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iPhone Development: Greatly Exaggerated

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Jeff brings many of Jon Casasanta’s points down to earth and discovers that, like Mark Twain’s hero, rumours of the death of Mac software have been greatly exaggerated.

Jeff’s main point—the same which leapt immediately to my own mind—is that the most interesting new developer technology is on the Macintosh, not the iPhone. Sure, the iPhone has a more modern user interface setup, all built on top of CoreAnimation for you. That’s just about the limit of it however: the Mac has multi-touch events (NSTouch, anyone?) just like the iPhone, CoreAnimation itself is there, and so much more.

Garbage collection, blocks, and Grand Central Dispatch are all Mac-only (although hopefully the last couple will make an appearance in iPhone OS 4.0? Please?). These are fantastic technologies to play with, and pretty much swung me away from the iPhone. In fact, they’re so important and interesting in so many ways that my forthcoming book, Pro Objective-C for Mac and iPhone, has dramatically more content appropriate to a Macintosh desktop developer than an iPhone developer. There’s just so much more to work with on the Macintosh, even when considering only the Foundation Kit and the runtime.

I don’t doubt that these technologies are going to be made available on the iPhone platform sooner or later; in fact I think it’s inevitable. But they’ll almost always appear on the Macintosh first, so the good Macintosh programmers will be getting the good jobs. Just look at me and Kobo; I didn’t get my position there because I was an iPhone programmer— I got it because I’ve been a Macintosh programmer for many years; I know where the iPhone is now, and I know where it’s likely to be in a few years’ time. So does any Macintosh desktop programmer worth his salt.

So to Jon, Phill and co: as much as you love the iPhone, you ignore the Macintosh at your peril. You owe it to yourselves to learn and work with the newest Macintosh APIs and technologies now, or you’ll be playing catch-up to desktop developers who’ve been refining their arts for a couple of years yet…

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