A startup has found a way to enable Windows-based iPhone development while remaining within the confines of Apple’s SDK licensing.

iPhone developers must use the iPhone SDK, which only installs on Mac OS, according to its license. Apple has forbidden cross-compilers, and the SDK’s APIs must be used in the manner prescribed by Apple.

Further, applications must be originally written in C, C++, JavaScript or Objective-C, according to Apple.

Zimusoft, a Texas-based startup that specializes in simulation technology, introduced yesterday DragonFireSDK. DragonFireSDK consists of a cross-platform library for C/C++, as well as an iPhone simulator. Those technologies enable iPhone development in Windows.

The company has previously built simulators for Nokia, Samsung and Texas Instruments devices.

Developers can write applications in C/C++ using Visual Studio or Visual Studio Express. An on-screen simulator shows their applications running. At present, DragonFireSDK targets game developers; an enterprise edition will ship in the fall.

That version of DragonFireSDK will feature database support, as well as more drag-and-drop functionality and options for displaying text and graphics, said Zimusoft CEO David Edwards.

DragonFireSDK gets around Apple’s requirement that developers write their application using makes by packaging applications and handling their submissions to Apple’s App Store on behalf of its customers. Developers submit their applications to Zimusoft after developing and testing on Windows.

“Apple has been criticized for their restrictions, but they have not excluded us, nor have they excluded cross-platform tools such as OpenGL and OpenAudio,” Edwards said.

Pricing for DragonFireSDK is US$99 and includes one iTunes App bundling. Additional bundles are $10 each. Ten test builds are included, which developers may drag and drop into iTunes to install on their devices, Edwards explained.

“People can write anything they want with the SDK as it sits right now, but the tool set is really catered toward games,” Edwards said. The cost is low enough for “weekend projects,” he added.