Under The Microscope

Patience Is A Virtue

Since the day the iPhone was released, people have been clamoring for it to do more. The iPhone really is a handheld computer, running mobile OS X, so why can’t it do everything a Mac does? After it was broken open, plenty of applications were developed for it in a very short time. While nearly all of these applications were small and often little more than tech demos, it’s obviously fertile new ground for software development.

After their initial dodge on applications for the iPhone, Apple rapidly changed course, promising an SDK by February. An SDK means that third party developers will have a sanctioned way of getting onto the iPhone. We don’t know the specifics, but this is obviously a positive step.

A few intrepid developers have continued to work on hacked iPhones, but for our part, we’ve been content to work on other things while waiting for the official SDK to arrive. Of course, that hasn’t stopped users from asking for (and at times, demanding) software for the iPhone. To be sure, the iPhone will be an exciting new place to develop and we intend to be there. The SDK is set to arrive shortly, and when it does, we’ll begin examining it and seeing what we can add to the iPhone. We’ve got some ideas already:

Airfoil Speakers for iPhone
Airfoil Speakers currently runs on Macs and Windows, turning it in to a virtual AirPort Express. This enables you to send music out from one machine to others on your local network. When running on an iPhone, it would effectively turn it into a walking AirPort Express. This makes for a very nice demo, enhances Airfoil’s value, and would certainly be useful in plenty of situations – I know I want it for myself. Perhaps best of all, it should be one of the easier applications to bring over to the iPhone.

Airfoil for iPhone
Users have oft requested the ability to send audio from the iPhone out to the AirPort Express as well as Apple TV and Airfoil Speakers on Mac and Windows. It actually took me awhile to cross the Getting It Gap with this. If you’re at home, why not just transmit audio with computer to which the iPhone is connected? That machine holds all your music, not just 8 Gigs worth, and you can couple it with an iTunes remote.

Quentin finally explained it in a way that made sense to me – picture the newest iPhone in 24, maybe 48 months. It’s likely to hold all your music and if all your music is in your pocket, why not control everything from there? There are worries here about battery life, as well as how we’ll access the wi-fi and music, but it’s definitely worth investigating.

Those will be the first two applications we’ll be considering and they’ll likely take some time. There are likely to be plenty of additional opportunities, however. What do you want to see Rogue Amoeba develop for the iPhone?

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