Yeah, so it probably would have been nicer if, at the 2007 WWDC Keynote, Steve Jobs had just come out and said that there isn’t going to be a third-party SDK for the iPhone, rather than spinning a bunch of fluff about the Web being the SDK. It sounds like there won’t be a Flash player either, so unless the iPhone comes with a really great Java stack, it looks like DHTML or nothing.

While this bodes poorly for the prospects of a handheld Crysis, there’s no reason why Ajax couldn’t be used to deliver something reasonable. If Settlers of Catan and Uno can find audiences on Xbox Live Arcade, then there’s clearly a market for turn-based games with just a little bit of animation — just the type of stuff Ajax is good at delivering. Seriously, how awesome would it be to play Diplomacy on your phone?

It’s quite possible that I’ve just been drinking the Web 2.0 Kool-Aid, and it’s true that there don’t seem to be any decent DHTML-based games out there at the moment. On the other hand, there are plenty of browser-based games that run on server-side engines, and social sites like I’minlikewithyou are already building very gamey interfaces using Ajax. Maybe we just need a little push to bring it all together — something like, say, a popular mobile device that only supports the Web as its development platform?

Of course, it’s going to take me months of searching and a second job before I can find or afford an iPhone of my own, so it’s all moot anyway. Oh well; I’m sure it’ll have lots of bugs and terrible battery life. (Hey, these sour grapes taste even better when you pick them early!)