Apple is apparently hurrying to accept applied individuals into the exclusive $99 iPhone Developer Program prior to the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco next week -- especially developers who will be attending the conference. iPhone Atlas has received notes from a number of coders registered for WWDC who have only received acceptance letters in the past few days, despite having applied to the program months ago. The company is expected to detail iPhone OS 2.0 and launch a new iPhone at the week-long event which kicks off with a keynote address from CEO Steve Jobs on June 9th.
Apple initially allowed only a relative few developers into the program, sending disconcerting notices that were interpreted as rejection letters to the majority of applicants. Acceptance widened in late March and early April, however, and now appears to be expanding even further.
The iPhone Developer Program allows access to pre-release iPhone software (iPhone OS 2.0); technical support; the ability to get code onto iPhones for testing; and distribution of applications via the new App Store.
Apple has confirmed that a roster of notable developers, including Intuit, PopCap, Net Suite and Six Apart had signed on to deliver applications through the AppStore, though there as been a dearth of actual discussion or promotion of upcoming applications.
More than 100,000 iPhone developers downloaded the beta iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) in the first four days since its launch on March 6. Access to the SDK was not restricted, with all registered developers allowed to download and use the free package.