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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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  • I call BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by Telephone Sanitizer (989116) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:17AM (#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.
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jonwil (467024) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:27AM (#17570390)
    There is also OpenMoko.

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

    by MojoRilla (591502) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:40AM (#17570466)
    Cingular already features the BlackBerry on their Edge network, and that allows installable apps.

    Nope, this is about Jobs' control issues.
  • Re:Right... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:54AM (#17570550)
    Because the /. summary is FUD?

    From TFA:
    "These are devices that need to work, and you can't do that if you load any software on them," he said. "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."


    Hmm. Apple doesn't have to write it all but you can buy softwares. Do the elves write them while Jobs sleeps? The existence of softwares not written by Apple fits the definition of third party apps, doesn't it? But no, /. FUD machine ignored this, focused on the first sentence and chopped off the rest. Then, people jumped on the Apple-bashing bandwagon.

    What Jobs is saying is that software developers needs to work closely with Apple since Apple will control the quality. Geeks who like to hack their iPhone may not like it, but really, do normal customers complain if third party apps are checked by Apple to make sure that they work without major glitches?
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Informative)

    by dabraun (626287) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:58AM (#17570574)
    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, Informative)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:04AM (#17570622) Homepage Journal
    The summary is fine. It's a closed platform, unlike every other smartphone and most other cell phones.

    You see, real smartphones let you install whatever software you want onto your phone. Hell, even many (most?) non-smart phones can run Java apps. That's certainly the kind of functionality Cingular customers are used to.

    What Apple's doing with the iPhone, OTOH, is what Verizon customers are used to: the carrier tells you what you can do with your phone. You buy it, but you don't really own it. They say it's about quality assurance, and to some degree it might even be, but what it's really about is making sure you pay for extra features, instead of downloading freeware or writing your own. They think that if you're getting extra value out of their service, you owe them for it. But even Verizon doesn't go that far with their smartphones!

    There might be apps written by third parties on the iPhone, but who writes them is pretty much irrelevant, because you can't write or install them without going through Cingular and/or Apple. They'll charge for the SDK, for testing apps, and for making apps available to users, and those costs will be passed onto the end user in the form of (1) paying to download apps and (2) limited selection because amateurs can't afford to develop.
  • Re:Right... (Score:2, Informative)

    by DietFluffy (150048) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:09AM (#17570644)
    thank you for the troll.

    a $3000 phone that plays mp3s and has a calendar

    nice try. to get to $3000 over 2 years, you are assuming that it'll cost $100/month to use the iphone. by that reasoning, the new treo is a $2800 phone since the phone itself is $400. and fyi, cingular offers an unlimited data plan for smartphones for $20/month: http://www.cingular.com/cell-phone-service//cell-p hone-plans/smartphone-connect-plans.jsp [cingular.com]

    and the iphone obviously is more than an mp3 player and a calendar. since you missed the keynote, here it is: http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/j47d52oo/eve nt/ [edgesuite.net]
  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:18AM (#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.
  • rtfa people (Score:5, Informative)

    by akuzi (583164) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:37AM (#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 oohshiny (998054) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:08AM (#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.
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:19AM (#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:Right... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:21AM (#17571366) Journal
    OPENSTEP, from which OS X is directly descended, ran quite happily on a 25MHz Motorola 68K. The kernel has had a few tweaks since then, but isn't actually all that different. The GUI has actually been replaced by one that's easier (CPU-wise) to render; Quartz instead of Display Postscript (which was a Turing-complete language used for drawing view objects). Much of the resource cost of OS X comes from double-buffering on every window, which isn't needed on the iPhone because it uses a Maemo-style GUI where only one application is visible at a time (thus, no overlapping windows and no partial redraws).
  • Re:OpenMoko (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:18AM (#17571664)
  • Re:Right... (Score:4, Informative)

    by MMC Monster (602931) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:35AM (#17571756)
    I think Jobs hit on an important fact: The 1% that he is looking to buy the iphone is not the same 1% that installs java apps or is interested in VOIP and custom apps for their phones.

    Jobs is looking for the top buyers who will pay nearly anything for a phone that just plain works and has simple email/text messaging and maybe a web browser. In this market, the iPod is really just a bonus.

    My only question is, is this a GSM phone that will let me change out the chip so I can use it around the world? Unfortunately, I don't think so. Anyway, my dad will surely buy it in the next year. He's slowly converting to the entire Apple line (First an ipod, then 2 imacs, now this).
  • by mcguirez (524534) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:44AM (#17571824)
    No sorry, the $20/month plan is not available for PDA's - that a smartphone-only plan. Just ask those who bought Blackjacks or Treos. The fortunate ones have legacy plans but new activations are limited to $40 PDA plans. Why the difference? That's a fantasy of Cingular's accounting department.

    Also there is a requirement for these plans to be paired with at least a $40/month voice plan (and not forgetting the $5/month fees that sound like taxes but aren't) that's $85/month - for 2 years that's a minimum of $2540 (including the cheaper phone).

    Want voice dialing? Cingular will sell you one for another $120 ($5/mo)- http://www.cingular.com/cell-phone-service/service s/serviceDetails.jsp?LOSGId=&skuId=sku1040072 [cingular.com] - which, since Apple has made no noise about this being included, may be your only way to get this feature. Yea, I'd say $3000 isn't too far off the mark!

    This device looks great but when they went with Cingular they had to get greedy...
  • Re:Right... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:48AM (#17571844) Homepage
    No you can't - the itunes store checks the billing address. You'd need a US credit card to do that, which is hard to get without a US address.

  • Re:Right... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lazerf4rt (969888) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:04AM (#17571946)

    FTFA:

    "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."

    You call that moronically shackled? What, were you hoping to run Linux on it? Life's rough, I guess.

  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lars T. (470328) <Lars DOT Traeger AT googlemail DOT com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:16AM (#17572028) Journal

    (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:3, Informative)

    by TobascoKid (82629) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:39AM (#17572190) Homepage
    The Greenphone is part of a development kit - it's not meant for day to day use (that's why it's only ever sold with an SDK) nor the mass market. Saying that the Greenphone isn't ready for general use is no great secret.
  • Re:Right... (Score:2, Informative)

    by AnyThingButWindows (939158) on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:01AM (#17572432) Homepage
    oooooohhh. I want one! My feet are shaking. Thats a slick GUI. Software Hacker's heaven. :)

    My Moto V551 is hacked. I changed the flex on it, made my own theme, and I can change certain aspects of the phone that one is not supposed to be able to change, such as frequencies. Even though it is a closed phone, It, like OS X can be hacked. Motomodders has more details on them. http://www.motomodders.net/ [motomodders.net]
  • Re:Nail on the Head. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ced_Ex (789138) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:36PM (#17582402)
    Then perhaps you should read this link in the Toronto Star (time limited) [thestar.com] and see that the iPhone is nothing really innovative and is in fact still behind the offerings in Asia. Also, it states that the iPhone is only able to utilize the 2G network, rather unimpressive when you realize that Telus in Canada has 3G available. Lastly, with that price tag, only fools with too much money will buy it.

    The article below in case the link dies.

    Japan far ahead of iPhone

    Cellphones there used for everything from buying milk to booking a train
    January 12, 2007
    Bruce Wallace
    SPECIAL TO THE STAR

    TOKYO-Tomoaki Kurita presides over racks of cellphones lined up outside his shop on a busy sidewalk in Harajuku, Tokyo's catwalk of youth street culture where people attracted by the riot of phone options can stop to flip open and fondle the latest models of what the Japanese call a "keitai."

    From behind his busy counter, Kurita giggles when asked about the excitement in the United States over the arrival of Apple's iPhone cellphone that also could be used to download music and surf the Internet.

    "Sounds like business as usual," he says.

    As stock markets swooned and techies buzzed over Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs' long-awaited entry into the cellphone market, Japanese consumers could be excused for wondering: Why the fuss?

    Many Japanese had a hard time buying Jobs' hype about "reinventing" the phone. The revolution is well underway in Japan, where cellphones are used for everything from navigating your way home by GPS to buying movie tickets and updating your blog from wherever you are.

    Oh yeah. Japanese cellphones also download music, surf the Net and make phone calls.

    They've been a natural extension of daily life the past few years, spurred by the Japanese decision to be the first country to upgrade to third-generation cellphone networks, or 3G, which increased broadband capabilities and allowed for greater, faster transmission of voice and data. Apple's iPhone, by comparison, will operate on a 2G network.

    It was 3G that sparked the boom in music downloads that makes it common for phones to be used as portable digital music players here.

    And it is 3G that has led the Japanese into a world where they can watch live TV on their phones, use the phone as a charge card to ride trains or buy milk at the corner store or take a taxi, and conduct conference calls between as many as five people. Ticket Pia, Japan's major entertainment ticketing agency, has been selling email tickets to cellphones since 2003.

    Most observers contend the U.S. has begun to close the gap on cellphone use in Japan, South Korea and Europe. Music downloads by cellphone are rising in the U.S. - and the long-term threat to iPod's lead in downloads was a major force behind Apple's entry into cellphones. Other functions are following.

    "We plan to introduce one-way video conferencing in the U.S. this year," says Melissa Elkins of LG Electronics MobileCOMM, referring to a function that would allow one person to be visible to the other during a phone call. Two-way telephony has been available in South Korea for about 18 months, Elkins says.

    But the biggest difference between the U.S. and countries like Japan is the culture the keitai has created. To wait for a light on a Tokyo street corner or ride a train these days is to see crowds of people with their heads down, thumbs pumping as they send photos, text message or play online games on their phone. Increasingly, they are reading books and manga comics on their phones, too.

    The keitai has become an extension of personality.

    There is software to create a personalized home page on the cellphone. Young men and women customize their phones, hang posses of tiny dolls off them, cover them with stickers and paints.

    "I like it because it's cute," says Mami Nawa, 23, as she shows off the dial pad she has painted in purple and pink to

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