SDK stands for Software Development Kit. Just like a LEGO box, with lots of pre-shaped blocks in it, which snap together in a myriad of possible configurations (depending on where your imagination leads you) an SDK is a set of tools which allows software programmers to snap together their code so we can actually interact with the math that makes applications from the Web browser to Photoshop possible.
Without an SDK, programmers who want to build applications for any given platform have no choice but to hijack the operating system of the device, such as the iPhone / iPod Touch, and crowbar a hacked programming framework in place. This is what is being done when we hear about people having their iPhone cracked, so that they can use it for, among other things, to make calls on another cell phone network other than AT&T in the US or O2 in the UK.
As well as jail-breaking the phone so that other carrier SIM cards will work in the device, iPhone hackers have also built applications for triangulating cell phone towers onto Google Maps, to force the phone into doing Global Positioning style direction finding.
Wouldn’t it be an awful lot easier for Apple to simply release an SDK for the iPhone, so that they could earn revenue from providing customers with legitimate applications which do an even better job than the hacked handsets? Well, yes – of course it would – and that’s exactly what they have gone ahead and done.
Starting in a few months, iPhone customers around the world will get a free update to the handset which enables a whole slew of new functionality. In between time, software developers around the world are busy getting to grips with the SDK to ensure that, once the iPhone update goes live, all you have to do to download new applications to your iPhone is go to Apple.com and browse the library of applications – similar to how millions of people already do now, with the iTunes music store.
Kleiner Perkins, meanwhile, have set-up a 100 million dollar (yes that’s right, you heard right, £50 million pounds) fund, to encourage software developers from around the world to step up to the plate and write applications for what they are calling the nothing less than the paradigm shift the iPhone’s future roadmap represents.
First there was the Personal Computer, now there is the Apple iPhone. That might sound like a bold claim, but in the presentation to the press at Apple’s worldwide headquarters last week, available on Apple.com by clicking here, just exactly what kind of amazing new possibilities the iPhone and iPod Touch represent, future generations might well look back on with the same awe we do now when watching Doug Engelbart’s famous presentation from SRI in the late 1960’s.
In the video below, you can see a mouse, a keyboard, a video link, a hyper-linked document database and a handful of other technology which is commonplace today, that had never been seen before and was first demonstrated to the world as shown in this film…