You know that scene at the end of The Usual Suspects when elements of the plot that were right in front of you the whole time are suddenly revealed right in front of you? That's how I felt when I watched Apple's iPhone SDK roadmap announcement on Thursday. As the event unfolded, I could suddenly see why Apple has been making the choices it has made for the past several years. I could suddenly see the strategy of this secretive company laid out perfectly clearly. Everything suddenly made sense.
I haven't seen anything in the mainstream press yet to indicate that any publications or analysts understand what happened. There are a few bloggers who seem to get it. And most of the posters in this thread at Google Finance seem to understand. I'm not sure where the big boys are right now, but they seem utterly clueless. Maybe because they truly are clueless about Apple; how anyone could follow Apple closely over the past five years or so and still come to the conclusion that the announcement was about iPhone software is beyond me. It defies belief. Some of the follow-up stories such as RIM, Apple borrow from each other's playbook are almost embarrassing in their lack of understanding.
The one comment I've seen that perfectly sums it up is from "Ozman" at Fake Steve's site: That sound you just heard was over half the valley realizing that there pants are around their ankles, and Steve is already in his car on his way home.
Remember that the iPhone SDK is not just for the iPhone, but the iPod (Touch) as well. Remember too that the iPhone is not a phone. It is a mobile computer that happens to have an "always on" data connection and it happens to be able to make and receive phone calls. You also need to understand that the iPhone/iPod Touch run the proven Mac OS X -- a computer platform. And that they are mobile computers. In your pocket. Did you hear John Doerr say that this will be a bigger platform than the personal computer?
Apple has put in motion what may prove to be an unstoppable circular, recursive business model. This SDK was the missing piece (or at least one of the missing pieces because there may be more to come).
If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me lay out some of it for you. Because it's recursive, I can start anywhere in my description. But it's getting late and I'll do that tomorrow. Sorry!