Apple to expand iPhone features

March 17, 2009 7:29:14 PM PDT
Apple is preparing to release a major upgrade of its iPhone operating system. Developers who make iPhone applications see it as a big money-making opportunity.

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Apple has sold 17 million iPhones. But here's the staggering number -- 800 million applications have been downloaded for it in just eight months.

Developers gathered at Apple on Tuesday to check out the newest iPhone operating system, called 3.0. It promises to unleash a new flood of games, services, and productivity tools.

"Individuals who are really looking at the next generation smart phones I think have to take the iPhone even more seriously," said Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies.

Serious money can be made by creating iPhone applications. That is why big companies like Electronic Arts make games for the iPhone.

It is close to making 29-year-old Steve Demeter a millionaire. He created a game called Trism in his spare time.

"I would get home from work at 5 p.m., code 'til 5 a.m., sleep 'til 8 a.m., and then go into work," said Demeter. "I went nuts a couple times."

Trism sells for $2.99. Demeter says revenue was $250,000 in the past two months.

"You have guys that have made apps that nobody would have thought possible, and I think with all these new features, you're going to see a whole other slew of that," said Demeter.

But it's not just fun and games. Johnson & Johnson's Lifescan is helping diabetics monitor their blood glucose levels and determine insulin dosage on the iPhone.

"We will continue to create a world without limits for people with diabetes by partnering with Apple and using the new SDK," said Anita Mathew with Johnson & Johnson Lifescan.

An SDK is a software developer's kit -- the tools to create applications.

Stanford Professor Ge Wang is using the iPhone to allow anyone to create music. His first application, Ocarina, was a top seller. Now he is preparing to release Leaf Trombone World Stage.

The 3.0 software will be available this summer. For owners of 3G iPhones, it will be a free download. For owners of the iPod Touch, it will be a $9.95 upgrade.

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