Designed and marketed by Apple Inc., the iPhone is a multi-function, multi-touch screen handheld device that works as a camera phone (also having visual voicemail and text messaging features), a portable media player that is counterpart of an iPod, and an Internet-connected device with web browsing, email, and local Wi-Fi connectivity features. It was announced on January 9, 2007, while made available to buy in the US on June 29 in the same year.
Thanks to the overwhelming marketing, on the launch weekend of iPhone on June, 2007 in the US, 270,000 devices were sold in first 30 hours. Later when it was launched in other parts of the Western world, the sales went up to 6.1 million units in the time period of over five quarters.
Probably Apple knew that their new product would meet this kind of success and that's why even before the launch of the product, to create more excitement, they had announced that their new product would support the third party web programs that be written in AJAX that has the look and feel of the device's interface.
On July 11, 2008, the original product's successor the iPhone 3G was released, which supports assisted GPS and faster 3G data speeds. Apple has sold a total of 21.4 million units of both predecessor and successor to date. Just like with the predecessor, Apple announced its allowance of third party applications on the 3G devices as well even before its release. However, this time Apple made the whole offer more organized and made available a software development kit (SDK) to developers to enable them develop native programs for the iPod Touch and iPhone, as well as test them in an iPhone simulator. However, in order to make available their iPhone apps on the official App Store to be legally downloaded by millions of device owners, developers are required to pay a Apple developer connection membership fee. Developers are allowed to set any price for their application download, 70% of the profit of which will be theirs while 30% will be retained by Apple. Developers are also allowed to provide their programs free of charge.
Having seen the potential of earning from application development for iPhones and selling, many program developers created useful and interesting applications and provided them on the App Store. And the potential did turn to actual as Apple announced roughly $2M USD worth of iPhone apps sales everyday in the first month after the launch of iPhone 3G and the App Store. After 9 months, one billionth program was sold.
The App Store is still immensely popular and apps are being bought in millions each month. Moreover, developers are expecting even huger sales after the arrival of the upcoming, new operating system 3.0 that is, as per Apple's official announcement, going to have a rich set of over 1000 new APIs that will enable developers to develop the next generation of innovative mobile applications as with the over 1,000 new APIs, iPhone SDK for iPhone OS 3.0 beta gives programmers an amazing range of technologies that are sure to boost the functionality of the programs. The new APIs also enable applications to communicate with hardware accessories attached to iPod touch or iPhone among several other 'mouth-watering' functionalities.
iPhone Apps are indeed the biggest trend in program development arena as many application developers have gone on to become millionaires just by developing useful, cool, and interesting programs and selling them through Apple's App Store.. This is also expected to be the case in very near future after the release of the OS 3.0. If you are an application developer and haven't thought about developing some striking iPhone programs before, you should now.