iPhone gets a date

Well I’m sure it’ll have plenty of people courting it when it comes out, but Apple have announced that the iPhone will be available in the US at the end of June.

At least when the phone actually ships, everyone will know what it’s really like rather than the seemingly endless speculation (of which this post is yet another part…) The reason for my adding to the noise concerns the commentary that iPhone will run a version of OS X … that’s as maybe, but the CPU in the phone is a different architecture than either the older PowerPC or the newer Intel cores that the Mac has used for years – though yet to be officially confirmed, it’s said to be using the XScale family (whose lineage goes back to ARM Holdings and Intel, but has been sold off to Marvell).

I used to get irked by people describing Windows CE (the core OS underneath Windows Mobile devices, which has been around for more than a decade) as “a cut-down version of Windows”: it isn’t, never has been. WinCE may share some of the same APIs as Windows (which can make it more straightforward for developers to write software for it, since they do the same/similar things on both platforms), but it’s a long way from being a “cut-down” version.

So even if you’ll be able to buy 3rd-party applications for the iPhone (which Steve Jobs alluded to at last week’s D Conferece), there’s no way you’re going to be taking an existing app from OS X and just pushing it down to the phone. According to All Things D, again:

Whoa. Jobs says iPhone runs “real OS X, real Safari, real desktop email.”
Walt follows up: If that’s true, could other OS X applications run on the iPhone? Jobs says no. They’re not designed to.

I’d venture to suggest that “not designed to” in this case doesn’t mean “not optimisied for”, but instead, “not able to run because the underlying OS and CPU architecture is completely different”. Windows developers can build applications targetted at Windows Mobile using the same tools and many of the same techniques they use to build Windows applications (Visual Studio, in other words), but the apps have to be specifically developed for the platform, given that screen size & orientation and the UI model is so different – and iPhone developers (assuming there will be some besides Apple & Google), will need to do the same.

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