Friday, March 07, 2008

Apple Ships iPhone SDK—Even More Applications for Virtual Instrumentation

I’m a big fan of the iPhone for several reasons – it’s cool technology. It points the way for follow on technology with its use of the multi-touch screen. It relieved my horrendous carpal tunnel syndrome which my old Nokia phone caused because I had to scrunch up my thumb to press the buttons. Did I mention it’s cool technology?

Like most Apple products, it’s something of a closed system which is why news of an impending release of a SDK for the iPhone comes as welcome news. The rumor mill continues to church on the actual release date, but it should be sometime this week. Currently, there are about 300 applications for the iPhone. Here’s one list that tracks them. Most of these will move to the new SDK from their current Safari browser implementation. The move signals the shift of the iPhone away from being just a phone to becoming more of a mini-computer.

Early reviews from those writing iPhone applications are positive. Unofficial guides currently describe how to use the installer capability to create applications but these will soon be replaced by those leveraging the SDK.

The list of applications coming are already heating up. Here’s one list. as the memory grows and the wireless connections improve in bandwidth, the iPhone becomes another platform for measurement and automation applications. Field testing is an obvious choice given the portability requirements. Also, the smaller the device the easier it is to meet ruggedization requirements. Taking a Dell laptop into true field applications results in horrendously high failure rates. In working with the hardened laptop vendors, I learned that Dell laptops in the field (not just taking it from the office cube to the home office desk but real outdoor applications) results in a 60% failure rate. The mobile phone by comparison is already hardened for mobile applications and has been for years.

Best regards,
Hall T.

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