There’s growing speculation among Apple (AAPL) watchers that the iPhone software developer’s kit (SDK) that Steve Jobs said he hoped to have ready before the end of February — and is the headliner of the “special event” scheduled for March 6 — may still be in beta and might not arrive until the World Wide Developer’s Conference some time in June.
This would be a surprise, although probably not the “element of surprise” that COO Tim Cook invoked when he declined to answer questions about the SDK at Wednesday’s Goldman Sachs symposium. (see here)
What’s the source of this speculation? Some of it is pure gossip, like the item the usually reliable Erica Sadun at TUAW passed along earlier this month:
Some of it seems to be coming, albeit second-hand, from programmers who actually laid hands on preliminary versions of the SDK, like this report in MacRumors Thursday (pointing out an item in the Italian website
Some of it is just tea-leaf reading, like Ted Landau’s close scrutiny of Apple’s iPhone Software Roadmap invitation in The Mac Observer.
Some of it is Fake Steve Jobs spinning fiction, as he usually does, but often around a kernel of truth:
Whatever SDK beta meme’s provenance, some investors have already figured it into their planning. The smart money at TMO‘s Apple Finance Board is betting that come March 6, as Tommo_UK puts it, …
UPDATE: One more datapoint. Jeremy Horwitz at iLounge, citing unnamed “sources familiar” with Apple’s SDK plans, has published an authoritative-sounding rundown of how Apple plans to restrict third-party developers writing apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. (Apple would have to approve all apps, for example, and would prevent interfacing directly with dock-based accessories.) He adds that his sources say this about what’s coming next week:
UPDATE 2.0: Apple released beta version of its SDK today. The final release is due in June. See here.