While watching Apple's announcement today about the future of the iPhone and its SDK, I was shocked. As a person who frequently bemoans the issues and crappiness of tech, I was pleasantly surprised by how thorough and downright impressive Apple's presentation was.
From the very beginning where it spoke about the future of its enterprise integration to the end where Jobs allowed a venture capitalist to come on stage and offer a whopping $100 million to developers, the spectacle wasn't comprised of the illusions of grandeur that had marked the company's previous presentations, but showed a side of Apple that for once, conceded that it had made mistakes and was ready and willing to fix them.
And by admitting its failures and fixing them in a way that no one expected, Apple redeemed itself and has positioned its phone to become the best cell phone ever made. Of course, we can't crown it that until June.
When you create a list of all the complaints you have about the iPhone, surely business functionality and the ability to add applications to the device sit near the top. Of course, at the top of my list is 3G and although the company failed to address that, it will be coming relatively soon and I can squeak by without it for the time being.
For most of the business-types in the world, Apple's announcement that it would include push contacts, a global address list, Cisco IPsec VPN, authentication, enterprise class WiFi (WPA2 / 802.1x), security policies, enterprise configuration tools, and remote wipe was a dream come true. After years of using a BlackBerry to get the job done, company executives all over the world now have an excuse to buy an iPhone.
And while that may be important to some, it's the ability to do practically anything on your iPhone this coming June that will have the most important impact on the popularity of the device.
For the first time, we will finally be able to (legitimately) add applications to the iPhone that should help increase productivity and usefulness. And although the showings today were relatively crude (even though Spore looked great), the possibilities are endless.
Instead of being inundated with bloated software from a company who thinks we want another crappy mobile app that we'll pay too much money for, the iPhone's App Store may finally afford us the opportunity to enjoy free applications made by innovators across the globe who made a program for themselves. In essence, a grassroots campaign of developers is starting to bud and it's the rest of us who will sit back and enjoy the ride.
Will there still be a fair share of expensive software with bloated code? Of course. But for the first time, we have an even playing field and independent developers and world-class software companies will be vying for the same market and I just don't see how that's bad.
And in case you were wondering -- I don't see paid-programs lasting very long. Why? Because for every paid-program, ten free packages will crop up that perform the same exact task and probably do it better; it's the beauty of the open-source community.
If nothing else, Apple on Thursday announced what amounts to one of the most important developments in the iPhone story. Instead of being a fancy device with a phone, the iPhone will soon be an all-in-one device that will be one of the most important gadgets you own. And I, for one, am extremely excited about it.
Watch out, BlackBerry. Apple is coming on strong.