B2i Developers

The iPhone is a fantastic phenomenon. It's a communications device, a multimedia platform and much more all rolled into one single tool. Everyone wants in on this device.

The Apple store has just passed the one billionth application download (I alone account for 3% of that...) and there is a wide array of applications from the amazingly useful to the bizarrely redundant.

With millions of iPhones out there, it makes sense to have your content, or application available on that platform, but how do you go about doing this? Where do you go to get started? And what are the steps you need to take to get there?

This article is an introduction to the various ways of getting content and applications onto the iPhone. It is by no means a full guide, but hopes to point you in the right direction and give you an overview of what is involved in the process.

Immersion

The first step in writing for the iPhone is understanding how things really work on the iPhone. I think it is virtually impossible to develop for the iPhone without being a solid user for a while.

The iPhone has a certain way of doing things and if your content does not adhere to that it will stick out like a sore thumb. It is very different to what happens on a desktop.

The only means of interacting with content on the iPhone is your fingers. This dictates a lot of the way the interface works. The other major differences are that the screen is small, only one application runs at a time and there is very little opportunity to provide user help.

The iPhone uses animation extensively to provide a fluid, responsive interface that feels almost physical (as if the screen's contents are really moving off, jumping or collapsing). You really need to get a feel for this to be able to create something that lives comfortably on the iPhone.

You could potentially use the iPhone simulator on a Mac instead of an actual iPhone or iPod Touch, but... that doesn't really do it. The iPhone has a set of accelerometers that can sense the orientation and movement of the device. You really need to hold it and feel it.