Apple CEO Steve Jobs said today he wants to create 'a vibrant third party developer community' for the iPhone and iPod Touch - and got the ball rolling by unveiling the new SDK for the touch-screen devices and naming EA and Sega as key firms already making games for the device.
The iPhone and iPod Touch Software Developer Kit arrives in beta form, debuting the features of the devices' version 2.0 firmware, due to arrive in June.
While Apple's focus is still predominantly on enterprise and non-games software, the device has attracted the support of Electronic Arts and Sega, who are preparing versions of their titles Spore and Super Monkey Ball for the platform. The games make use of the devices' touch-screen and tilt-sensor.
EA said a number of other games were also already in development also.
Apple, meanwhile, named another game due for the release - the internally developed Touch Fighter, a 3D space shooter, which it said was developed in just two weeks using the SDK.
The news follows speculation a few weeks ago that Apple was upping its games activity - and our own report exclusively revealing that it would remain focused around the iPod, rather than new devices or consoles.
“We’re excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community with potentially thousands of native applications for iPhone and iPod touch,” said Jobs.
“iPhone’s enterprise features combined with its revolutionary Multi-Touch user interface and advanced software architecture provide the best user experience and the most advanced software platform ever for a mobile device.”
The SDK was revealed at a special event hosted in the US. From today, Mac owners can download the iPhone SDK and run the iPhone Simulator on their Mac. The SDK offers a number of APIs and tools to create applications for the iPod Touch and iPhone.
During the beta phase of the SDK, a selected number of developers wil be accepted into Apple's new iPhone Develoepr Program and offered the ability to get code running natively on iPhones for testing - the program costs $99 (enterprise developers pay $299).
Apple also said that version 2.0 of its touch-screen devices' firmware will add an AppStore to the dashboard, letting developers upload and sell (or distribute for free) their applications, getting 70 per cent of all sales revenue.
An official press statement also boasted comments from EA and Sega bosses backing the games push.
“The animation technology in the iPhone OS enables us to build awesome games,” said John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts. “I think iPhone consumers are going to be blown away by the games we create for this platform."
Simon Jeffery, president and COO, Sega of America added: “The iPhone OS is a robust development platform that will allow Sega to deliver mobile gaming experiences that are truly compelling.
“Using the iPhone’s accelerometer to power a tilt control feature adds a whole new dimension to Super Monkey Ball, and we can’t wait for gamers to try it.”