Summary of the WWDC 2008 Keynote address


Another keynote is in the history books for Steve Jobs. The iPhone was the focus of the keynote but Apple will also share details on the new features coming to the latest version of OS X (codenamed Snow Leopard) later today. Meanwhile, here is a summary of what he presented at the 2008 WWDC keynote:

  • Focus on iPhone 2.0 software with three aspects to be covered: enterprise support, the new SDK, and new end-user features.
  • The iPhone 2.0 SDK has been downloaded 250,000 times so far.
  • As already announced, it adds Exchange support, including push email, contacts and calendar, a global address book, remote wipe and more. There has been high corporate interest in iPhone 2.0 with 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies participating in the beta program.
  • There was an SDK overview highlighting facts like the fact that the kernel is the same as that of Mac OS X and that the Core OS is also very similar.
  • An overview and demonstration of Cocoa Touch showed how easy it will be to develop user interfaces. The demonstration showed how to build an application that would find all friends in a 10 mile radius.
  • A number of developers then got to demonstrate applications already built or in development. Among these were Super Monkey Ball from SEGA, an eBay auctions application, an iPhone blogging tool from TypePad, two games (Enigmo and Cro-Mag Rally) from Pangea Software that they ported from OS X in just days, a virtual instruments application called Band from an independent UK developer, an baseball application, a couple of medical applications, and others. All will be available on the App Store when it launches and many of these will be available for free.
  • The number one request from developers has been background support. According to Apple, the wrong implementation (a jab at Windows Mobile) would be to let applications sit in the background eating up processor and battery resources. Instead, Apple has come up with a better tool, a push notification service that will let Apple push a variety of alerts from the third party application to the iPhone. This will only be available in September though.
  • There was a look at the new features in the iPhone 2.0 software: Improved contact searching, full iWork and Office document support, a new calculator, new language support including Asian languages, and more.
  • iPhone 2.0 will be available in early July and will be free for iPhone users but will cost USD$9.99 for iPod Touch users.
  • More on the Apple App Store: Available in 62 countries, it will offer features like support for wireless downloads, automatic updates, and DRM to protect applications. Developers will get 70 percent of revenues. It will also be available for free for those who decide to offer their applications for free. Enterprises will also be able to distribute their applications to authorized iPhones through their Intranets. And a new Ad Hoc mode will allow push distribution to up to 100 iPhones.
  • Then, it was time to introduce something new: A new Apple service called Mobile Me. Described as Exchange for the rest of us, it will offer push capabilities without requiring an Exchange server. Users will be able to keep data (email, contacts, and calendars) in sync between their iPhone, Mac and PC. Service will run through and supports Mail, iCal, Mac Address Book and Outlook on Windows. The service will cost USD$99 a year and will come with 20GB of online storage. .Mac will be retired and current .Mac users will be automatically upgraded. A 60-day trial will be available when iPhone 2.0 is released.
  • A quick chat about the iPhone: So far, 6 million iPhones have been sold. Well received but customers asked for 3G support, enterprise support, third party application support, greater availability (ie, more countries) and more affordable. So, Apple is introducing the iPhone 3G with 3G and GPS support. Currently available in six countries, availability will grow to about 70, including Canada, Sweden and Japan, in the next few months. Prices have also come down and an 8GB iPhone 3G will sell for USD$199 and run up to USD$299 for a 16GB model. Pricing will be the same across the world. A white version will also be available for the 16GB configuration.

I will have more on the iPhone 3G in my next post.