When Apple took stage today, it was to start the momentum going for version 3.0 of the iPhone platform and that involved a combination of new features for end users along with a 1,000 new APIs for developers to take advantage of. In terms of new features, most of what was shown was table stakes, stuff that users have been asking for since day one. Yes, it’s nice to have cut, copy and paste and MMS support but that’s not what’s going to drive the next wave of user adoption for either the iPhone or the its cousin, the iPod Touch. Those features are more evolutionary and were required to keep Apple in the game.
The real important news was the new APIs and the time Apple spent during the presentation showing what was capable with them. I’ve argued in the past that operating systems as a core purchase driver don’t matter nearly as much as applications do. Especially now in the mobile space where everyone supports basic features such as push email, PIM sync and good web browsing experiences. At a time when all platform vendors are getting the message that it’s the extensibility of the platform that’s important, Apple showed off some revolutionary new capabilities that will help raise the bar. The breadth and depth of the apps that Apple demoed showed capabilities that would simply be impossible on other devices and platforms at the moment. In addition, by providing new revenue models for developers, Apple shored up support for new applications and ISVs entering the eco system. We know the mantra of developers, developers, developers well and Apple today set the stage for the next generation of app functionality.
The iPhone isn’t just about a platform or applications. It’s also about hardware as well. It will be interesting to see what else Apple has planned in the summer to take advantage of the platform and APIs.