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Free Stanford course on developing iPhone software

BY DAN STOBER

Want to know how to write programs for the iPhone and iPod touch? Beginning this week, a Stanford computer science class on that buzzworthy topic will be available online to the general public for free.

The 10-week course, iPhone Application Programming, is a hot ticket. It begins today and videos of the classes will be posted at Stanford on iTunes U two days after each class meeting (http://itunes.stanford.edu). Copies of the slides shown in class will be available there as well.

The proliferation of third-party applications for Apple's iPhone has changed the device from a popular cell phone to a miniature computer. The Apple App Store offers more than 25,000 titles, dealing with everything from maps to business tools, games, photography, fishing and restaurant recommendations based on your location.

"There's a lot of interest in the iPhone," said Brent Izutsu, Stanford's project manager for Stanford on iTunes U. "This course provides an excellent opportunity for us to show the breadth and depth of our curriculum and the innovation of our students."

There are applications that can turn your iPhone into a musical instrument and one that will measure G-forces on your body as you steer your car through a corner. Snap a photo of the cover of almost any book, CD, DVD or video game and—with the right software—get links to ratings and reviews. According to Apple, the download count from its App Store has passed the 800 million mark.

Online viewers of the Stanford course will see the same lectures as the on-campus students, but will not receive credit for the course (http://cs193p.stanford.edu). Some of the student-developed apps from the fall-quarter class, such as the Chinese-English dictionary Qingwen, are available at the iTunes store.

"For Stanford, working with Apple allowed us to focus our energy on identifying and capturing great content while Apple provided us the technology to distribute it globally," Izutsu said.

The Department of Computer Science is part of the Stanford School of Engineering.