For those of you who haven’t quite grasped the acronyms thrown about at Apple’s demo of the updates coming to the iPhone’s software and the tools provided for app developers, we’re going to break it down for you in a two part series (which has slightly run over due to maintenance issues).
Part 2 – Behind the scenes & the future. APIs explained
The truly exciting part of the OS 3.0 announcement are the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). While the software itself wont make a difference to you or I, what developers do with these new additions to the developers kit will really get you salivating. Here’s what we know so far:
In-App Purchases – What does it mean? Well it means you can buy stuff within an app. Not overly exciting on the surface (especially when it means paying more once you’ve bought an app!) but it does open up some interesting opportunities for publishers to sell magazines, videos and more through an application.
P2P – This is where the fun begins. This is peer-to-peer (no, not that illegal lark) over Bluetooth for your iPhone. Developers now have access to a “Game Kit” which should see a host of multiplayer options cropping up in your favourite games as well as voice communication. Presumably the voice feature can be used over other connections too or else talking while connected via Bluetooth seems a little pointless given the short range.
Push Notification – Yes, this was supposed to be present before but, according to Apple, now it’s really coming and it’ll work properly. Developers have the option to alert you of updates or messages from an app even when it’s not running but without draining your battery. Apparently, before Apple worked its magic, Push would have drained your phone in a matter of hours. Could be brilliant for instant messaging and third party email, could be seriously annoying for Twitter clients.
Maps – Another new framework makes it possible for developers to put together apps that include maps from Google but, more importantly, they’ll also be able to create the type of turn-by-turn GPS app that has been widely demanded by the iPhone community.
iPod Access – Apps can now get inside the iPod portion of your iPhone allowing developers to create software that lets you pick a soundtrack for games and more. No more setting a playlist before you start a game or having your tunes rudely interrupted by in-game effects.
Accessory Advancements – Possibly the most exciting development and certainly one with the most potential for innovation is the External Accessory Framework. With this new API at their disposal, developers and manufacturers can work hand in hand to make the iPhone and its accessories do the same. Many examples have been touted from volume controls for docking stations, music software controllers and even blood pressure reading tools. This is one to watch.
What would you like to see developers create for the iPhone now they have these new APIs? Email and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org