Want to learn all about the iPhone? Then your local college or university might just be the place to do it. Last week, Apple launched the iPhone Developer University Program, a free initiative that aims to help higher education institutions who want to teach development for the iPhone and iPod touch.
Given that teaching courses on iPhone development would likely involve in-depth discussions of the iPhone's capabilities and programming frameworks, the initiative has raised both eyebrows and questions among existing iPhone developers in regards to Apple's iPhone development non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
At present, the NDA prevents iPhone developers from discussing the technical ins and outs of programming for the iPhone, even with other application developers who are also bound by the NDA. It's unknown whether Apple will create a separate agreement for the university program that specifically permits discussion or whether the current NDA will be amended in some way to take this into account. Many developers are certainly hoping for the latter, as criticism of the NDA has become vocal and colorful since the software development kit first became available.
The program, available to accredited institutions in the US, allows teachers to create iPhone developer teams of up to 200 students who can develop, test, debug, and distribute applications amongst themselves or even via the App Store. They'll be able to take advantage of all the tools that iPhone developers have access to, including the iPhone SDK and iPhone Dev Center resources.
Apple's standard developer program costs $99 if you want to test applications on a device, but the university program is free and confers the same benefits; Apple also has a $299 Enterprise Development program for corporations over 500 people that wish to develop their own in-house applications. In order to enroll in the university program, the application form must be completed by someone who has the legal authority to make such an agreement on behalf of the university. Apple will be authenticating the existence and identity of all applicants and their institutions.