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Third-party iPod Touch apps: now no hacking required!

Australians are getting the iPhone...software update. Sure, you can't have the hot handset yet, but how about a heap of iPhone apps for your iPod Touch while you're waiting?

Example apps Touch FX and Touch Fighter.

Third-party apps for the iPod Touch and the still-unreleased iPhone will be available in June as part of Apple's iPhone 2.0 software -- but Touch owners need to fork over cash for the upgrade while iPhoners get it for free.

At an announcement in Cupertino, Apple CEO Steve Jobs today confirmed that the software update includes a software development kit (SDK) which allows developers to build super-funky apps that take advantage of the devices' multi-touch interface, animation technology and accelerometer.

Example apps showcased during the announcement included Touch FX, in which you can warp onscreen photos using your fingers and reset the image by shaking the device. Another, a game called Touch Fighter, sees you use the phone or MP3 player like a steering wheel to fly a Star Wars X-Fighter through a galaxy far, far away.

Applications can be downloaded straight to a Touch or iPhone via Wi-Fi from an App Store that is installed as part of the software update. For those of us not lucky enough to have neighbours with unsecured wireless networks, the app shop will also be available within the iTunes store.

iPhone customers receive the update for nix, but iPod Touch owners will need to part with their dough. In typical secretive Apple fashion Jobs said the cost would not be revealed until the release date, but was quick to assure attendees that the company is "not trying to make money off this". A recent software update that added Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes and Weather applications to the Touch cost AU$24.99.

As for the price of individual apps, developers determine the cost, and will pocket 70 percent of revenue with Apple holding onto the remaining 30. The option to make apps available for free is also there for the taking.

Would-be app creators in Australia can now download the free beta version of the SDK from Apple's Web site.