When Steve Jobs announced, shortly before the iPhone went on sale, that programmers wouldn't be able to write new programs for it, there was much muttering. "It's a computer, for the love of Mike," went the refrain. "It runs Mac OS X! Let us write new programs!"
Apple says it's only trying to preserve the stability of the phone and of the AT&T network. But the company decided to allow programmers one little bit of freedom: They could write special Web-based programs tailored for the iPhone.
These programs will never show up as icons on your Home screen, and you can get to them only when you're online, but still, the creativity and usefulness out there is amazing. Hundreds of Web-based programs—most of them free—let you pull down movie listings, the nearest place to get cheap gas, the latest headlines, and so on. You can even connect to rudimentary instant-messenger programs to enhance your iPhone experience.
Those are just the software add-ons. There's also a world of accessories for the outside of the iPhone: cases, headsets, chargers, and other goodies. This chapter gives you a sampling of both kinds of add-ons and suggests where you can go to find out what's new in iPhone Web apps and gear.
Thanks to the efforts of creative programmers who got started even before the phone hit the stores, the iPhone has the potential to run thousands of programs in its wee Web browser.
Some iPhone Web applications look like Mac OS X or ...