Apple is promising third-party applications for iPhone and iPod Touch users as early as June, after releasing its final SDK (software development kit) to developers.
Steve Jobs said at the SDK launch (6 March) that the company would introduce iPhone Software Update 2.0 in late June, which will offer support for use and acquisition of third party apps, along with a series of enterprise features demonstrated at the launch.
These include support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide secure, over-the-air push email, (as predicted), plus contacts and calendars, remote wipe and the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to private corporate networks.
"In just a few months, every iPhone user will have everything you saw today, as a free update," said Jobs. "Now, we account the iPod Touch a little bit different, so there will be a nominal charge for that update, but otherwise it will be exactly the same as the iPhone."
iPhone developers can get stuck in immediately, with the company having already released the iPhone SDK (software development kit) to developers eager to begin building next-generation mobile applications.
"We think a lot of people are going to want to become an iPhone developer. It's really easy. Go to our website and download our SDK for free. Run the simulator on your Mac. You can join the iPhone developer programme if you want to run the app on an iPhone or iPod Touch, and distribute your app. To join the developer programme costs $99 [£50]."
Industry watchers note that June currently appears the most likely launch point for another v.2.0 product, with rumours suggesting Apple will introduce the next-generation 3G-capable iPhone that month.
If industry watchers are right, iPhone 2.0 users should be able to browse and buy applications using the device from wherever they happen to be, using Wi-Fi or 3G.