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Phones

iPhone SDK unveiled, plus support for Microsoft Exchange

Last night Apple announced details for the iPhone SDK and support for Microsoft Exchange, two reasons why the iPhone is really growing on us

SDK -- otherwise known as software development kit -- might not mean anything to you right now, but it will change your mobile life if you own an iPhone or are planning on buying one in the future.

Last night Apple unleashed the iPhone SDK. It's incredibly important, because it busts the handset's potential wide open. Developers from around the world will now have the opportunity to create apps for the previously closed iPhone.

The difference between these programs and what developers could previously achieve via Web apps, is that these will be able to fully access most of the iPhone's hardware, including the multi-touch feature, Wi-Fi and even the accelerometer.

The accelerometer enables the iPhone to know when you've tilted the iPhone and can be used, as demoed last night, in conjunction with games, so that you could control a game by tilting the iPhone.

You'll be able to download apps via the iTunes store from around June. Some of the apps will be free, while others you'll have to pay for. Apple will take a 30 per cent cut for any commercial apps and has set up a $100m fund to help budding iPhone app developers.

But apps and games aside, one of the most exciting announcements made last night is that the iPhone will support Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which is massive news. One of the most common criticisms of the iPhone was the lack of email support for business users.

Support for Exchange means that corporate types will be able to access their company emails on the go, in exactly the same way as you can on a Windows Mobile device or BlackBerry. It also lets you synchronise contact details and your work calendar.

We're seriously excited about all the apps that are going to come out and believe this announcement to be a compelling reason to buy an iPhone. If there's one app we'd like someone to make it would be a 3D GoldenEye-style shooter that lets you attach a Bluetooth gamepad and play your friends over Wi-Fi -- here's a link to the developer page so you can get started. -Andrew Lim