By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 7, 2008

As predicted, the version of the long-awaited iPhone software developers kit (SDK) being released today is still in beta, or test mode. According to Steve Jobs, the finished software will be shipped to developers as a free software update in June. (See Apple’s press release here.)

These and other details of the so-called iPhone software roadmap were revealed today at an Apple (AAPL) special event on the company’s Cupertino campus.

After several demonstrations of what third-party developers were able to create with only two weeks notice — including a preliminary version of Electronic Arts’ Spore — Jobs spelled out the terms by which iPhone programs will be distributed.

  • The developer picks the price and keeps 70% of the revenue, paid monthly
  • There’s a one-time $99 iPhone developers fee
  • Most developers will pick “free,” says Jobs, and Apple will host their software for free
  • Apple distributes the software on the iTunes store
  • Apple absorbs the credit card and hosting fees
  • There are some apps Apple will not distribute (porn, malware, duh)
  • iPhone update 2.0, due in June, will contain the enterprise support and the SDK
  • iPod touch will also get these features, but for a “nominal” fee to be set in June
  • Kleiner Perkins has created a $100 million iFund to support iPhone developers

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