'App Store' Will Distribute iPhone Software
Apple CEO Steve Jobs today demonstrated a new "App Store," an application iPhone users will be able to use to download software that third-party developers create for the iPhone using Apple's recently-introduced Software Development Kit (SDK).
The new software will be delivered in late June, according to Jobs, though a beta release is being made available today.
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Jobs called the App Store: "An application we've written to deliver apps to the iPhone. And we're going to put it on every single iPhone with the next release of the software."
That software release -- iPhone 2.0 -- will be released for free for iPhone users. The same software is also coming to the iPod touch, said Jobs, although those users will need to pay what he described as "a nominal charge."
The App Store borrows its look and feel from Apple's iPod software for the iPhone. It breaks out items, categories, top lists and a search function to help iPhone users find the applications they want.
You can tap the application's price to download the software, then tap again to install it, and it will install on the iPhone, either over a cell network or using Wi-Fi. Alternately, users can buy iPhone applications through iTunes running on a computer, installing them by synchronizing the iPhone.
The App Store will be the exclusive way for developers to distribute iPhone applications, said Jobs. Calling it a "great business deal," Jobs explained that the revenue from paid applications will be split 70/30. Developers will retain 70 percent of the revenues from their applications, while Apple keeps the other 30 percent. There are no credit card, hosting or marketing fees, either. What's more, Apple pays revenue to developers monthly.
"This is the best deal going to distribute applications in the mobile space," said Jobs. And there's no charge to developers to distribute free applications.
The App Store also handles updates to iPhone applications you've previously purchased and installed. One tap of the Update button will download and install the updated version over the air.
Some Limits on New Apps
While this opens the door to third-party software developers who want to create products for the iPhone, Jobs said there will be limitations on what Apple will allow to be published through the App Store -- no porn, for example, no tools for breaching privacy, no bandwidth-hogging apps, nothing malicious or illegal, and nothing, as Jobs' Keynote presentation slide described it, "unforeseen."
The SDK itself is available for free. Developers can also run a simulator on their Macs. A $99 fee is incurred for developers who want to join Apple's new iPhone Developer Program.