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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 @02:15AM (#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.
  • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash@omnif ... s.org minus city> on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:18AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:20AM (#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.
  • by odasnac (570543) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:21AM (#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 jorghis (1000092) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:23AM (#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.
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 2ms (232331) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:27AM (#17570002)
    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 the vast majority of people. I'm glad the iPhone looks like it has been focused on uncompromised strength in the two things that people have proven to want more than any other personal portable electronic devices -- phone and iPod.
  • by eugene_roux (76055) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:28AM (#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 @02:30AM (#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...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:30AM (#17570030)
    " 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."

      Thanks, Steve Jobs. Now I will be buying a Treo or some (gasp) Windows based PDA/Phone.

  • by GoldTeamRules (639624) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:33AM (#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 liftphreaker (972707) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:34AM (#17570054)
    Hmmm let's see. No replaceable battery, no use to business users since it won't talk to exchange servers, sync with outlook, read excel/word docs, etc, no Java, no 3G, and now no 3rd party apps? So they want people to pay $599 for something that "looks cool" and do little else? I'm reminded of Lisa and Newton.
  • Look at it this way - the first guy to figure out how to hack apart the iPhone and make it 'iSquirt' back and forth with no limitations gets to sell this software for 20$ 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....
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jrockway (229604) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:39AM (#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.
  • Arrogant bastard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by w_lighter (995939) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:46AM (#17570128)
    Arrogant bastard
  • by _vSyncBomb (50710) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:51AM (#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:Right... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kestasjk (933987) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:53AM (#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).
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:54AM (#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 croddy (659025) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:54AM (#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:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:55AM (#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.
  • by 3choTh1s (972379) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:56AM (#17570206)
    I still expect to see non-Apple and non-Cingular developers having access to the tools to build applications for the iPhone.


    From the article: "We define everything that is on the phone," he said. "You don't want your phone to be like a PC."

    No he isn't talking about buggy software, he's actually talking about ANY more software. He's saying that in order for the phone to function as well as it does it cannot have ANY other software competing for time on the processor when the included software needs a piece of it.
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:00AM (#17570232) Homepage Journal


    If Mac OS X is truly the foundation of the iPhone, buggy apps shouldn't be able to do the things you and Steve are warning against. Stability of the phone or network shouldn't be jeopardized by renegade user-installed applications because the OS and the networking protocol should lock them down to acceptable behavior.

    I was fully going to switch to this phone in June. No joke. But this statement by Jobs has certainly installed boundaries for my imagination running wild with this device's potential. Specifically, I'm betting Apple will restrict 3rd-party-apps to prevent skype-like apps from being installed. Don't want to give the consumer TOO good of a deal.

    Seth
  • Classic, this one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Budenny (888916) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:01AM (#17570240)
    Thank Heaven these people only have 5% share of PC market. If they had the power, they would be worse than MS!
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theurge14 (820596) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:03AM (#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.
  • Actually, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:20AM (#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:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darkwhite (139802) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:20AM (#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?
  • by dfoulger (1044592) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:20AM (#17570358) Homepage
    My optimism about iPhone as a tablet just reduced substantially. If I can't program it its of no interest to me. Heck, I imagined a minor bit of programming that I'd like to have on an iPhone as I was driving back from a Chorus rehearsal tonight. Unless Apple has already thought of it, I'd be out of luck.

    I'll be interested again when they repackage it as a Mac mini-tablet computer.

    Everything I saw in the videos was great, especially the part about many Mac apps working with it. As it stands now, I'm sure I can do more with a Nokia 770 or 800.

    There will still be a large market for this phone. Most people cannot program and would not be interested in doing so on their cell phone. But with this decision Apple has given up a secondary market that might have kickstarted their sales.
  • by Muggins the Mad (27719) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:27AM (#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 Grishnakh (216268) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:40AM (#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.
  • by jonwil (467024) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:48AM (#17570510)
    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 linux phones where only software signed by Motorola will load and run.
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:01AM (#17570592) Homepage
    Unfortunately Apple is keeping one of the worst aspects of most current cellphones--the closed systems--for selfish reaons.
    I was pretty excited about the iphone. It looked like a pocket computer with phone capabilities to me. But this news makes it just a high priced gizmo. It would be nice to be able to stick a shell in there and ssh into other machines. Or drop in a checkbook app. Or an encrypted notepad for the ever expanding password list. Being able to install software that you want would turn it into an extremely useful portable computing device and well worth the $600 price tag to me.

    As you say though, closing off those choices turns it yet another expensive phone, albeit w/ a slick UI. Frankly, I want a tiny useable computer which doubles as a phone -- not a phone which mimics some aspects of a computer. I wish Apple understood that.

    As the first post said, Apple shot themselves in the face with that limitation. No way in hell I'd pay $600 for a device crippled to prevent 3d party apps. Note, I write this with the recognition that I'm also pretty much an apple fanboy (I have 4 apple laptops of various makes and models, plus two pre-g3 machines that still work -- though their only use is for show-n-tell time when company come over).
  • Re:Web Apps (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:07AM (#17570632) Journal
    So "widgets" could be replaced by web apps, which could then be bookmarked. Since bookmarks sync with your computer, the "installation" process would be incredibly easy, and you'd never need to actually know the URL.
    This would totally suck. It would require always connected to the internet just to access the 'application' [because you have to load the web page]. I have a feeling even 'standalone' widgets won't be allowed to be loaded onto the iPhone, let alone with the additional functionality made available through the Safari plugin API.
  • Re:Right... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:13AM (#17570662)
    you're glad that the most revolutionary electronic device in years is moronically shackled, and you get modded up?

    Were exactly does he state that it's "most revolutionary electronic device in years?"

    Aside from the fact you just pulled a strawman out your arse, It's becoming clearer and clearer by the day that this isn't "the most revolutionary electronic device in years." The iPhone is evolutionary at best. Things like a bigger screen, Wifi and a refined UI are merely natural progressions, and it isn't as if you're getting them for a good price. On the flip-side they crippled it with blundering show-stoppers: tied it to an unpopular carrier, sealed it with a non-replaceable li-ion battery (read this [wikipedia.org] as to why this was a bad idea) and now they're locking out 3rd-party apps? what?

    At this point you've probably already dismissed my post as the ramblings of a rabid apple-hater who wants the iPhone to fail for some twisted reason of his own - and you'd be partially right. I do want the iPhone to fail, but not because I hate apple - because I see it as a monumental step in the wrong direction. The problem is one of openness. As I understand it, you yanks already have a massive problem with your cellular carriers in the US - your handsets are intentionally crippled for the sole purpose of extracting more and more cash out of you for more and more trivial things.

    Want to listen to your mp3s on the road? Sure thing! Simply buy our "mobile music kit" and you're all set. Want to set your mp3s as ringtones? Umm.. no.. we'd much rather put blocks in place to stop you from doing that so we can sell you a butchered edit of the track and put an absolutely insane mark-up on it. The same with absolutely piss-poor java games-- and we're still pissed we can't sell wallpapers anymore because we didn't cripple the on-board camera in time.

    It was the same with text messages, and Internet access. Now the iPhone is taking it to the next level and doing the same thing to the smartphone market with software - screwing us for cash. And Apple seem to be totally cool with this, even giving us bullshit reasons as to why. Tell me: if this is indeeed OSX on a phone, and if Apple are as good at designing other parts of the system as they are at designing slick-looking hardware, where is the problem? How exactly can one handset bring down an even slightly well-designed network?

    I think what they meant to say was "we'd much rather sell you some bullshit, closed, intentionally crippled programs that you're tied to, and have to live with - and if you're willing to pay $600 for a handset we don't have to think too hard about what to charge you for the privilege." And once the public laps it up, they will have gotten away with it, and that will be that. The success of the iPhone will be the nail in the coffin for open standards, platforms and user freedoms in the cellphone industry.

  • by akf2000 (262227) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:23AM (#17570736)
    Something that made me smile during the launch was "you don't need Exchange Server anymore"!

    Well.. What if I WANT Exchange Server?

    It's no good going against RIM without supporting, for better or worse, one of the most widely used corporate email systems there is. I can't see my boss being happy about me forwarding everything I have to a Yahoo account. I couldn't if I wanted to as all internet email sites are blocked. This is *not* a Blackberry-killer.

    And I don't buy Jobs' argument that these smart phones are difficult to use, he just sounds like a marketing guy.

    Oh disclaimer: I'm normally a fan boi.
  • Re:Web Apps (Score:2, Insightful)

    by The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:39AM (#17570818) Homepage Journal
    This would totally suck. It would require always connected to the internet just to access the 'application' [because you have to load the web page].
    I guess I was assuming some sort of caching mechanism to make sure the data doesn't get re-downloaded each time it's opened (You can browse multiple sites simultaneously, I believe).

    Maybe I am missing the point of Widgets, but on the iPhone, wouldn't their primary use come from being connected to the Internet, anyway? I don't use Widgets very extensively in Dashboard, but it seems they'd mostly be useful for tracking simple things: hockey scores, movie times, etc. I guess games are one aspect where network connectivity is unnecessary. If it were cached properly, would it matter?
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:39AM (#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.

  • by tji (74570) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:51AM (#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.)
  • Re:Right... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:56AM (#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.
  • by Fullhazard (985772) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:06AM (#17570972) Homepage
    I think the point he's trying to make is the fact that if no third party apps, it's significantly harder to hack the network. If you can't run any malicious code on a device that connects to the network, you can't connect to the network, and you can't bring down the network. Plus, it stops a malicious 'i-phone virus' from pissing off a large number of consumers. Of course, the actual reason behind this is vendor lock-in and the destruction of VoIP to our evil phony masters, but whatever.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:07AM (#17570982)
    While geeks and techies will whinge, the iPhone will sell like hotcakes. People don't want to fiddle around adding stuff to their products, they just want products that do what they are supposed to do well, out of the box. Sure, there are people who like adding features, add-ons and 'hacks', but Joe Blow doesn't.

    Take cars, for example. The average buyer won't change anything but the tires and oil (maybe the C.D player). iPods seem to have done all right without software changes, despite the cries of 'no OGG!'. As long as the car drives, handles, and plays CDs O.K, then people are happy. As long as your iPod plays music all right, people are happy. And as long as the iPhone does everything it says it will at reasonable price, people will be happy.
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jaavaaguru (261551) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:40AM (#17571162) Homepage
    Don't you think it's probably a very cut-down/re-written version of OS X that has very little in common with the desktop version, kinda like Windows mobile phones?
  • Re:Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:58AM (#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.

  • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:00AM (#17571260)

    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 users to disable the certificate check. After that, the number of applications available exploded, even despite the fact that this override wasn't made very public and was an "in-the-know" thing for some time. Nowadays, anyone can download the dev kit and program in a variety of languages.

    So, it's not for sure that it'll never allow you to use a dev-kit, but it's pretty unlikely unless you have got at least $10,000 to burn. But this may change in future.

    As an aside, Orange continued and still continued to protect their network. You need a special certificate to write applications that access the phone stack, and this keeps the network free from malicious apps. This can be a pain in the ass, but overall it's a good idea. As the devices generally have a fully working TCP stack, you can just use that for your comms. Sucks if you want to write e.g. fax software though.

  • by accessbob (962147) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:15AM (#17571332)
    Jobs strategy also rules out the possibility of disabled users installing the 3rd party assistive technology they need to use such devices. That should play out well...
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:52AM (#17571544) Homepage Journal

    See, Apple wants to ensure that the phone maintains a great user experience.
    You believe that? Then I guess you'll also believe Verizon just wants to ensure that their customers have a great user experience, which is why you have to buy high-quality, professionally selected ringtones, games, and utilities from their store instead of uploading files of questionable quality on your own. It's just a coincidence that selling ringtones is a billion dollar industry, right?

    Imagine the customer support nightmare for Apple and Cingular if third-party applications have problems. They do not want that! It's the same as opening and releasing Mac OS X to the masses of beige-boxes.
    Er, no... it's the same as opening a cellular platform to the masses of developers, which every carrier has already done, because that's the whole point of a smartphone!

    Perhaps you don't realize it, but you can go out today and buy a cellular device from any US carrier that does run third-party apps, without having to get them signed or tested by the carrier or manufacturer. The world hasn't ended, the networks haven't been crashed by rogue apps, and customer service desks aren't overwhelmed with calls from idiots who broke their own phones by installing something.
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tbone1 (309237) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:32AM (#17572140) Homepage
    You are correct if one thing happens: Apple forgets that it is a hardware company.

    No, Apple is a *solutions* company. They provide the hardware/software to solve a problem or issue. The mobile music issue is solved by a combination of the iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Store. The issue of professional video production is solved by thecombination of the pro tower with firewire, cinema display, OS X, Final Cut Pro, etc etc etc.

    In this case, the issue/problem is twofold: 1) why are cellphones a source of frustration when they are supposed to make life easier, and 2) why am I carrying a phone, MP3 player, camera, etc, at the same time?

  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paanta (640245) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:52AM (#17572310) Homepage
    Because it's beautiful.

    I realize many here would happily take an ass-ugly black brick if it ran linux, had a full array of ports (USB and serial, oh yeah!). However, unless you've been asleep since the iPod rolled out, you may have noticed that people seem to really dig the simple interface and gorgeous industrial design. People don't want whizzy features. They want a phone that makes a good status symbol, and this will fit the bill nicely.

  • by MoneyT (548795) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:59AM (#17572392) Journal
    Besides, anyone who would be freaked out by a crash probably isn't installing obscure, untested applications.

    You have clearly never worked a day of tech support in your life.
  • by TobascoKid (82629) on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:01AM (#17572428) Homepage
    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.
  • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by complete loony (663508) <Jeremy.Lakeman@gma i l . c om> on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:02AM (#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, Insightful)

    by radtea (464814) on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:37AM (#17572896)
    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.

    Jobs is not an idiot, and it is just barely possible that Apple has done a little market research on this subject, so your statement is probably correct. This is not a phone for the average /. reader. It is a phone for the VP of Sales and/or Marketing at the company the average /. reader works for. People like that wouldn't know how to install a 3rd party app, but they sure as hell want to impress everyone else in the boardroom with their slick new phone.

    If Apple follows the iPod legacy, they'll produce a device with stupidly high usability and a narrowly defined feature set that serves the objectively-identified desires of their target customers: wealthy, style-and-trend-conscious technophiles who don't actually know anything about technology. Pre-iPod, MP3 players were like those 19th century automobiles that you steered with a tiller rather than a steering wheel. The iPod didn't add any new functionality, but it made existing functionality vastly easier to use. If the iPhone does the same thing it'll be a major hit. Open or closed really doesn't matter, because that's not something that the target purchaser cares about.

  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gordo3000 (785698) on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:00AM (#17573260)
    wouldn't touch lots of people on black berry's because:
    1) you need push email based on the internal servers running at the business (not yahoo for every business I've ever seen)
    2) need a fast network to browse the net most business's are interested in

    fails on both points right now. probably will continue failing on the first point for a long time to come.
  • by danpsmith (922127) on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:13AM (#17573456)
    Cringely points out that the original Jobs MacIntosh bombed because he locked out third-party hardware vendors. Now Jobs is doing the same with the iPhone, but this time locking out third-party software vendors. The only real question here is "Will this stop people from buying the iPhone?" Won't worry Grandma or little Bobby, but would it bother your tech savy user? Jobs is betting it won't.

    It seems to me, and I didn't think of it until now, but Apple has always, in my mind, been on the same level an enemy of openness as Microsoft. I've refused to buy the iPod because of its ridiculously unneeded closed system and the idea of having to "hack" my own device (paying for the "privilege") to get it to function the way it should out from the gate, all because the maker of the device wanted to lock me into some sort of application and/or store.

    Creative, Microsoft, etc. have all seen this as a way to commit the same evils themselves. Instead of allowing direct hard disk access to their devices, they'd rather subject us to their vendor lockin, relying on their crummy proprietary software packages to put our music on our players. Instead of taking the opportunity to see Apple as good in certain ways, but needing an alternative, they release me too players. Anyone who buys one of these devices which aren't compatible across platform and are completely the opposite of open are helping make the problem larger.

    Cue the iPhone, which at first I thought was a return to sanity for phone makers. I thought it at first to be the end of having to "download" ringtones and graphics and having to "download and purchase" everything that you could easily put on for free. (BTW, check out mbuzzy.com to see if you can at least kind of get away with putting your own ringtones on your phone without paying an arm and a leg.) I thought it was the end of the "you are basically just leasing my phone, now pay sucker" policies that phone makers seem to have with telecom companies. But it appears that Apple because of need, greed, or whatever it is has continued to placate these forces that exist to thwart the customers abilities. Apple, in the end, is seen as I thought all along a stark enemy to openness.

    I won't buy an overpriced "smartphone" that's dumb as a brick when it really gets down to it. Maybe some phone maker will finally get the clue, that the telecom companies, are, in the end, going to have to give up this crappy ringtones, graphics, apps and pay to email your own pictures to yourself market. Until then, I'll take the cheapest phone I can tolerate.

    (The problem I find with alternative smartphones isn't the openness but rather the storage space and costs. I can't replace my mp3 player with a 1gb SD stick, 8gb was barely gonna cut it (mine is a 20gb), when will a company implement a smart phone with a larger hard drive for media applications? The main purpose is to have an all purpose device so that you don't have to carry around 5 different ones, if it's a replacement for nothing, it's useless.)

  • Re:Right... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:16AM (#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.
  • by FroBugg (24957) on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:58AM (#17574306) Homepage
    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.
  • Re:Horrible. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 10Ghz (453478) on Friday January 12, 2007 @11:12AM (#17574536)
    "When it comes to the European market, they have already done that through their lack of 3G support and text messaging client."

    um, it does have SMS-client. As to 3G.... Who cares? I use my phone for lots if things, including websurfing and email. And my service includes 3G. And my phone supports 3G. And I switched it off withen 12 hours of getting the phone. Not because it costs money (my employer pays my bills), but because it sucks battery-life.

    Right now, 3G is just a tickbox-feature. Operators and customers "want it", when in real life they have no use for it.
  • Re:Horrible. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by beef curtains (792692) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:46PM (#17580442)

    While I respect your desire for third-party apps on a phone, I personally just don't see the point, and definitely don't think this is newsworthy for the majority of iPhone's potential buyers. Slashdot readers, absolutely. But for management consultants (and other "look how busy I am" types), real estate agents, sales people, or, as Jobs noted in TFA, soccer moms, this shouldn't matter or affect sales.

    I have a Treo 700p now, and while there are hundreds (thousands?) of third-party PalmOS apps out there, I have yet to install a single one. I want web, e-mail, calendar, SMS and, what's that last one? Oh yeah, phone functionality (haha!).

    I could see people needing specialized third-party apps for business purposes (i.e. software to run add-ons like barcode scanners, diagnostics tools, pharmacists' drug reference database apps, etc.). But short of games, I just don't see the average iPhone buyer really noticing that they don't have the ability to install third-party apps.

    But now that this is "big news," I can see a handful of people making a lot of noise about how the iPhone "sucks" because of this restriction...sort of like the handful of people that make a lot of noise because iPod lacks an FM tuner (which is another thing I just don't understand...FM radio, with the exception of NPR, is what drove me to purchase an iPod. Why would I want my oasis of commercial-free, non-crap music to contain an FM tuner?!).

    If the iPhone (or whatever it'll be called once Cisco's done taking Apple through the lawsuit wringer) offers everything Steve said it would, I plan on getting in line as soon as it's available.

  • "It runs OS X!" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SpotBug (228742) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:01PM (#17580748)
    What I think is extra funny about this is that, during the keynote speach, Steve Jobs made a big deal of the fact that the iPhone runs OS X and the crowd was very impressed by that. Now, I wonder what Steve Jobs thought the crowd was thinking when he told them that the iPhone "runs OS X".

    He must have thought, "Cool. People like using OS X so much that the mere fact that we used it on this phone has them all giddy."

    Rather than (the more obvious), "People are really excited about the possibility of being able to run a great variety of apps that utilizes various OS X APIs on this thing."
  • Re:Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NuShrike (561140) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:20PM (#17583172)
    Newflash, people all over the world who take pictures using their 3 megapixel and up celphones aren't looking for professional looking pictures.

    All they want is something that looks good enough to share around by MMS messages, archive as backgrounds on the phone, or something that could be printed out as a sticker.

    Otherwise, why do people even bother buying the 7.1 megapixel junk-compact cameras these days being pumped out by Canon, Panasonic, Sony, etc? SAME THING.

    Anything 7.1 and up and using a tiny CCD gets the same quality as a celphone camera. Obviously, they don't care about faster optics nor less noisy sensors.

    Hell, I shudder anytime I see a new tiny Cybershot or Lumix because I know how bad their sensors are.
  • by jonfromspace (179394) <jonwilkins@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:12PM (#17584454)
    I agree that users in Asia and europe are far ahead in terms of what they are able to use their phones for, however, most of these functions (exclusive of things like video conferencing )are at the service provider level, and can be done with an moderatly priced Motorola or Nokia. There are very few phones available that pack more features than the iPhone has and there are none that I have ever seen that even come close to the iphone in terms of design.

    I am not saying that the iPhone will be the blackberry/windows PDA killer that some claim. Hell, I think that they will be lucky to capture .5% of the market, much less the 1% that Jobs was talking about. However, for the North American poweruser/gadget junkie the iPhone is very attractive indeed.
  • by iendedi (687301) on Sunday January 14, 2007 @02:25AM (#17600408) Journal
    Seems like they don't even have regular text iChat, just that SMS cash-cow thing. Don't pretend that there could be any technical reasons for this.
    Clearly, iChat would be seen as a threat to Cingular's revenue stream. It's pretty obvious why this wasn't included. That is an artifact of the Network monopoly marketplace we live in. It sucks, but it is what it is.

    However, I know what Steve is doing. He knows that he cannot deploy a cellphone without a network. But once there are enough users of iPhones, his negotiating position will change. People will become loyal to the iPhone product, willing to switch networks rather than switch phones. The two year window with Cingular is the gestation time for this to happen. After that, you can bet your *ss that iChat and all manner of liberation will emerge. If it doesn't, then people will abandon iPhone for similar products guaranteed to ship from the likes of Nokia, Samsung and Motorola.

    Add-on software from Apple and certified partners is likely to happen, but don't expect anything that does not include some extra profit margin increase for the interested powers, that's Apple (i wonder if they will charge for firmware updates, OS X minor versions, anyone?), the network providers (i would be surprised if the projected price would not include some serious deduction beyond the usual 24-months-contract premium, so they have even more influence than with Nokia et al) and maybe The iTMS-Buddies.
    I would like to believe that Apple knows what customers want well enough to avoid that, but companies such as Cingular definitely do not.

    I agree with you that there are a lot more good reasons for closedness in a phone device than in a general purpose computer (the number of evil reasons stays roughly the same with the different device classes), but don't claim that closedness would be the only way.
    No, it isn't the only way. But it is the only sane way to enter the intensely competitive and huge cellphone market. A privacy disaster or virus disaster (etc..) would quickly eliminate Apple from carving out any significant piece of that market. Steve is entering with all the control in his pocket in order to ensure a successful birth. Wait for the child to grow a bit, it will open up.

    The Apple phone is certainly an impressive device and the software could have an advantage here and there, but the way in which fanpeople deny the possibility of shortcomings and the prior existence of other touchscreen smartphones (that basically differ in having a few more tactile keys and lacking pointless 3d-GUI FX in the media player) is just another great example of the reality distortion field at work.
    Did you see the keynote? Did you notice how radically more advanced the user interface is? This isn't a small advancement.

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