I made this prediction a few weeks ago on some other blogs comment thread but I figured I should come out with it here as well.
Way back in September Erica Sadun wrote a post on the Unofficial Apple Weblog talking about how she was able to get some Macintosh Dashboard widgets running on the iPhone. If you also remember back to when the iPhone was first announced when Steve got to the part about the different widgets available for the iPhone he made it seem like more were coming.
So here is my prediction, there will be two ways that you can get applications onto the iPhone, the first way will be how everyone has assumed since we found out there was going to be an SDK, through iTunes. Developers will have to sell their application through iTunes for a price Apple sets, but the developers will be able to take advantage of many more of the iPhone’s features. The next way (which is my personal prediction) is that you will be able to install dashboard widgets on your iPhone. This may not be a drop dead simple, any widget can be added to the iPhone kinda thing, it might mean that developers of the widgets will have to keep the iPhone in mind and maybe even “iPhone enable” the widget, but after the widget is developed and installed on a users computer iTunes will give you a list of “iPhone enabled” widgets that you can have working on your iPhone.
This will limit what the developers who can’t get approval from Apple can do without leaving them completely out in the cold.
I’m not a developer and don’t know what impact this would really have on developers but in my eyes this would seem like a good way for Apple to “open up” the iPhone without having to give out all of the functionality to every Tom, Dick, and Harry developer.