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The line between web and "real" apps on the iPhone

Rogue Amoeba apparently wanted to jump in today and be the first devs to thank His Steveness for presenting developers with a complete and terrific iPhone SDK this afternoon. Or-- in their sarcastic case-- the lack thereof.

Yes, as you can see in the resulting comments, Mac developers aren't real thrilled that so far, the only way to develop for the iPhone will be to brush up on their AJAX, Javascript, and Ruby on Rails. By saying at the keynote that developers would be able to run web-based applications on the iPhone, Jobs opened a rift that's been widening: OS X developers say that they don't want to create web apps-- they'd rather work on "real apps."

Later on in the RA thread, a commenter named Joe gets to the point: web apps are quickly becoming real apps. Even Apple's release of Safari for Windows points to the idea that the ultimate way to be compatible across all systems is to put programs (Gmail, Google Reader, even Twitter) in the browser. Web developers must be thrilled-- they all just became official iPhone programmers today.

There's a big drawback, however, and it's not just that Mac devs who want to write for iPhone will have to blow the dust off of their old Javascript books. It's that the trade-off for compatibility is usually quality. If Apple had released an SDK for iPhone today (or when they do-- just because we didn't see it today doesn't mean it won't come next year), Mac devs say they'd be able to make even better applications-- because that's what they do for "real" hardware.

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