Lifted iPhone NDA opens the door for conferences, books

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The collective sigh of relief when Apple lifted the iPhone non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which had prevented developers from discussing iPhone programming, came not just from developers, but also from educators, authors, and publishers. With the NDA gone, iPhone-related books can be published, and conferences can be much more detailed—leading to better education.

Publishers and authors who had books written had to shelve them because publishing the material would have broken the guidelines of the NDA. However, with the NDA removed, users can expect to see an abundance of information hitting the market, targeting everyone from developers to end users.

“It was huge having the NDA lifted,” said Bill Dudney, trainer and co-author of the upcoming book iPhone SDK Development (Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2008).

Like many other authors, Dudney had a book written about the iPhone, but couldn’t publish the book without breaking the NDA. Now, Dudney—along with countless others—can bring his product to market. (A quick search for iPhone books on shows a number of titles available for pre-order).

An abundance of books on the market isn’t the only benefit we can expect to see. Conferences will now feature better sessions because speakers and trainers will be able to speak freely about what it takes to make a good iPhone application.

iPhoneDevCamp organizer and co-chair of O’Reilly’s iPhoneLive conference, Raven Zachary said he is excited about what this means for future conferences. Zachary said they have tentatively added an introduction to iPhone development session at the upcoming conference, which is something they couldn’t have done before Apple lifted the NDA.

In previous conferences, speakers would have to talk about Mac development tools and try to relate them to the iPhone, without speaking about the iPhone—a tough task.

The NDA stifled growth in the development community simply because new developers had a limited amount of resources to seek help. Now, Dudney said, trainers can speak freely and actually help attendees with questions they have about developing for the iPhone. With new developers come new applications and innovation, which only helps the platform.

Perhaps not coincidentally, a week after lifting the NDA, Apple announced the iPhone Tech Talk World Tour, a series of free tech talks about the iPhone for developers.  Topics include an introduction to Objective-C and Cocoa Touch, how to integrate the iPhone into an IT environment, submitting your app to the App Store, and iPhone game development

The end result for iPhone users should be a better choice of applications as developers continue to push the envelope of innovation.

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