First From The Gate Isn?t Necessarily Best…

On June 22, 2008

I’m looking forward to the release of the 3G iPhone in just a few weeks but that’s not what I’m most excited about. You see, ten months after getting my first generation iPhone I still love the device. To be honest, if the 3G weren’t coming until the fall or some time in 2009 I would be perfectly happy continuing to use my current iPhone. It is that good.

Don’t get me wrong- so long as it is available, I will be getting a 3G on July 11th. (Actually I will be getting two since my wife Elana finally broke down and agreed to drop her Treo and get an iPhone! FINALLY!!!!!)

No, what I am most looking forward to is the day that the iPhone Firmware 2.0 is released and the AppStore comes online. The 3G iPhone is nice. The 2.0 Firmware and the AppStore are HUGE!

When the applications begin to flow they will transform the iPhone and the iPod Touch into almost entirely new devices. Their power and use will be limited only by the creativity of the developers (and, of course, the good graces of Steve and Co.)

Dimitri and I started this blog because we truly believe that the Apple-sanctioned 3rd party applications coming to the iPhone will change the face of mobile computing as we know it. That will be the revolution. The 3G iPhone is the icing.

Thus far the announcements seem to reinforce our initial belief. Each and every day we are hearing announcements of upcoming applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Some are old favorites that have been ported to the new OS X iPhone platform. Others are entirely new and make imaginative use of the iPhone’s beautiful touch screen and the accelerometer.

All this goes to indicate that on day one of the AppStore we are going to see the most mind blowing applications released… Right?  Wrong!

While on day one we will see SOME mind blowing applications released, some of the best and/or most powerful applications won’t be there. Not yet, anyway.

Case In Point- Pocket Informant from WebIS.

Pocket Informant is an amazing productivity application that has a tremendous following among Windows Mobile users. It is a personal information management tool of choice for individuals whose schedules are full and constantly changing and whose tasks seem to flow endlessly day after day.

Pocket Informant was among the very first pieces of software I loaded on to each and every new Windows Mobile device I got (and there were quite a few). It was truly a lifesaver for someone who tends to be as disorganized as me.
So will Pocket Informant be coming to the iPhone via that AppStore? Yes… BUT…

A blog post by Alex Kac, Founder and CEO of WebIShad this to offer yesterday-

Building an app like Pocket Informant for a new platform isn’t as easy as just writing some views and dialogs for editing, though it may seem that way. Its a huge effort that in a normal development cycle to achieve feature parity would take about 2 years of work. On WinMobile we’ve had eight years of development to get where are – building upon each release bit by bit. Things like our Gridview were developed 5 years ago to provide us with an extremely powerful and flexible layout engine that supported multiple lines of text, styling, images, and so on. But it took several years to optimize it, give it more power (like custom drawn cells), per-pixel scrolling, touch scrolling, etc.. Same with our editors. And so on.

He goes on to say-
So my point in what you’ll see in PI for iPhone and BB is to help understand a few things:
1) Its takes awhile to write good software. Especially software that you can’t "port" because of its dependency on the core OS
2) There will not be feature parity, though our aim is to bring that sooner than later
Don’t expect releases at the earliest possible date. On the iPhone, for example, the SDK changed dramatically in some of the betas. When the entire tool set and infrastructure you’re working on changes under you, you’ve just lost a few weeks to reconfigure.

There will be a version of Pocket Informant for the iPhone and iPodTouch. It will be powerful. It will be a welcome change from the ridiculously anemic PIMofferings on the current iPhone.
It will won’t be coming on Day1 of the AppStore.
It won’t arrive on Day 2, either.
It may not even be there on days 3, 4 , 5 etc…

It is coming, but we are all going to have to wait. It turns out that while a whole lot of software will be available at the launch of the AppStore, some of the best is going to take a little while longer.