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Apple prepares iPhone WebApp catalogue

While secretly developing real applications

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Apple is about to launch a consolidation portal hosting WebApps for its glorified slates, the iPhone and iTouch, whilst developing proper applications with Electronic Arts and others.

WebApps are web pages using AJAX as an application environment: for the moment they have to be re-downloaded each time you want to use them, but the catalogue about to be launched by Apple will include Remote Buddy (for remote controlling your Mac), Solitaire and a Nutrition Database as well as a WebApp launcher called iHome.

These applications are already turning up in Apple's "recent downloads" RSS feed, though the web page they link to isn't there yet.

Meanwhile 9to5 Mac reports that Apple is working with Electronic Arts, among others, to develop native applications for the iPhone and iTouch, to be sold through the iTunes store.

When the iPhone was launched Apple proudly announced there was no reason to have a native SDK, as WebApps could do anything, but the popularity of the few applications which can be installed on unlocked iPhones may have driven them to change their approach.

9to5 Mac believes Apple will start selling authorised applications, while still locking down the devices and only releasing the SDK to companies they have close developer relationships with, but they also note that any increase in SDK availability is only going to make the iPhone (and iTouch) easier to crack open for the installation of unapproved applications.

This could all work very nicely for Apple - hackers and the braver customers crack open their slates to install unauthorised applications, while Apple avoids any responsibility for their stability or security. Once an application has proved popular then Apple can authorise one of its mates to develop an authorised version, and sell it through iTunes. ®

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