Apple's announcement today that it would deliver an official, full-blown software development kit for the creation of third-party, native iPhone applications was a surprise to some, a relief to others and mere event course for still others. We spoke with two individuals who have been instrumental in the unofficial third-party iPhone application scene:
Miksam Rogov of Nullriver Software, whose Installer.app for the iPhone (an easy-to-use method for download and installing native binaries directly on the device itself) has been perhaps the largest catalyst for development thus far, says an official SDK was inevitable.
"It's what I expected," he told iPhone Atlas.
Rogov also believes that most current third-party applications (available through Installer.app) will simply need to be recompiled once the new Apple system is in place. "The apps will all still run, just possibly need a recompile. So pretty much everything will get ported, or it will run in some sort of restricted environment."
He also thinks it should be the user, not Apple, who decides what applications can run on their devices. In his post to Apple's Web site, Steve Jobs said that Apple was considering the use of a "digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer," similar to a scheme currently in use by Nokia.
"It's the user that should be deciding whether to give authorization," said Rogov.
As for the future of Installer.app, Rogov says he'll likely be talking with Apple. "I'm going to speak with (Apple) and see what their plan for distribution is."
"I think it is great news, of course," he said. "They are going to have some amazing third party developers spring to life. I think we are going to see some really creative applications."
For those who can't wait until February for third-party, native iPhone applications, see our guide to jailbreaking and installing native binaries on phones right now.