So I was chatting with Cory and we started talking about what the iPhone will or will not bring. Will it ship on Thursday or not? Will Apple charge for it? Here's a round-up of our outstanding SDK concerns:
Will it ship? Rumors seem to be split between a no-show and a preliminary alpha or beta release. The fact that Apple has promised a "roadmap" rather than a "roll-out" indicates that things aren't as settled for shipping as we might hope.
How much will it cost? Is this going to be freely available like XCode or are we looking at a paid ADC-only release, like the early Leopard seeds? I wouldn't be surprised by ADC-only but I certainly am hoping for a wider release. The iPhone is a perfect hobbyists platform and limiting development to "enterprise" would be a sad move.
What shape will it take? It looks like a given at this point (just watch me be wrong!) that we're going to see an Objective-C 2.0-based XCode development environment with access to "blessed" frameworks and headers. There will likely be a simulator and a way to transfer by cable to the iPhone for testing.
What limits are there going to be? Will devs get access to the cell radio? Or does Apple intend to limit development to Internet-only? The smart money is riding on the latter option. I don't see the jailbreak community, with its full suite of iPhone applications and services going away any time soon--especially if Apple limits access to core iPhone features. That being said, I'm pretty sure that Apple will not interfere with any standard networking calls. So you should be able to use the WiFi and EDGE connections and services like Bonjour to interact with other computers on your LAN.
How will iTunes delivery work? My guess is that certain approved providers (like TuneCore for music) will be able to access store distribution for a fee, possibly a very large fee. I do not think that Apple will be involved in vetting individual software items. I also think that the legal agreements before you can distribute will be extremely complex, particularly when it comes to things like warranties and liability. I'd be stunned if this delivery system was in place any earlier than WWDC -- and possibly later.
What about that whole "enterprise" iPhone thing? It may just be more Exchange-type integration. Hard to say. Layton Duncan thought that it might mean the event might touch on non-iPhone news, with the recent dropping of the Xserve RAID line.
So that's a roundup of things we discussed. What are your takes on these issues? And what issues did Cory & I miss? Let us know in the comments.