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Apple to launch official iPhone Web applications directory

Apple as early as Wednesday is expected to launch as part of its website a directory of official Web 2.0-based iPhone applications, AppleInsider has been told.

One developer familiar with the matter, who asked to remain anonymous, said Apple representatives have been tracking down authors of Web-based iPhone apps and asking them to submit official screenshots, icons, web addresses and descriptions of their applications to the company.

The submission processes is said to be very similar to that required of developers who submit their Dashboard widgets to Apple's official Dashboard downloads directory. In an effort to keep the initiative hush-hush, Apple has also reportedly 'sworn' these developers 'to secrecy.'

This latest move by the Cupertino-based company suggests that — at least for the time being — it is sticking to its guns regarding third party application development for its touch-screen handset — mainly that it discourages native application development in favor of Web-based applications that do not pose a threat to the stability of the iPhone operating system in general.

The move also appears to fall in line with recent claims by ArsTechnica, which last week cited sources in saying that Apple was 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.

While the report suggested that Web app developers might eventually be able to create iPhone home screen icons that will point to their offline web apps, Apple could presumably also include a new home screen icon as part of a future iPhone software update that would jump users to its official directory of online applications.