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Wednesday, October 03, 2007, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Apple working on improvements to Web-based iPhone SDK

Apple is reportedly working on solutions that will help developers gain more exposure for their Web-based iPhone apps, but presently holds no plans to issue a "true" software developers kit (SDK) that would allow for native third-party application development.

Our friends over at Ars are citing what we believe to be a reliable source in saying that the Cupertino-based company is currently working on a handful of updates to Safari and the iPhone that may address some of the more common gripes developers are waging regarding their ability to write useful apps for the touch-screen handset.

"For example, Apple is currently jamming on adding offline storage capabilities to Safari — something that would rival Google Gears in being able to serve up web applications locally without having to access the Internet," Ars writes.

The publication's sources say that the project is entirely geared towards the iPhone, with the goal of making the current WebKit-based iPhone 'SDK' more functional from a developer standpoint, in turn allowing them to produce more user-friendly applications for end users.

Those same sources say that because of this, the SDK will remain web-based, where applications will continue to be based primarily on a mix of HTML, CSS, and AJAX technologies, rather than native Mac OS X APIs.

Still, Ars hints at the distinct possibility that Apple as part of its improvements will offer "more local JavaScript access to useful iPhone functionalities, and developers might eventually also be able to create home screen icons that will point to their (presumably) offline web apps."

As for why Apple continues to block efforts on the part of developers to write more powerful native applications for iPhone, their sources have no concrete explanation. However, once source offered the following quote as part of his theory: "[Steve] Jobs is a control freak and doesn't want people messing with perfection."