Apple wants to democratize iOS development

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Typically, if you want to develop an application for the iPhone or iPad (iOS) you need to be a programmer. If you're not a programmer, your only other option is to hire a developer.

But a new Apple patent application may soon change all that.

Titled "Content Configuration for Device Platforms," the application outlines an authoring tool that would allow users to create content without needing to understand computer code.

The application also discusses a potential "WYSIWYG" programming platform with a graphics-based UI that would allow mainstream users to build apps in a visual environment.

It certainly seems like a plausible idea, as the concept behind Apple's patent app is somewhat similar to graphic-powered HTML editors that many are familiar with from blogs and website building. However, Apple does note that the software would have limited capabilities and might still require users to make hands-on edits to some code such as cascading style sheets or CSS.

The application details a potential feature that would allow not only the development of apps with graphics that work on the iPhone and iPad, but graphics compatible with multiple screen sizes and various resolutions - including TVs and computers. From what I can tell, the nascent iOS development platform is basically a one-stop shop to code a single app capable of running across multiple devices.

"Due to such diverse devices having such diverse capabilities, content must now be created not only once, but often several times so that it can be configured for multiple device types," the filing reads. "This development has introduced a new barrier to content creation and delivery."

If implemented, Apple's patent application could usher in a new era of user-designed apps, although most tech savvy users would probably remain somewhat wary over the quality of such software.