The second coming for mobile developers or the devil's advocate in sheep's clothing? The final verdict on Apple's SDK for iPhone remains to be decided - not least until the final version is released and a proper commercial deployment has hit the wallets of iPhone owners but the intricacies of the End User License Agreement aside, Apple is happy to highlight the popularity of the SDK in terms of downloads.
Within the first four days, the beta version of the Software Development Kit that enables developers to create applications for iPhone and iPod touch has been downloaded over 100,000 times.
"Developer reaction to the iPhone SDK has been incredible," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. "Also, over one million people have watched the launch video on Apple.com, further demonstrating the incredible interest developers have in creating applications for the iPhone."
The good news for developers is that the App Store lets developers set the price for their creations - including free - while retaining 70 per cent of sales revenues.
The bad news is that Apple is limiting what you can do in terms of only letting you run one application at a time as well as limiting sales options to the App Store, ensuring iPhone will operate as a high-walled garden. Further issues include Apple's use of the Objective C programming language, which is a weird inbetween C and C++ legacy protocol used mainly by Apple (ahem - wonder why it's using that then?).
Still back in iPhone SDK press-release-land, Apple's keen to big up the developers it's allowed into its walled garden, including the likes of EA, Sega, THQ Wireless, PopCap and Namco.
"We're very excited about Apple's new SDK and reaching every iPhone user through the new App Store," said Scott Rubin, vice president, sales and marketing, Namco Networks. "We can't wait to show off great new versions of arcade classics like PAC-MAN and Galaga that use the revolutionary features of the iPhone and iPod touch."
"Apple's become an important mobile game platform with the iPhone SDK," echoed Jason Kapalka, co-founder and chief creative officer, PopCap. "The new SDK gives us the tools to innovate and reinvent games like Bejeweled, Zuma and Peggle. With the new App Store we can reach every iPhone and iPod touch user on the planet."
"The iPhone is the mobile platform game developers have been dreaming of," said Scott Zerby, vice president, THQ Wireless. "We're looking at how we can use the iPhone's innovative user interface to create new game experiences for our big brand entertainment partners that consumers love."
So you get the picture. Everyone Apple's tapped on the shoulder loves the SDK.
We're keen too - keen to see what these publishers do with the SDK, especially in terms of making the most of the iPhone's touchscreen capabilities. Watch this (touch)space.