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Apple tablet wins open source Appceleration

Webdesktopmobile kit hooks into Jobsian fable

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Appcelerator - the Silicon Valley outfit whose open source Titanium platform lets you build desktop and mobile apps with web-happy development tools - has announced that the platform will soon generate native runtimes for "the new Apple tablet."

On Wednesday, Steve Jobs and company will unveil "a major new product," and according to countless reports, this is the long-rumored Apple tablet. Appcelerator CEO Jeff Haynie declined to provide specific information about Titanium's embrace of the as-yet-unannounced tablet - or about the tablet itself. But he did say that Appcelerator would release additional details on Thursday and that Titanium's Apple tablet APIs will arrive "very soon."

He also said that Titantium would provide many of the same APIs it offers for other devices as well as "some new APIs."

Titanium offers a laundry list of desktop and mobile APIs accessible from common web languages, including JavaScript, Python, PHP, and Ruby on Rails. Currently, you can use such languages to build native runtimes for Windows, Linux, and Mac desktops and notebooks; iPhones; and Android handsets. But Appcelerator has particularly high hopes for the fabled Apple tablet.

According to the company's recent poll of Titanium developers, 90 per cent said they planned to develop an app for the Apple tablet over the coming year. This makes the tablet more popular among developers than Blackberry, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile, or Symbian handsets.

Of the 554 developers who responded to the poll, 58 per cent said they were "very interested" in building for the Apple tablet. Only the iPhone and Android scored higher, with 86 per cent and 68 per cent, respectively. The next closest platform was the Blackberry at 21 per cent.

Some developers may be guessing that Apple's device is on the way, but others may know it, after signing NDAs with the Cupertino cult.

The survey also indicates that whereas developers are most interested in building games for the iPhone, their first concern on the Apple tablet is business and productivity apps. "Both business and education apps scored really high," Haynie says. "This device may move much more quickly into the enterprise than the iPhone."

Asked which of the rumored Apple tablet features they planned on tapping, developers were most interested in multi-touch gestures, the new tablet user interface, and multitasking. "People are expecting more multi-touch abilities," Haynie says, "something that comes with a larger screen and better screen resolutions."

Haynie also says he expects other manufacturers to follow Apple's lead by introducing similar tablets of their own. But first things first. ®

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