Everything we’re seeing today suggests that the iPhone will be a closed platform, unable to install new applications. I’ve heard rumors that it will be upwards of 18 months before developers are allowed to make applications for the iPhone, and that may send a susurrus through the developer community as the ideas for mobile applications are back-burnered. This may send a wave of frustration through many potential customers as they see the iPhone as a dead-end.
This is probably not as bad as many people thing it will be.
For one, you have a fully capable web browser. It’s Safari, afterall, built to be fully operable much like the Safari you’d normally use to upload photos to Flickr, or work with BaseCamp & Backpack, or operate any of a nearly infinite number of CMS systems and other blog-like interfaces. Filemaker Pro is extensible via the web, and you can make that a secure interaction in Safari. Since it’s got the web, you’re not tied into Google Maps, Yahoo Maps or any other Lazy-Sunday-mentioned mapping client will be fully operable on the new iPhone.
So, in that there aren’t, or won’t initially be, standalone applications for the iPhone, yes, many developers are currently feeling disappointed. But think of it this way: if you can encapsulate that application in HTML or AJAX or any number of other web technologies, your users will be able to use it on the iPhone. Not shabby.