In all of the major announcement that hit during Apple's software development kit (SDK) meeting today, it's easy to overlook what may have been the most important aspect—the SDK itself. Formerly Apple's internal development tools, the software package is being released to the entire public for no charge starting today. It doesn't need an expensive or hard to acquire development kit. You don't need to pitch Sony on why you're worthy for a dev kit during times of shortages.
Hell, you don't even need an iPhone (though it's recommended). All you need is an OSX based Mac and, you know, a bit of genius and a lot of work ethic. (Apparently you can actually develop right on the iPhone as well...but who knows how well that'll work.)
So you're thinking, "But I want to sell my product on their Apple Store. That'll cost me a tonne and be impossible". Nope, it won't be either of those things.
$US 99 per year is all it costs for a developer to post an unlimited number of titles to iTunes on their own schedule. (Advanced business programming runs up to $US 299 per year). If developers feel like setting a price for their content, Apple takes 30% of the sales. (Boy, that number sounds vaguely reminiscent of Microsoft's deal for XBLA developers before they were rumored to hike their cut).
While we're talking money, Apple has a $US 100,000,000 iFund. Think of it as grants that will go to seed software development products. Surely, at least a small chunk of that will entice up and coming game designers.
As for Apple's screening process, so far it only seems that extreme content (like porn) will be banned from the applications store. Obviously there are implications here—how violent/graphic can game developers make their content?
To that, we still have no answer.
But so far, we really like what we're hearing. Because today, Apple has made ever developer into a publisher for the most buzzed about products in the consumer electronics industry.
iPhone SDK Available Today for Free, $US 99 to Publish Your Apps [Gizmodo AU]