I recently received some comments about the Apple iPhone from Action Engine CEO Scott Silk... I aksed if he'd like to elaborate on his detailed comments to provide some of his thoughts about the bundled mapping application and hiw take on what application developers can expect from this new platform. Silk provides the following:
The mapping application is one feature of the iPhone that is taking center stage in their marketing campaigns. By integrating city guide search features directly into the maps they have made the service very intuitive, logically presenting information in a format that the consumer can really benefit from. Keeping with this 'integration' theme, consumers can click on points of interest in the maps to view information or even place a phone call to the place they are searching for.
Unfortunately, however, the iPhone's mapping application hasn't incorporated any of the location-based services that could really make it stand out from the pack. We built a service for one of our customer's overseas that used global positioning to draw maps from one friend to another. Having a feature like that incorporated into the next version of the iPhone could really make it a fun and useful service for consumers that taps into the hot social networking market.
Application Development Environment:
Apple lets you build web-based services but if usability is priority #1 for them then they should understand that the limitations of the mobile web make on-device applications a much better alternative for consumers. The wait times and dropped connections found when using browser-based mobile applications make the experience of searching for content simply unacceptable for today's busy consumer.
Why stifle creativity by closing off the downloadable application opportunity to developers? This will only prevent iPhone owners from personalizing their home screens with lots of interesting widgets that are developed by third parties. Many of the early adopters of mobile data services have already become loyal followers of their favorite Symbian, Java, BREW, and Windows Mobile powered applications and it is disappointing that Apple's approach is to prevent them from bringing those applications with them over to the iPhone. I'm hopeful that Apple will enable more offline applications by providing real access to the OSX platform in future releases. See all of Silk's take on the iPhone in this submission at lbszone