution channel. As Wired said in it recent cover story, FREE is the future of business. All-in-all that is an advantage to the developers, iPhone owners, and Apple itself.

In Apple's defense, inside the IT departments I've heard many say that Apple should control the distribution of applications on the iPhone very tightly because he users don't want their cell phone riddled with poor designed and programmed applications that will destroy the iPhone experience and functionality. They often point to the wide-open nature of the PC and how it has become riddled not only with bugs, worms and virus' but also low functioning software by amateur programmers.

Adding to the excitement of the SDK package release was the announcement of the iFund, a one hundred million dollar capital investment fund by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. A chief partner in KPCB, John Doerr in founding this fund saluted Apple entrepreneurs as revolutionaries and called Steve Jobs the supreme commander who started Apple and the personal computer industry. He said $100 million is enough start-up money for "four Googles."

Apple's upcoming iPhone 2.0 will continue to jettison their cell phone business far ahead of any other smart phone company in the industry. Apple says the upgrade to 2.0 will be free to all iPhone owners (iPod Touch owners will need to pay for the upgrade) but this assures all of the millions who bought iPhones this year -- we can still look forward to one hell of a fun ride.

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