If you were wondering whether the iPhone software development kit would end the unofficial third-party development craze, stop wondering.
O'Reilly, one of the most well-known publishers of technology primers for professionals, has released a book on developing applications for a jailbroken iPhone. iPhone Open Application Development, written by Jonathan Zdziarski, was spotted by dozens of iPhone aficionados Tuesday. Chapter 1? "Breaking Into and Setting Up the iPhone."
Zdziarski was among the first hackers to take aim at the iPhone last year in light of Apple's Web-only application policy, and his book is essentially a how-to guide for using the "unofficial" iPhone SDK to create applications. Apple, of course, has started to outline its own vision of how applications should be created for the iPhone, giving developers two options for their projects.
There's a group of developers, of an uncertain size, who feel that Apple's SDK restricts their freedom to develop creative applications for the iPhone. Those folks will likely be all over this book. The book itself appears to be a summation of a lot of the iPhone jailbreaking and development techniques that are easy to find online, but condensed into one handy reference guide.
Once the official SDK is released in June, it will be interesting to watch how unofficial iPhone development progresses. Apple's restrictions have some carrots attached, such as a powerful distribution vehicle in iTunes and the App Store, which will definitely attract those trying to make a living off the iPhone.
But those who are trying to circumvent Apple's restrictions by developing unlocking software, music players, or applications unlikely to sit well with Apple, will need a handbook.