The first round of news out of today’s Apple event has to do with a “major update” to the iPhone and iPod Touch operating system.
Until now, there’s a been a lot of catching up with details related to the app store and the popularity of it. There are more than 25,000 apps in the store today and more than 800,000 downloads - in eight months time. The apps were my favorite thing about the iPhone I didn’t keep and the are still my favorite in the iPod Touch.
So Apple is expanding what developers can do with their apps in the new OS. The company notes that developers are asking for other business models, like subscriptions and the ability to charge for additional levels on a game or fresh content on an app. In OS 3.0, developers will be able to do those sorts of things.
Apple, recognizing the popularity of apps within the iPhone/iPod Touch ecosystem, is creating an environment that’s friendly to developers, a lure to keep them happy as they build a massive network of piggy banks for Apple. As App stores grow in other smartphone platforms - Blackberry, Palm Pre and so on - Apple is smart to use every turbo boost mechanism at its means to get way ahead in the race.
This is cool. Through Bluetooth, Apple is opening peer-to-peer connectivity on the iPhone/iPod Touch. The obvious example, of course, becomes the kids in the back seat playing a game against each other.
That leads me another observation: the power of the iPod Touch. I’ve said before that I think the real killer device here is the iPod Touch. It has all the cool features of an iPhone without the cost of the service plan. It’s interesting that Apple is referencing both products now, instead of just the iPhone. The company said at the beginning of the event that it had sold 17 million iPhones. Counting the iPod Touch, the company has sold 30 million devices with the OS, bringing that iPod Touch number to 13 million.
Late to Push
OK, the company admits they were late to push technology. Anyone who has used a Blackberry understands the significance of push - you don’t have to go and retrieve your e-mail. Your screen simply refreshes when there’s a new item. But, because Apple’s apps don’t run in the background, you wouldn’t know if you had any new mail unless you opened the mail app first.