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Developing Content For The Apple iPhone.

Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything…

That’s how introduced the new during his 2007 . If he’s right, and this device turns out to be the first shot fired in a new mobile revolution, what will it mean for content developers?


With a projected $500 entry level price point and Apple publicly setting a goal for a %1 share of the mobile phone market in 2008, the iPhone probably won’t mean that content developers can toss our browser in the digital dumpster just yet. Still, the coming opportunities this shift in the landscape may present for delivering higher quality on-demand audio and video content to a mobile audience are encouraging.

As more news for developers becomes available, one area we’ll be paying close attention to is how full featured the iPhone version of will be. So far not much has been revealed in the but got an early sneak peak at the iPhone, reports that it is a modified version of Safari. If these modifications turn out to be about adding new features and optimizations (the pinch) that make the browser work better on this platform, then that will be good news. But if the iPhone version of Safari becomes a stripped down version in the fashion of then that could be a disappointment.

An early clue to see which direction this heads will be to see if Safari on the iPhone will use or , or no Flash. Tough to tell from the keynote demo – as these pictures and this discussion indicate.

Perhaps an even more telling marker will be to see what happens when you the iPhone a link to a third party audio or video file. Will the texted be hot on the iPhone so that the user can easily download the linked content, similar to how it works today with some carriers and devices? Or will the link be inactive, as how it currently appears to work with other carriers and devices? And what will the file size limitation be on third party content delivered this way? From our , iPhone partner ranked among the more open carriers regarding this aspect of third party mobile content delivery. Let’s urge them to continue down that path. will be tracking these three issues in particular because when you combine the potential upside of the browser, plug-in, and SMS possibilities with the desktop type feature set and foundation of the iPhone, the result could provide fresh fuel for the democracy of distribution to take on new shapes as the mobile audience becomes empowered with tools that allow them to more easily bypass gatekeepers who want to control access to third party content. In other words…

If the iPhone can help topple another set of it will be a welcomed ally to independent content developers everywhere.

of iPhone demo from

For developers focused on delivering content that requires full mobile broadband to create a satisfying user experience, Apple’s decision to arm the iPhone with rather than may be a something of a letdown. But with the iPhone’s built in / WiFi, it’s a letdown that’s relatively easy to forgive. It’s worth noting here that made the same choice going with EDGE over UMTS with their recent launch of the .

Also, it might have been nice to have an version of the iPhone available so the mobile services consumer could have at least some freedom to select the wireless provider that works best for them. Apple’s with is bad news for those hoping a version for fellow based provider might be on the horizon. But again it will be somewhat easy to forgive here if the payoff is the delivery of more new provider integrated services like visual voicemail.

And for those focused on creating rather than consuming multimedia content with their mobile device, perhaps the offers some things to think about.

n93i photo from

Overall though it’s hard to watch that keynote demo and not come away optimistic about the impact the iPhone could have on content developers who want to connect with a mobile audience. By raising the bar on what is possible, the iPhone might just raise the mobile audience’s expectations about what features should be part of their mobile device, regardless of the manufacturer. Let’s hope Apple’s friendly wake up call to , , , , , , , , et al. can inspire everyone working in the mobile space, content developers included, to up their game.

Even after such a buzz inducing introduction to the public, the iPhone does have its skeptics though. And that’s probably a good thing. From to those simply concerned that a certain scandal could evolve into something that might eventually distract those in charge of executing strategy, these storylines should hopefully help keep any pending irrational exuberance about Apple in check.

My favorite dose of pessimism could be this brilliantly succinct and rather earthy perspective spotted in a comment on this Engadget Mobile blog post about the iPhone not being a smartphone:

…a high priced phone for hippies.

Peace out.

gray line

Filed under opinion by david cummings on Monday 15 January 2007 at 4:20 pm



  1. Comment by ian — January 18, 2007 @ 11:53 am avatar

    Here is a graphic showing the stock prices of Apple, RIMM, and Palm when the iPhone was announced..

  2. Comment by dc — January 18, 2007 @ 5:39 pm avatar

    Powerful chart Ian. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Comment by Karl — March 1, 2007 @ 10:12 am avatar

    I saw this in the Skymall magazine on my way to Indiana last week. Doesn’t really have any specs so it’s hard to tell if it’s going to be any good now. But imagine the future possibilities.

    As a fairly novice Mac user, I’m excited about the possibilities. All of the sudden I’m browsing the net on a virtual 50″ screen or working on any number of applications in OS-X anywhere. (What will it run?)

    Apple’s record on releasing new products is pretty awesome. They revolutionized home computer use and mobile audio devices, is this IT?.

  4. Comment by dc — March 5, 2007 @ 8:46 am avatar

    Hi Karl:

    You’re right. That ezvision video iwear looks like it could help those plane rides go by faster.

    There’s an interesting podcast on with the ceo from competing company Micro Optical Corporation, makers of the myvu eyeglass electronic display device.

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