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10/11/2007
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Apple Launches iPhone Web Apps Directory

The featured Web software includes a Facebook application that connects the iPhone to friends' pages, allowing users to upload and share photos, or send and receive messages.

Apple on Thursday launched an online directory of more than 200 Web applications built to run in the iPhone's Safari browser.

The applications are organized in categories such as the most recent viewed, most popular, alphabetical and staff picks. The featured Web software on Thursday was a Facebook application that connects the iPhone to the popular social network in order to visits friends' pages, upload and share photos, or send and receive messages.

Other software listed as staff picks include a puzzle game called Sudoku, Fandango and MovieTickets.com applications for buying movie tickets, mobile dictionaries of translation for English, French, Spanish and German; and WeatherBug for checking on the local weather anywhere in the world. The directory provides a URL for each of the applications to access the service.

During Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June in San Francisco, chief executive Steve Jobs disappointed many developers by announcing that the company would only support the making of applications to run in the browser and not directly on the iPhone's operating system.

While Jobs claimed Web applications built using Web 2.0 technologies such as Ajax would behave like native apps on the iPhone, developers have said that having access to the operating system makes it possible to build software with many more capabilities than a Web 2.0 application. To do that, however, they would need a software development kit from Apple. The company does not plan to offer an SDK for the iPhone.

Apple's approach is far different from Microsoft's. The latter company provides application-programming interfaces for developers building software for the Windows Mobile platform used in smart phones and other handheld devices.

Apple, on the other hand, has chosen to keep tight control of the iPhone's operating system, arguing that it's the best strategy to maintain security and high performance. Ajax applications built for the iPhone would run in a sandbox separate from the device's operating system to keep hackers out.

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