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No Third-party Apps on iPhone Says Jobs 778

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the hack-something-else dept.
wyldeone writes "In an interview with the New York Times, Steve Jobs confirms reports that the recently-announced iPhone will not allow third party applications to be installed. According to Jobs, 'These are devices that need to work, and you can't do that if you load any software on them.' In a similar vein, Jobs said in a MSNBC article that, 'Cingular doesn't want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.'"
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No Third-party Apps on iPhone Says Jobs

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  • Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wyldeone (785673) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:15AM (#17569900) Homepage Journal
    Right. So Sprint's network is going down every day because of some poorly written application on my Treo? This kind of absurd argument merely clouds the issues. This is about Jobs' control issues, not anything technical. I would be fine if they just released an sdk saying, essentially, anyone who wants to install 3rd party applications is on their own. The best, most stable programs developed could be accepted into Apple's Special Developer Program, which would make "official" releases. I have a problem with the status quo as described by Jobs (i.e., where only "approved" applications make it onto the iPhone) because it leaves the fate of potentially very useful applications to the political realities of Apple's relationship with Cingular (this means no VoIP). On my Treo, however, (if it supported WiFi, that is) there would be no way for Sprint or any carrier to stop me from installing a VoIP application; or, more dangerously, an application that allows me to convert an mp3 into a ringtone with out shelling out something ridiculous for the cell phone company's ringtones. It's these sort of applications that are made completely impossible through Jobs' program, and the biggest flaw with it. Another major flaw is that this sort of thing usually cuts out the small timers. PDA programs do not take an enormous amount development effort, therefore making them perfect for small developers; it's one of the few environments left where big development studios don't have a huge advantage. However, any sort of program (which likely would have a closed, expensive development platform as opposed to the cheap, open PalmOS and Windows Mobile SDKs) would almost certainly be prohibitively priced to anyone but these large development houses. In any case, much of the glamor of the iPhone has worn off since it has become clear that third-party applications were out. The device itself is beautiful, but it is the unexpected uses that make these devices so powerful and useful. On my Treo, I control my IR utilities using universal remote software, I have an instant-messaging client, a voice-activated launcher. All applications developed by third-parties and probably uses of the phone unexpected by Palm. I can only hope that Jobs realizes that he does not see perfectly into the minds of all consumers and does not know what we all want or need.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 2ms (232331)
      The Treo originated as a PDA (ie a device/miniature PC designed for installing 3rd party applications) that acquired phone functionality. This is not the case with the iPhone. Neither cell phones nor the iPod were conceived for the purpose of being able to install 3rd party applications. Some phones developed that capability, but if anything (Microsoft phone for example), they've proven more that the capability definately does compromise the phone aspects.

      I have no interest in a PDA phone and neither do
      • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:39AM (#17570092) Homepage Journal
        > nor the iPod were conceived for the purpose of being able to install 3rd party applications

        The iPod is pretty neat straight out of Apple, but the true possibilities of the device aren't really reached. Take a look at the Rockbox firmware for iPods -- it adds tons of features that Apple said were "technically impossible" or that "nobody wants". Right now I'm listening to a gapless FLAC album with a bit of crossfeed, and it's wonderful. Fuck you, Jobs. You don't know what I want. Stop telling me what to do!

        With respect to phones, I think the iPhone is going to be a flop. When it's all said and done, it's a $3000 phone (can't get one without 2 years of Cingular's worthless service) that plays mp3s and has a calendar with pixmaps borrowed from OS X.

        I'm holding out for Trolltech's Greenphone. It runs Linux, and the point is openness... you can recompile the kernel if you want! Paired with KDE 4, I think it's going to blow the iPhone out of the water... at least for people that want a useful, hackable mini-computer and not a $3000 status symbol.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jonwil (467024)
          There is also OpenMoko.

          • Re:Right... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:19AM (#17571068)
            Links: OpenMoko [wikipedia.org]; pics and details [openmoko.com]. It will be out soon, at $350. Basically it's a GTK+-based smartphone (as opposed to the Greenphone which is Qt).

            2007 looks like an interesting year for smartphones: the iPhone on the one hand, and OpenMoko and Greenphone for open Linux-based platforms on the other.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

          The iPod is pretty neat straight out of Apple, but the true possibilities of the device aren't really reached. Take a look at the Rockbox firmware for iPods -- it adds tons of features that Apple said were "technically impossible" or that "nobody wants". Right now I'm listening to a gapless FLAC album with a bit of crossfeed, and it's wonderful. Fuck you, Jobs. You don't know what I want. Stop telling me what to do!

          With respect to phones, I think the iPhone is going to be a flop.

          I would tend to agree with that. I use my phone for all sorts of stuff other than just making calls. For example I use it to keep track of my expenses and if this iPhone doesn't have that functionality I can't add it by going to a 3rd party software vendor like I did with my Nokia phone. I'm pretty sure that later on Apple will back down on this point. Third party software is simply to useful to customers so eventually the iPhone will either be a flop or Apple will allow third party software but require it

          • Re:Right... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:01AM (#17571266) Homepage
            The iPhone is aimed squarely at the US market. They'd have to make an iPhone 2 to sell it in Europe anyway.. No 3G, No MMS, Mediocre Camera, Camera on wrong side of phone (so you can't make video calls)..

            So expect an iPhone 2 in about 12 months time with these features if they want to launch in the Europe/Asia (which is a larger market than the US by a long way so they'd be stupid not to).

            (The Apple TV is also aimed squarely at the US market also, given that itunes doesn't support video downloads in any other country (and 'a selection of pixar short films' does *not* count) - sensing a pattern here...)
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Lars T. (470328)

              (The Apple TV is also aimed squarely at the US market also, given that itunes doesn't support video downloads in any other country (and 'a selection of pixar short films' does *not* count) - sensing a pattern here...)
              The head of Apple Germany has said in (at least) two interview they will start to offer movies and TV shows in 2007.
          • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by complete loony (663508) <Jeremy.LakemanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:02AM (#17572436)
            You guys all seem to be forgetting the browser on the iPhone... Couldn't you use and / or write a 3rd party AJAX application? What about JAVA? Yeah, I know you wouldn't get direct access to the hardware, but there's still a ton of stuff you can do.
        • Re:Right... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pesc (147035) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:16AM (#17570680)
          I'm holding out for Trolltech's Greenphone. It runs Linux, and the point is openness... you can recompile the kernel if you want! Paired with KDE 4, I think it's going to blow the iPhone out of the water

          Well, I have a Trolltech Greenphone on my desk because we develop software for it. And while it is hackable, Linux based, and a nice geek gizmo, there is no way I'm going to use it as my primary mobile phone. Teeeeny stuff to hit with the stylus. Lots of buttons that you don't really know what they do. Difficult to enter text. (It's a development platform after all.)

          Personally, I'm using the cheapest Motorola cellphone available (monochrome display, does nothing more than phone and SMS), and I'm holding out for the iPhone to hit Europe. Because I don't WANT to hack a device to use it as a phone/PIM, even if I COULD.
        • Re:Right... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:56AM (#17570914) Journal
          I don't think the iPhone is going to flop because of its closed-ness. It's neat that I can install all manner of junk on my Windows Mobile device, but the main reason to do so is to replace the standard software because it is poorly designed. If Apple can deliver a phone / iPod / PDA device that "just works" and has a good user interface, I could live without the ability to add or replace software on it, And I suspect that there are many consumers like me, who do not want a hackable mini-computer.

          What might kill the phone is its price and lack of features. No GPS, no G3, poor battery life, and a camera with yesterday's specs; so much for being 5 years ahead, Steve. It looks cool, but I'm not paying around $500 for a pretty case and a slick user interface, when my current WM5 phone (with GPS) costs $150 on a cheap 2 year plan.
        • Re:Right... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192) on Friday January 12, 2007 @11:16AM (#17573496) Journal
          Fuck you, Jobs. You don't know what I want. Stop telling me what to do!

          And yet you still bought an iPod. I think that's the kind of "Fuck you" Jobs can live with.
      • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by theurge14 (820596) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:03AM (#17570254)
        Then why did Apple deem it necessary to compare the iPhone to the "usual suspects" of the Treo and other smartphones at the keynote and call it "5 years ahead of anything out there" when apparently the only thing now it has in common with them is it's also a phone?

        So that's it? The iPhone saved space by not having a plastic keyboard? Please tell me after two days after the keynote that's not the only advantage it actually has.
        • Re:Right... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Ath (643782) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:38AM (#17570448)
          "5 years ahead of anything out there"

          Well, because the iPhone will not be available for another 6 months I guess it really is 4 1/2 years ahead of anything out there.

      • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by darkwhite (139802) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:20AM (#17570354)
        Wow. Yours is certainly the most absurd statement I've read this week.

        I mean, FFS. This is Slashdot, and you're glad that the most revolutionary electronic device in years is moronically shackled, and you get modded up? What is this, is your brain terminally fried by the reality distortion field?

        Do you by any chance also believe Vista's DRM stack is good for everyone because it allows us to watch movies in an orderly manner?
    • Re:Right... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kestasjk (933987) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:53AM (#17570174) Homepage
      Basically hackers will have to find their own way to run code on the device, rather than getting a leg up from Apple. It won't take long before YouTube has videos of Linux emulating Newton's OS on one of these.

      Just because he won't officially allow it doesn't mean it won't be done, it just means it won't be commercial (No iJamster).
    • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fnkmaster (89084) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:55AM (#17570202)
      This is only partly about Jobs' control issues. It's also about Cingular's control issues. The wireless carriers are all scared shitless of a device like this - it could actually run a VoIP wifi app, several of which already exist for OS X, and thus leave them on the bad side of convergence. Also ringtones - again a carrier revenue stream.

      So I'd attribute this more to carrier paranoia than to Jobs' control issues.

      In any case, for me this is a deal-breaker. I was in love with this device yesterday. With no third party apps, I'm entirely uninterested until somebody hacks it.
      • Correction (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:29AM (#17570408) Homepage
        The wireless carriers are all scared shitless of a device like this

        The US- wireless carriers are all scared shitless of a device like this.

        Sorry, you just don't have this kind of shit dictated by European phone networks. Phones sold here (with and without plans) have no such restrictions.

        They also don't have any restrictions in uploading your sounds, images, movies or (in case of smartphones) applications.

        They also don't come with criplled Bluetooth stacks or some of the other stunts of which US carriers seem so fond of pulling off.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dunkelfalke (91624)
          hmm? i can install every software i want on my smartphone bougt from a german carrier.
        • Re:Correction (Score:5, Interesting)

          by kalpaha (667921) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:34AM (#17570794)
          Since some have disagreed with the parent's statement, I can say that at least in Finland no carrier does this kind of shit. If you buy a plan that includes a phone, then that may be locked to the carrier, but that's about the extent of limitations we have. In my case, I bought a plan from a smaller carrier, and the phone is not even locked. To me it's incomprehensible that anyone would even do business with a company that screws you like that.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            since some have disagreed with the parent's statement, I can say that at least in Finland no carrier does this kind of shit. If you buy a plan that includes a phone, then that may be locked to the carrier, but that's about the extent of limitations we have. In my case, I bought a plan from a smaller carrier, and the phone is not even locked. To me it's incomprehensible that anyone would even do business with a company that screws you like that.

            Price. Most US carriers offer plans that let you call anywhere
        • Re:Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:58AM (#17571246)
          The Motorola SLVR L7 "with iTunes" I got from Cingular (via Best Buy for $35 vs. Cingular's $150 price) supports all of that stuff you've mentioned out of the box. I can upload and download sounds, images, videos, and applications to and from the phone via USB or Bluetooth quite easily. I can throw an MP3 up there in the audio directory and my phone will let me select it for use as a ringtone if I want. I can use my phone as a wireless Bluetooth modem via its DUN profile, etc.

          The carriers that you're thinking of that restrict all that stuff are Verizon and Sprint (at least the Sprint phone I had), but the GSM providers here like T-Mobile and Cingular seem to be much more open about what you can do with your phones, which is why this iPhone restriction is so strikingly odd IMHO. It just seems natural that you could use third party apps on your horribly expensive iPhone, but they've really reduced the reasons I'd even be interested in it because I saw no instant messaging application for instance.

          What if I want to use Jabber to my private Jabber server? What if I want to view and edit Microsoft Office documents? I saw no way to even view Word docs or Excel spreadsheets on this unlike the Blackberry. This is an overpriced toy, nothing more. Paris Hilton will have one and so will the other materialistic bubbleheads, but until it supports third party apps it couldn't lick a Blackberry or Treo's taint, much less be years ahead of it in functionality.

      • Re:Right... (Score:5, Informative)

        by MojoRilla (591502) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:40AM (#17570466)
        Cingular already features the BlackBerry on their Edge network, and that allows installable apps.

        Nope, this is about Jobs' control issues.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dabraun (626287)
        BS. I can run whatever I want to run, including my own home brew apps, on my Windows Mobile (Audiovox 5600) phone - on Cingular. This is a Cingular approved I bought through Cingular. Jobs is completely fabricating this excuse.
      • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SeaFox (739806) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:39AM (#17570822)
        This is only partly about Jobs' control issues. It's also about Cingular's control issues. The wireless carriers are all scared shitless of a device like this - it could actually run a VoIP wifi app, several of which already exist for OS X, and thus leave them on the bad side of convergence. Also ringtones - again a carrier revenue stream.

        I'd say it has more to do with the trademark suit. Apple can't claim their two devices don't converge if people are able to use the Apple iPhone to do VoIP, which is the only function the Cisco product can do. Right now the iPhone has a laundry list of features and abilities, but VoIP calling is not one of them. So, technically, the Apple iPhone and the Cisco iPhone are not in the same markets.

        If development of the iPhone was opened up, I'd wager the very first third party app would be Skype. With a device that connects to WiFi networks so easily and VoIP, who needs a big bucket of Cingular minutes?

        We still have six months before the device ships, the policy could change depending on how things go in the trademark dispute and the wireless carrier world as well. T-Mobile starts building their 3G network this year, and that will have an impact.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Divebus (860563)

      I feel your pain, developers. I'm just a user but dangling a beauty of a cherry like that with a big padlock on it, I wouldn't expect any less venom on /.

      Fact is that maybe 1 in 5,000-ish people are even capable of writing applications worthy of public consumption. That would be about 60,000 people just in the U.S., many many more worldwide and excludes skript kiddies. That's not much of a market to lose for the sake of security [whatever!]. I've seen some people live through horrible train wrecks with the

  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slashNO@SPAMomnifarious.org> on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:18AM (#17569924) Homepage Journal

    And AT&T didn't want to see their network go down because someone connected an evil non-AT&T phone to it.

    The proper translation of this statement of course is "We don't want anybody do be able to do anything on our network unless we're making money from it apart from the fee we charge for the bandwidth."

    Stupid telecom companies will never learn. They don't want to create a free market of any kind. Anytime they make any protest involving having a free market, they're being rank hypocrites.

    • Actually, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:20AM (#17570350) Homepage
      Actually, no. The proper translation of this statement of course is "Our network security is so poor that we cannot take the risk of anybody connecting to it in a programmatic fashion".

      Openmoko.com.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FroBugg (24957)
      This can't have been a decision by Cingular. They've already got dozens of phones running several different operating systems that all allow third-party apps.

      This is Apple not wanting anyone to play with their ball but trying to shift the blame for a lousy decision.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:20AM (#17569936)
    The word "irony" is way overused, but these words, coming from a guy who started his company with money earned by selling blue boxes to defraud the phone company, belong in irony's fucking dictionary entry.

    I won't buy your phone if I can't write code for it, Steve. I'm sure you're heartbroken. Me and Woz will just be over here in the corner, crying in our beards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Look at it this way - the first guy to figure out how to hack apart the iPhone and make it 'iSquirt' back and forth with no limitations gets to sell this software for 20$ to every schmoe on the block. That's 20 million a year, if Steve-o is correct.

      But it is a race. And it is going to be won by SOMEONE. There is zero chance that phone is not going to get modded. The question is how long it takes for someone to do it properly....
      • by croddy (659025) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:54AM (#17570194)

        I'm not going to spend $450 on a phone that doesn't come with an API, regardless of whether it can be hacked. I'd much rather be running ARM binaries on a Unix-like OS than dealing with stuff like MIDP 1.0 (which doesn't even offer float math), but I'll reward the company that provides me with the interface I need. If I have to void the warranty to run the software I feel like running, I don't have any intention of paying for the experience.

        I'm sure this thing will be useful to someone, somewhere, with only the bundled functionality, but for me, Steve's just announced a really expensive brick.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonwil (467024)
        Making a phone that is difficult to hack is easy.
        Basicly the phone software is digitally signed with a private key only Apple has. Also, any software updates are signed too and verified before they are loaded and run. Unless you can physically desolder or decap the chips and get direct access to the piece of memory containing the public key for the phone in order to replace it with a new one (or disable the checks), it cant be hacked.

        I believe Motorola have some kind of system like this on all their non li
  • by odasnac (570543) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:21AM (#17569944)
    yeah, sure, that's bad and all, but what about 3rd party widgets? i mean, are they *completely* shooting themselves in the foot?
    • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:54AM (#17570178) Journal
      What they probably mean is "no applications unless you pay through the nose to Cingular or Apple for them." And they probably painted themselves in that corner with the price.

      Let's face it, the fact that cell phones so far did less is _not_ because Nokia and others are stupid. Psion alone has quite a lot of experience in making stuff that goes from phones to good PDAs (including some decent office tools, for a PDA) to a sort of a micro-laptop. They figured out by now what the users want, and believe me, the thought of using a touch-screen _did_ occur to them before too. (The Psion 5 did a great job of using both touch screen and keyboard, for example.) Anyone who thinks it took Jobs to show everyone how to scroll a map on a touch screen, needs a bit of a reality check.

      The reason why cell phones were limited devices has to do with cost, power consumption and "how much do we think the market would pay for it" issues. Most of the market wants to get their phone almost for free, and in fact often get some other stuff with it too. Then the contract recoups most of that, but then it means the phone itself can't cost thousands, because even with the contract and fleecing them for ringtones and SMS, there's only so much money you'll have to pay for phones _and_ the telco infrastructure _and_ other operating costs _and_ hopefully make a small profit, or at least not make a big loss.

      So the more money you want a telco to pay to subsidize your phone, the more hope you must give them that they'll actually get that money back one way or another. E.g., you pack an IRC client on it to give them some hope that some idiot kid will rake up a huge phone bill while spending hours on IRC with a crap number pad as a keyboard. Or you give them an exclusivity contract, in which they practically pay you advertising money for a reason for people to switch to their network. That's worth more money, but even that has a limited upper limit. Or you try to lock it down and give them a "see, but they'll have to buy this and that only from you" hope. Which is obviously what Apple is doing here.

      So at the end of the day, that's about how much a traditional phone can cost. That's why you can only pack so much CPU, RAM and everything in it.

      Why the iPhone does more is probably because it costs an arm and a leg to produce. Being launched with an exclusive contract and still be left with a huge price tag anyway already hinted at that, but it's details like these that hint at exactly how huge the price must be. Cingular probably ends up paying a heck of a lot to subsidize Apple's gizmo, and they needed a heck of a reason to do that. Enter the "what if we completely locked it down, so people have to buy _everything_ from you?" factor.
  • by jorghis (1000092) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:23AM (#17569962)
    That argument makes no sense. If a poorly written application running on one mobile phone has the potential to bring down the west coast network then logically a malicous hacker should be able to bring down that same network. Anything a malfunctioning application can do a mean nasty coder can do much more reliably. If there is the possiblity that an application can do that by -accident- then it should be relatively easy for a skilled engineer to do it deliberately.

    It sounds to me like he was just fishing for excuses about why hes not allowing third party apps. It isnt necessarily a bad thing that they arent allowed but that excuse is bogus.
  • by Grail (18233) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:25AM (#17569980) Journal
    What he was saying "no" to is having a plethora of buggy software out there that would endanger the user experience of the phone. I still expect to see non-Apple and non-Cingular developers having access to the tools to build applications for the iPhone. Now it's just a matter of sorting out the protocol (as in "administrative process") for getting the application that I write for my 100 users, installed onto the iPhones that we're going to buy, for the purpose of using them as small tablet computers.

    One easy way is to provide the ability for user-added applications to run with lower privileges (just like they can already under Mac OS X - I can run my own programs as me, but not as "root" or any other user). Though that opens up the avenue for local root escalation vulnerabilities to be exploited.

    Of course, for my immediate needs it would be enough to have some way to scan barcodes and interact with web pages. But then, Steve is pushing the line that it's the phone reinvented, not a tablet PC.
    • by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:18AM (#17570690) Homepage Journal

      What he was saying "no" to is having a plethora of buggy software out there that would endanger the user experience of the phone. I still expect to see non-Apple and non-Cingular developers having access to the tools to build applications for the iPhone.
      Sure, but that doesn't make it any more open.

      For example, you can go right now and download the BREW SDK, which is used for writing apps that will run on Verizon phones. It's totally free.

      But you know what? There aren't really all that many apps for Verizon phones--certainly not as many as for other carriers' phones that run unsigned Java apps--and none of those apps are free. If you want a game or utility, you have to buy it for $5-$10 or pay a monthly subscription. And if someone hasn't written the thing you have in mind, forget about writing it yourself, unless you think you can sell it to a big audience.

      See, you can get the SDK and write apps for free, but if you want to run it on actual hardware, you have to get a new phone and send it away to be authorized for debugging. Ka-ching! If you want others to be able to run your app, you have to pay to get it tested and signed, then strike up a deal with Verizon to get them to put it in their store. You can't really release it for free, of course, because you've just invested hundreds of dollars in it.

      End result: only mass-appeal apps get written at all, and there's no open source or even freeware.

      Oh, and one more thing: it's not really about quality assurance. People are smart enough to realize that if they install a crappy app, it's their own fault, and they can uninstall it. This is really about the carrier (Verizon/Cingular) and manufacturer (Qualcomm/Apple) seeing a chance to make a buck by crippling their hardware.
  • I thought it'd be the perfect device...all I'd need would be an SSH client to monitor my server status.

    How is it that network integrity is dependent upon the (millions of) client devices. If their network is designed in this way, well, I'll stick with Verizon.
  • by eugene_roux (76055) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:28AM (#17570006) Homepage
    I suppose that makes it quite final then: no iPhone for me.

    Granted I'm not the prototypical candidate for one of these:
    1. I'm from South Africa and
    2. I'm a Geek,
    but added to the fact that it doesn't have 3G [wikipedia.org] (which all of it's competitors at this price-point does have) this becomes a no-show for me at least.
  • Deal Breaker (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WiseWeasel (92224) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:30AM (#17570026)
    This is a critical issue for me. There's no way I'm spending $600 for a piece of hardware with that many capabilities if I can't run any software I want on it and develop for it myself. This COULD HAVE been a revolution in computing, but instead, it'll just be another phone, and a crippled one at that. While it might be a fantastic phone, I don't spend $600 for a phone. I do, however, spend $600 for a general purpose portable computing device that happens to feature cell phone capabilities, with beautiful design, all the hardware I need, and running a great OS.

    Jobs brings up the issue of running apps that will interfere with the phone capabilities, but I'm sure a bright engineer over at Apple (or maybe two if that's what it takes) could figure out how to give priority to the phone process, and make sure it gets attention when it needs to. This is just BS. I guess I'm getting myself a "free" S-E w800i for a couple more years until Jobs comes to his senses. iPhone, we hardly knew ye...
  • iWhatever, next! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by io333 (574963) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:30AM (#17570032)
    I already hacked my RAZR V3i to do more than the iPhone will supposedly be able to do -- a FREAKING YEAR AGO. Don't believe me? Head over to the Motox forums and see what we can do with Motorola phones. iWhatever, I don't care and havn't since 1996 when Apple screwed me and a few million folks over regarding Rhapsody.
  • by GoldTeamRules (639624) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:33AM (#17570050)

    OK. As the information about the iPhone has started to come in after the announcement, I am decidedly off the bandwagon at this point.

    This is stupid. Why do people put up with Apple and these games? If MSFT or Sony pulled this crap, the entire Slashdot universe would reign fury on these companies. But Apple? I'll read 1000 posts about "wait and see" and about how Steve Jobs is protecting us from ourselves.

    Apple needs to get over it and open this up. At $600, if you can't even get the geeks excited, this product has 0 chance of succeeding.

    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:40AM (#17570464)
      This is stupid. Why do people put up with Apple and these games? If MSFT or Sony pulled this crap, the entire Slashdot universe would reign fury on these companies. But Apple? I'll read 1000 posts about "wait and see" and about how Steve Jobs is protecting us from ourselves.

      I don't think so. I think the people who don't put up with Sony's crap also don't put up with Apple's crap. It's only the Apple fanboys who do. As for MSFT, the problem with them is that they're a monopoly, so anything they do is subject to much greater scrutiny. If you don't like Sony's stupid policies, buy a different TV or game system. If you don't like Apple's stupid policies, buy a different MP3 player or phone or computer. But if you don't like Vista's new content protection, you may be stuck with it if your work or certain necessary applications requires you to use it.

      Apple needs to get over it and open this up. At $600, if you can't even get the geeks excited, this product has 0 chance of succeeding.

      Personally, I think this product will succeed brilliantly. Not because of any great features or whatever, but because of the hordes of morons out there that will think it's "so cool" to have a combination cellphone and iPod, and will happily shell out the cash for it regardless of what actual value it offers. After all, look at the MP3 player market. There's still lots of choice for the smaller flash-based players (8GB and under), but for the larger hard drive players (20GB+), the iPod has pretty much killed most of the competition. iRiver had some nice units with far more features than the iPod, but they threw in the towel. But there's still people out there who want players like these: check out what used iRiver H340 players are selling on Ebay for. The only decent alternative I see in the new market now is the Cowon X5.
  • If yes, then the problem is solved :) Though I suppose Apple could demand some sort of signing of widgets and/or prohibit downloading them.
    Otherwise that's another strike against buying it (it does not say if it supports Java apps, which probably means "no"). And I had such high hopes :(

  • Arrogant bastard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by w_lighter (995939) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:46AM (#17570128)
    Arrogant bastard
  • I have a WM5 pocket pc, clamshell phone, 5gig flash drive and sometimes a flash mp3 player in my coat pockets. Its a pain to carry all that around and keep charged, and the interfaces on all of them are a pain to use. I certainly didn't want to get a WM5 smartphone, though I do connect my pda to the 'net via wifi and bluetooth to the phone.

    I was a perfect customer for the iPhone when it came to the UK, so I could replace the lot with one slick interface and a lovely form factor. But no extra software on the
  • I have Windows based K-Jam i-mate. The appeal is I no longer have to carry a PDA and my phone has handy apps like a Russian-English dictionary. Great for traveling. Windows works ok most of the time but still has the classic windows problems so I was looking forward to being able to get a more usable platform. I use Windows, Linux and Mac laptops and based on the usability of them I was keen to get an iPhone. However if I can't load on the apps I choose, or create, then whats the point? The product is
  • Quick ! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jalet (36114) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:49AM (#17570156) Homepage
    Please could you shutdown the Internet right now before some poorly written application destroy it ?

    It seems Jobs think his users and followers are idiots...
  • by _vSyncBomb (50710) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:51AM (#17570160) Journal
    If you had to pick one single aspect that separates a "smart phone" from a "phone", the best indicator would probably be the ability to run arbitary software. Smart phones can do it: Treo, Symbian, WindowsCEPocketLiteWhatever, and various Japanese ones can all run user-installed software. Dumb phones can't; they just run a closed OS and usually just run that same software until the user throws away the phone and gets a new one.

    The iPhone does appear to be a dazzling reinvention of the dumb phone. It does the same things my RAZR does: pictures, email, sorta browse the web, SMS, etc. I don't use, or just barely use, any of these features on my RAZR because the RAZR sucks at all of them. I junked my Treo 650 and got the RAZR because I wanted something that just made calls. So, in a limited way, it is cool that Apple is apparently going to best crappy phones like my RAZR, and make such features work reasonably. It even adds like 3 more features, such as google maps. So I'm sure they would dominate the dumbphone market with the iPhone, if it weren't for the fact that it has that smart phone price tag.

    But, despite what anybody (e.g., Jobs) might say, smart phones are a hell of a lot more like computers than they are like iPods. After reading (ahem!) the article, I think we are kind of getting a glimpse of the hubris of the old Steve Jobs who wanted to see trucks full of sand coming in one side of the factory, where Apple would make its own silicon and assemble 100% Apple computers. Closed, proprietary systems can work for something like the iPod, but the reason is that iPods are only for doing one thing: playing media, mostly music.

    A "smart phone", on the other hand, does many things. It is able to not only browse the web, but also, on a case-by-case basis, SSH into remote machines, view PDF content, view Flash content, run flash-card software for studying, run English-to-Japanese-Chinese-Arabic-Whatever dictionary software, count calories, time events, serve as a podium-top teleprompter for making speeches, record bibliographic data while researching in the library, play retro Missile Command and Dig-Diug clones, play MahJong, display recipes and cocktail how-tos, track ovulation, and so on, and so on.

    Apple might be cool, but there is no way in hell that any single company can fill the software needs of a diverse user base.

    So there are only three real potential outcomes here:

    a.) Apple keeps it locked tight and is content to sell a very expensive but very elegant dumb phone.

    b.) Lobbying by users, developers, and corporate purchases convince Apple that they need to offer a way to load third-party software... third party developers will certainly fill the void, and quickly if the iPhone's OS is really anything remotely like the developer-friendly Mac OS X.

    c.) Some kind of middle ground is reached whereby developers pay Apple for the privilege of compatibility--like what they've managed to do with the iPod dock connector.

    As a potential customer, I can say that I was 100% ready to buy some of these initially, until I heard about this very surprising position taken by Apple. Now, I don't know. It's possible I would buy one, but $600 is a lot to spend for what is an admittedly elegant but extremely limited feature set.

    Although I do have a dollar here that says hackers will figure it out whatever Apple does...

    But the executive summary is that this is a bummer for users and has legitimately dissipated the bulk of the excitement that surrounded the iPhone launch. I think most users naturally assumed it would run a diverse set of applications, so at first it seemed like an ultra-portable mini-Mac. Now, it's more like an ultra-portable mini-Mac that only runs iLife. The former is a lot more exciting than the latter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TobascoKid (82629)
      Plenty of dumb phones can run J2ME apps - so the ability to run arbitrary 3rd party apps isn't the separator between smart phones and phones. The ability to run 3rd party apps is almost a universal feature - about the only phones that can't run 3rd party apps (at least in the UK) are the really, really low end phones (which tend to have black and white screens and, for some reason, are often targeted at older consumers who apparently just want a simple phone) and the iPhone.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:54AM (#17570180) Homepage

    Cisco, which owns the iPhone trademark, has announced what they want for it. [cisco.com]

    An "open approach". Interoperability.

    Fundamentally we wanted an open approach. We hoped our products could interoperate in the future. In our view, the network provides the basis to make this happen--it provides the foundation of innovation that allows converged devices to deliver the services that consumers want. Our goal was to take that to the next level by facilitating collaboration with Apple. And we wanted to make sure to differentiate the brands in a way that could work for both companies and not confuse people, since our products combine both web access and voice telephony. That's it. Openness and clarity. - Cisco's general counsel.

  • by Snufu (1049644) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:58AM (#17570220)

    'Cingular doesn't want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.'
    "We don't need outside help," a Cingular spokesperson added, "Our in-house programmers are perfectly capable of bringing down the network all by themselves. But thanks for asking."
  • Classic, this one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Budenny (888916) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:01AM (#17570240)
    Thank Heaven these people only have 5% share of PC market. If they had the power, they would be worse than MS!
  • by lord_mike (567148) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:02AM (#17570248)
    Maybe Pear or something...It was a long time ago when they actually published the full schematics and source code of their Apple II ROMs. Of Course, if Jobs had any real say, that would have never have happened. He constantly was trying to close the systems more and more (the Apple III was closed). Woz told him to stick it in the early days, but then he left and we got the Mac. In every case, the closed systems flopped while the old, but open, Apple II kept the company afloat for years until they convinced everyone that open was bad. Well, they did a good job. No one seems to really care that their iPods are completely unprogrammable, and that their phone can only run software from JAMDAT. Meanwhile, the whole idea of making computers work for you instead of the other way around has gone the way of BASIC interpreters. People are being USED instead of being USERS. It is a real shame, and I think it bodes very poorly for the future of computing. I dread the day that ALL systems are closed and only a privileged few will be able to program them in any meaningful way.

    It is such an incredible shame that such an enticing machine is all look, but no touch. It's like being given a piano and told that you can't try and play it, only look at it. It's just wrong in so many ways.

    Well, I guess Jobs thinks that I should be happy that he is saving me from myself. Unfortuntely, it seems the rest of world IS happy about it and that just makes me even more depressed.

    I never liked that guy... he still owes woz some money for breakout...

    Thanks,

    Mike
  • by SetupWeasel (54062) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:10AM (#17570288) Homepage
    That something would come along so soon and make the PS3 look like a sound investment.
  • by theurge14 (820596) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:11AM (#17570294)
    I mean, where are these "Desktop Class Apps" touted in the keynote? All I see on the phone is Calender, Maps, Notes and a Web Browser. That's it? And we're supposed to be excited it took OSX to run those? How can this phone *not* be considered a tablet PC/phone?

    Argh.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ilgaz (86384)
      Funny is, I was hoping for Opera Mobile right after I saw "Zinio reader" style web browsing.

      We like Safari on Desktop but Opera Mobile is like 5 years ahead of competition on that business.

      I wonder another thing. Why can't a system being "5 years ahead" doesn't come with built in spam protection? I tried Kaspersky Symbian Beta and it adds "sms/mms spam protection" to my Nokia.

      Cingular doesn't want it too I guess ;)

  • I call BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Telephone Sanitizer (989116) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:17AM (#17570326)
    The story that was cited neither states nor implies that 3rd party applications will not be permitted on the iPhone.

    The relevant quote...

    But it's not like the walled garden has gone away. "You don't want your phone to be an open platform," meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider's network, says Jobs. "You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn't want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up."

    Still, since the iPhone runs a full version of OS X, the operating system of the Macintosh computer, it's reasonable to expect the device to take advantage of that power by running lots of applications, even if Apple has to vet them to make sure they won't compromise the integrity of the network. In the version we saw last week, there aren't a whole lot--the notable ones include SMS text messaging, the Safari Web browser, e-mail, iPhoto, Google maps and two mini-applications (known as widgets) for weather and stock prices. Jobs says we can expect more apps on the phone by the time it ships in June. (For instance, one might expect the iPhone to allow users to view Word documents, something that the prototype doesn't do today.)
    In other words, the reporter doesn't know squat about the actual circumstances regarding third-party apps and is blowing farts in the wind, making speculative and general statements in the hope that someone will imagine that he's right when something he says turns out to vaguely resemble the truth.
    • This is an old idea; the part you bolded in your quote says it all. Essentially, the apps need to be digitally signed. It sucks; I used to use a platform that was like that. Things were stagnant in the first year, no interesting software came out. Getting the dev kit and certification is extremely expensive and well out of the reach for any OSS and most shareware.

      After a while (almost a year), other operators started to sell the same phone without the limitation. Orange UK, the telco, were forced to allow

  • OpenMoko (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:24AM (#17570372) Homepage
    The obvious answer to iPhone closedness is OpemMoko's openness. Vote with your dollars: go buy an OpenMoko when they hit the market in a few months. http://openmoko.com/ [openmoko.com]
  • by Muggins the Mad (27719) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:27AM (#17570388)

    So how powerful is the inbuilt web browser?

    If it can run java applets near full-screen then I don't see why you can't implement a whole
    heap of stuff that way. Sure, no VoIP or offline games, but I can't see why you couldn't run
    SSH clients or custom internet based apps that way.

    Sure I'm not interested in a device costing that much that I can't write stuff that runs offline for (and in NZ
    it'll cost $unfeasible to use our shitty mobile networks), but there looks like *some* ability there
    to run custom apps.

    - MugginsM
  • by base2_celtic (56328) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:58AM (#17570576) Homepage Journal
    In the very same article, however, he goes on to say:

    "That doesn't mean there's not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn't mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment."

    Steve's obviously playing control freak here, but I can understand his reasoning. Sony does the same thing for the PlayStation platform. An SDK ~is~ available, if you pay the huge fee for it, and Sony still gets to decide if your title is good enough to get their PlayStation branding. If the iPhone is going to work as a product for Apple, it really does have to work just as smoothly as its demo. Just like Sony, Apple gets to vet/check software before it goes out into the wide world.

    The hacker geeks aren't going to like it, but, hey, it didn't stop Sony from owning the world with this very same model for the PSX and PS2.

    Oh, and you can bet your bottom dollar this isn't the only device in this area that Apple will be bringing out. Expect to see this techology in a more hackable, computer-like form very soon.

    I say let the iPhone be an iPhone -- that's what's it's going to be good at.
  • by AceJohnny (253840) <jlargentaye@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:35AM (#17570800) Journal
    After the initial elation, I'm crashing back down to reality.

    The price tag didn't seem that scary at first. My brand new Nokia N70 costs 400E off the shelf.* With a 2-year plan, that came down to 55E, pretty damn affordable for a near-Smartphone. I didn't understand, at first, that the iPhone's price (500$ or 600$) included the 2-year plan! As I fully expect Cingular to charge for services (the very services the iPhone is so cool about) on top of that, the price has suddenly leapt straight out of my potential budget (and I'm a gadget lover with a good pay!).

    No 3G? Well, there's no camera on the iPhone, so you won't be suffering bad video-conferencing. And if you're only use text e-mails, that's OK. Too bad for the "our browser isn't crippled and text-only!" hype. At those speeds, you'll want to go back to WAP.

    And now no 3rd party apps? Their lame excuses don't even surprise me. I guess they're perfectly understandable for the mid-to-high level risk-averse manager. Whatever. However, I expect they'll catch up by selling apps for the iPhone. This is the final straw that confirms the iPhone beyond "barely affordable but classy social symbol" the iPod was so good to hit, and right into "outrageously priced executive toy".

    Happy Feeling's gone :(

    I'm not predicting a flop or anything. I think it'll revolutionize the way we use "phones" if other companies can get the hint, and I sure hope they'll do it quickly. All of a sudden the interface of my N70 seems awfully clunky...

    *Yep, I live in Europe, which means the iPhone won't be available to me anytime soon anyhow.
  • rtfa people (Score:5, Informative)

    by akuzi (583164) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:37AM (#17570804)
    The title of this story is BS.

    Jobs is explicit quoted as saying:
    That doesn't mean there's not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn't mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.
    Nowhere does it say there will be no third party apps available.
  • by tji (74570) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:51AM (#17570874)
    We see both sides of Mr. Jobs here.. The perfectionist that drove the absolutely wonderful user interface of the iPhone. The attention to detail, and unwillingness to stop at "good enough" just drips off that interface.

    Then, we see the arrogant Jobs, insisting on a closed platform, locking out third party software. His statements about it being more like an iPod than a computer are ludicrous. The input capabilities of an iPod are non-existant, making third party software almost irrelevant. A closed iPhone will be hamstrung from the start.

    I really like the UI. But, I'll probably wait a bit for the Video iPod version, with no phone features. The inability to load my own software (i.e. have full control of the device I pay for) is a big drawback, as is the two year commitment to Cingular. (And, no.. I'm not an Apple nay-sayer. I own two iPods and three Macs. I'm just not a fan of completely closed systems.)
  • by oohshiny (998054) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:08AM (#17570994)
    You can use lots of programmable third party phones with Cingular: the Treos, the Nokia E61/E62, etc. The E61 even runs VoIP, and you program it in C/C++.

    The source of the restriction must be Apple, not Cingular.
  • holy CRAP... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mark the Optimist (1039974) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:23AM (#17571094)
    Okay, so just about every single response to this post ranked "5: Insightful" can be summarized as this: "I'm not going to buy the iPhone because Steve won't let me write my own programs!" Sure, fine, great, whatever. Sorry you're disappointed, hope you find another solution that works for you. But after reading this same general attitude a couple dozen times, I am compelled to respond with an alternate perspective: Contrary to Commander Taco's (much quoted) original assessment of the original, the iPod has indeed gone on to become the most popular MP3 player ever produced, to the point that its impact has risen to impacting the music retail business itself. (iTunes now sells more music than Amazon, etc. etc.) All this not only *without* many of the more sophisticated features many Slashdotters may have wished it had - but *because* it doesn't have those features! I for one am glad to have an MP3 player with a simple interface, and innovative (click-wheel) navigation. And while I have no intention of buying the current iPhone - ...because it's out of my price range ...because I hate Cingular's customer service (and have grown quite loyal to my new carrier because of theirs) ...because I want something a little more rugged and less "precious," and ...because I frankly don't need to read the New York Times Online on my phone.... I *will* be *quite* happy, in a year or so, when I can get a nice touch-screen driven, visual-voicemail equipped cell phone in my price range, perhaps called something like an "iPhone Nano" - whose technology was made possible by this initial market entry model! Sheesh, call me flamebait if you want, but I don't get this tone of entitlement in some of these posts! Cingular (whom I HATE), had to re-jigger its infrastructure to make visual voicemail possible, not to mention committing to the iPhone sight unseen. Frankly, if they demand Steve not let users upload ringtones for free because they'd rather make money selling them, I simply won't buy any ringtones, but I won't feel like Steve/Apple/Cingular is "ripping me off" for not providing me everything for free. Sure, you buy the phone, you own the PHONE. Crack it open, get out your banana clips and soldering iron and do whatever you want to it. But if a "closed system" is what Steve/Apple/Cingular decide for whatever reason *including making money* is what they require to bring this tech to market, so be it. Your palms, et al are still out there for you. Enjoy. And enjoy trying to motivate them to produce a comparable device like the iPhone. I'm sure it'll be any day now. /rant

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