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Web 2.0 firms show mild enthusiasm for custom iPhone apps

Web 2.0 firms show mild enthusiasm for custom iPhone apps

Apple's non-announcement that those seeking to write applications for the iPhone can simply develop robust Web 2.0 applications instead has been met with guarded interest. While a few basic, AJAX-infused, hobby "applications" have been spawned (including a purportedly iPhone-optimized Digg interface and a shopping list organizer), the heavy-hitters of Web 2.0 have yet to make any serious commitments for development of customized iPhone programs.

We spoke with a few leading dynamic Web content developers about the prospect of creating custom iPhone "applications," and found that most are either waiting for more specifics on the stripped-down Safari browser or simply looking to ensure that their current offerings work as-is on the device.

Jason Fried, the founder of 37signals -- whose Basecamp and Backpack Web apps for team collaboration and information organization have surged in popularity -- is taking a wait-and-see approach.

Fried told iPhone Atlas "We'll have to wait and see until we have some iPhones in hand. We'll definitely make sure our apps work well on the iPhone as is, but we may also send different stylesheets and layouts if someone hits from the iPhone. Until we have a few to play with it's all just a guess.", which offers a social approach to music listening, believes that its Web content will deliver well to the iPhone, requiring little modification.

Company spokesperson Christian Ward told us "We're not developing a specific app because should work â??out the boxâ?? so to speak. We're looking forward to getting our hands on one and confirming what our tech guys believe to be the case â?? that you should be able to download the software to your iPhone straight away and scrobble tracks, and also listen to your personalized streaming radio on-the-go. Which would obviously be really cool!"

Pandora, another music streaming service that attempts to find music similar to artists and tracks selected by the user, is interested, but waiting for technical specifications before moving forward.

Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora, told us:

"It's still too soon to know for sure. Apple hasn't released details of any audio capabilities available from the iPhone browser. Of course we're interested if it's technically possible."