There’s no doubt that Apple wants its iPhone to become a business e-mail gadget while operating as a portable video game console. The new iPhone SDK was unveiled Thursday which allows third-party developers to build new applications for the mobile device.
The new beta version of the Apple iPhone SDK was released Thursday, while the full version will be officially shipped in June.
Not all third-party iPhone developers will be happy with Apple’s SDK approach, since the international company will retain tight control over what programs go on the iPhone.
Apple is also tweaking the iPhone to support Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange software, which addresses a key weakness in the gadget and puts it in more direct competition with Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and Palm Inc.’ Treo smart phones.
The software updates will give iPhones the security and integration of e-mail, calendars and contact lists that businesses have been demanding.
To graciously help kick off development, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has created a $100 million “iFund” to support new companies developing the next generation of applications.
Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr, who’s managing the capital fund, said he’s particularly interested in funding applications in health care.
“That should be enough to start about a dozen Amazons or even four Googles,” said Doerr, who aided funding for both companies in their infancy. “And if we’re running out of money we’ll run around and look for more.”
Apple wants to definitely sell 10 million iPhones by the end of the year, making the device roughly 1 percent of the worldwide cell phone market.
The renowned company will sell outside developers’ iPhone applications through the new App Store. Developers will pay a $99 fee to register and will set the price for their applications. They’ll get 70 percent of the incoming revenue.
“This is the best deal going to distribute applications to mobile platforms,” Jobs said.