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iPhone To Allow 3rd-Party Development 215

Posted by kdawson
from the let-us-at-it dept.
Anarchysoft writes "In an exciting shift from previous statements, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed at the D Conference that 3rd-party development will be supported on the iPhone. Questions remain as to whether the opening of the platform, slated for later this year, will be through Dashboard-like widgets or a separate SDK."
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iPhone To Allow 3rd-Party Development

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  • A much better link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:25PM (#19403665) Homepage Journal
    This has been covered better and in more detail [arstechnica.com] by Ars' John Siracusa. In short, Apple actually wants to allow third-party apps on the iPhone, and developers are salivating at the thought, since (beside it being sexy) it'd be much easier to develop for the "real OS X" that runs on the iPhone than some kludgy mobile phone OS. The problems are two-fold:

    1. Cellular networks are fragile. Much more fragile than the larger internet. They tend toward monoculture and proprietary systems, and haven't had the shakedown that standard internet network hardware and protocols have had. So Jobs' quote about him 'not wanting third-party apps bringing Cingular's network down' actually makes some sense (some mobile phone applications have more-or-less done this in the past). And

    2. Apple simply doesn't have the design tools, and more importantly, the user interface guidelines, ready for developers.

    So, third-party apps on the iPhone will happen. Just in a very measured way.

    Here's Siracusa:

    Not only does Apple have to figure out what makes a good iPhone application, it has to actually create the APIs to produce such a thing. Okay, so no scroll bars, but surely there will be some standard way of scrolling, some standard gesture recognition engine, and so on. Apple has to create all this, if only for its own internal sanity, before it can really get cranking on iPhone application development.

    And like the Mac GUI before it, there will be fits and starts, dead-ends, and bad ideas to shake out in the first few years. Also, an IDE would be nice. Xcode, sure, but some sort of simulator or remote debugger system would help. And, whoops, let's keep revising all those APIs and that IDE to match the best practices as they evolve. Oh, and by the way, we need to ship something that works by June 29th.

    Viewed in this context, the calls for third-party iPhone development, and Apple's reaction to them, start to make a bit more sense. It's the prototypical fanboy mistake to imagine that the mothership has infinite resources and skills, and any lack of satisfaction is malicious. The fact is, Apple could not provide a comprehensive third-party iPhone development environment on par with what Mac developers have come to expect by June 29th, even if it wanted to do such a thing--and there are many sound reasons not to. This stuff all needs time to cook.

    In the meantime, Mac developers will have to be happy with some simple, widget-like WebKit-base development at WWDC this year. That'll also be a nice gesture of good faith from Apple.
    • One approach (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:30PM (#19403723)
      One thing Apple could do is allow software development, but only allow HTTP calls out of said apps - that way it would allow Cingular to shape traffic and not risk wonkiness from raw TCP handling by applications.

      I'd be happy enough with an API that let me develop a simple interface that could store some data locally and sync with a computer, so even no network access for applications at all would be of some use (though obviously as the device is very network centric it would not be nearly as fun).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ncc74656 (45571) *

        One thing Apple could do is allow software development, but only allow HTTP calls out of said apps

        That'd be less than useless...how are you going to do mail, SSH, VNC, or whatever if everything but HTTP traffic is blocked?

      • Re:One approach (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mattsson (105422) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:38PM (#19405495) Homepage Journal
        Why would applications on an Apple-phone accessing the internet via tcp-ip sockets be more harmful than all the existing phones that enable just that?
        On my sony-ericsson W810 I've installed things like a webbrowser, a Google-earth-like app, a ssh/telnet-client, a gps-map software, a ICQ/MSN/etc-IM app, all of which access the internet via tcp-ip, none of which has ever brought down the mobile network.

        I can see how they'd be nervous about letting 3:rd party software talk directly to the mobile network, but tcp-ip access for 3:rd party software is already common stuff in mainstream, middle-end mobiles via J2ME MIDP 2.0 [sun.com].
        • I agree, other apps appear on other mobile phones all the time. I'm just offering alternatives for how Apple could work things if the problem is as they stated.

          Perhaps the iPhone would offer a lower level of access to the network than other device APIs, which are not straight up UNIX after alll...
      • by ruiner13 (527499)
        There are lots of applications that don't even need to talk to anything directly. A word processor, for instance. As long as file transfer works (which I assume it does), it can be used for that purpose. If Apple's only real concern was overloading the cell phone network, there would be no reason to not allow this kind of development.

        I really think they were just waiting until they had a proper development environment for the phone to allow proper development. Getting Java running on this would be triv
      • Windows Mobile, Palm, Linux, and Nokia's Symbian devices all are fully programmable and let you make arbitrary network connections. Nokia gives you Python and C for Symbian. Heck, talk about "programmable devices on the cellular network", I'm writing this through the cellular network from a MacBook Pro. And if your carrier doesn't offer the phone you want, you can use an unlocked phone on any of the GSM carriers (AT&T/Cingular being one of them). If the carrier wants to limit your network connections,
        • Just because you (or even I) could make use of a fuller programming environment (I've programmed some Palm apps before, and also some J2ME applications for cell phones) does not mean that the ability to craft Dashboard applications and deploy them to the iPhone is not enough for most people.
    • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:30PM (#19403729)

      So, third-party apps on the iPhone will happen. Just in a very measured way.

      Ballocks. The saw the intense negative criticism the original decision produced and changed their minds. The reason a sdk isn't available is because they'd never planned for one originally.

      • by John Whitley (6067) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @06:05PM (#19404147) Homepage

        The reason a sdk isn't available is because they'd never planned for one originally.
        Yes, you're a troll. But let me be clear about the kind: you have identified yourself as a gum-flapping moron who's never shipped code worth a damn in your life, especially an SDK for external developers. (And before anyone asks, yes, I have done both. In the same product, even.)

        It's VERY hard to ship a new embedded platform in a timely manner with an SDK that supports arbitrary third-party development for a new product. So hard, that it's almost never the right answer to hold off ship to wait for an SDK. An organization is much better off shipping the working, robust 1.0 product into customer's hands and use that experience to build a quality SDK and toolchain. The platform itself is a sea of unknown problem domains ("arr, here be dragons!") for a "version 1.0" product like the iPhone.

        • by packeteer (566398)
          You have a very insightful perspective on the subject but let me show you a different way of looking at it. You are right that it is very hard to ship the product with the SDK but your advice to ship without the SDK may or may not be a good idea. On some products the SDK won't make or break the product, on others it will. In my opinion the iPhone is a product that NEEDS this SDK. If Apple takes your advice and ships the product with developers far away from creating any applications I think sales will f
        • by geekoid (135745)
          and if they weren't planning to, it would be harder still.

          Your post in no way counters his position. In fact, it supports it.

          Oh, I have released systems and SDKs at the same time. It's hard, but not impossible. What it takes is planning and good management processes.

        • Something that is already fairly well-defined & well-known, something that is sandboxed away from the underlying newness. That'll give customers some satisfaction while giving you the time to clean up and prepare the full SDK (which you're already trialling with a few close partners).

          In fact, why not some sort of HTML-based mini-apps, like widgets perhaps? Oh wait...

          • by dr.badass (25287)
            In fact, why not some sort of HTML-based mini-apps, like widgets perhaps? Oh wait...

            Oh, but then they'd have to ship new developer tools for making widgets. Oh wait [apple.com]...
            Well, still, developers wouldn't feel limited if they had to do everything in JavaScript. If only you could use Cocoa in a widget. Oh wait [apple.com]...
        • developing the SDK (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @01:08AM (#19407179) Homepage Journal
          You're right on target. Furthermore, Apple has a long history, going back to the founding of NeXT, of being exceedingly careful with the publication of new API and SDK. They typically develop at least one application which makes extensive use of the new API, and ship that application first. Then they get feedback on the application, go through another app development cycle, improve the API, etc. Finally, after they are very happy internally with the API, they might publish a public version of it in a developer release of the next release of the OS, and get feedback from developers, incorporate that feedback to the extent possible, and then ship the API. Then, they sometimes go through that cycle again with the next release of the OS before the API has really settled.

          This is a somewhat painful process for those of us on the outside, and it normally takes a couple years before the API is published. However, it has resulted in API which, on the whole, are widely respected by talented developers with experience on multiple platforms. Some of those API have evolved only modestly since initial creation, some of those over 15 years ago, and are still regarded as advanced and modern.

          It's also clear that Apple will need to accelerate this process a bit for the iPhone, simply because they want to develop *several* applications internally. They need the API and developer tools themselves. The good news is that this will also give them the experience with making different kinds of apps which will help round out and debug the API faster. We won't need to wait two years for the first version of the API. There is a non-zero chance we might see it, or at least hear about it, at WWDC 2007, the Cocoa API, not merely the Widget API.

          It's clear that Apple has legitimate reasons for wanting to get the application development stuff "right" on the iPhone. The app market on most of the other cell phone platforms is really a disaster in the making. In addition to zillions of apps that are utter crap, which drag performance of the device down to unbearably slow, which crash and which feature generally poorly integrated UI, there is the looming threat of malware. There have already been a few malware incidents, and one of these days there will be a big, big malware incident. Apple doesn't want to be the platform that got nailed first. They don't want to get nailed at all.

          Apple was intentionally vague about the SDK at the announcement of the iPhone because they didn't have all the answers lined up, really, none of them. But there will be a 3rd part app market at some point. And it will be huge.
        • by LKM (227954)
          You're right, SDKs are damn hard, especially since you pay hugely for any mistakes. It took several years for the Mac OS X SDK to stabilize, and they had to keep supporting mistakes for a long time, all while still breaking third-party apps with new releases.

          In our own product, we have the luxury of being able to break the SDK with new releases, because our customers don't just update when new versions are out. Apple does not have this luxury, and getting the SDK right is a hard job. Getting the iPhone out
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lmpeters (892805)
        An easy start for Apple would be to put a Java runtime environment on the iPhone. Then people could start developing third-party apps for the iPhone right now.
        • by jesboat (64736)
          Who here's written a JRE? Anyone?
          • by VP (32928)
            Apple has - they have one as part of OS X.
          • by lmpeters (892805)
            You're missing my point. If there is already a build of the JRE for Mac OS X on PowerPC, and a build for Mac OS X on Intel, would it really be so hard to make a build for Mac OS X on ARM? Maybe it would be hard, but it shouldn't be.
            • by jesboat (64736)
              Quite possibly....

              JIT would be different. Assuming they decided to scrap it for v1.0, they'd still need to figure out the UI, which would be very hard, given that the iPhone UI doesn't look anything like a normal OSX UI. If they could port AWT and somehow hack Swing into working nicely, that'd be one route. Another would be to write their own libraries, but that's at least as difficult as a full SDK, since they've almost undoubtedly not written the original code in Java.

              (On the other hand, it does occur to
        • Multitouch support? UI Guidelines? Java on the iPhone is not going to happen.
      • You're asserting something as fact. Do you have actual knowledge to back up what you claim to know? Or are you just plain speculating?

        I'm sure we know the answers to those questions, but let's see if you'll admit the truth.

        David
      • What original decision? It was never specified that the iPhone would be completely closed to developers. In fact, the integration with Google Maps points to exactly the opposite--third party services were integral to generating the hype and producing the product.

        What was (honestly) disclosed was that no decision had been made about how open the phone would be to third-party developers. Obviously there would be lots of geeks and idiot bloggers howling for a completely open device blah blah. It's not like
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:48PM (#19403949) Homepage Journal
      "1. Cellular networks are fragile. Much more fragile than the larger internet. They tend toward monoculture and proprietary systems, and haven't had the shakedown that standard internet network hardware and protocols have had. So Jobs' quote about him 'not wanting third-party apps bringing Cingular's network down' actually makes some sense (some mobile phone applications have more-or-less done this in the past)."
      Not really. Cingular offers several SmartPhones like the Treo and the Samsung Blackjack that run both Palm OS and Windows Mobile. You can add software for both those with little effort. You can even write your own.
      I would say your statment is "optimistic" at best.
      A far more likely idea is simply that AT&T and Apple wanted to make a lot of money from selling software for the iPhone for a while. Good choice on Apples part to decide that making the developers happy would pay off more in the long run.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by trwww (545291)

      Cellular networks are fragile. Much more fragile than the larger internet. They tend toward monoculture and proprietary systems, and haven't had the shakedown that standard internet network hardware and protocols have had. So Jobs' quote about him 'not wanting third-party apps bringing Cingular's network down' actually makes some sense (some mobile phone applications have more-or-less done this in the past).

      I have to disagree. I've been using and developing apps for Windows Mobile smartphones for almost tw

    • Cellular networks are fragile. Much more fragile than the larger internet.

      What backing do you offer for this claim? Other posters on /. seem to be taking it as fact with nothing standing behind it.

      The rest of what you're getting at is really no different from any other non-free software—the proprietors set the allowable limits of development via development kits.

    • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@ch r o m a b l u e . net> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @07:18PM (#19404871)

      Cellular networks are fragile. Much more fragile than the larger internet. They tend toward monoculture and proprietary systems, and haven't had the shakedown that standard internet network hardware and protocols have had. So Jobs' quote about him 'not wanting third-party apps bringing Cingular's network down' actually makes some sense (some mobile phone applications have more-or-less done this in the past). And

      Bullshit. Utter crap. Why is there this paranoia about the iPhone, when Symbian, Windows CE/Mobile have allowed this for years? There is no way an application on a device should or could bring down a base station, let alone a cell network.

      Oh, and as for this gem:

      bringing Cingular's network down' actually makes some sense (some mobile phone applications have more-or-less done this in the past)

      Cite. Go on. I would so so love to see a citation of any evidence of this. Any, whatsoever.

      • by Sandor at the Zoo (98013) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:05PM (#19405211)

        Cite. Go on. I would so so love to see a citation of any evidence of this. Any, whatsoever.

        I can't give you a cite since it wasn't public, but I was there when the company had to roll out a quick release for an email client that was hitting the network at the same time every morning, from some tens of thousands of handsets. With cell time synchronization, that meant exactly the same time every morning, which was bringing down the C******* server that handed out data connection contexts.

        Like you, I wouldn't have believed that you could bring down a cell network, but there you go. I suppose it wasn't really the whole network, but whatever.

        Maybe they have more than one server handing out contexts now. Maybe not.

        • by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @01:40AM (#19407377) Homepage Journal
          There have been a number of incidents with cell phone networks like this. The service providers are really freaky paranoid about updating software on the switches and other network components, and are utterly loathe to update the firmware on the cell phones partly because they live in constant fear of unintended consequences of change. The change control procedures on the software systems for the network devices are mind numbing.

          These incidents don't get published, just like most worm outbreaks in large corporate and government networks don't get published. I know a lot of them happened because I saw them first hand. Can't prove them to some random snit on Slashdot, however. The victims are often more afraid of the bad publicity than anything else that could result from an incident, and they eschew publicity. (The world would probably be a better place if they did share these experiences more widely, because lessons could be learned, software and procedures improved, etc., but that's not how managers of bureaucratic organizations operate just yet.)

          To those demanding to see a link, I say: Well, since most of the people who actually know things like this are restricted by NDA agreements and also have the integrity to honor those agreements, perhaps first, you prove to us that pluto exists. I'm not talking about some white dot that could be a pin prick on a slide. You don't really know that Pluto exists, and nobody here has time to educate you in both epistemology and information technology so that you understand enough that we can "prove" everything to your pathetic satisfaction. Before mouthing off and demanding a link as though that constituted proof, maybe you should start by asking yourselves, "hrm... why would he lie about this?" If there are no compelling motivations for a big lie, then maybe, just maybe, he's not lying. Or maybe you don't believe him because you yourselves lie so often that you don't believe anyone else? What a sad life that must be.
      • You write an app the shares your music with anyone on the network.
        Then 1,000,000 people are constantly hitting the network hoping to get your music.
        Boom, saturation an the nearest node.

        OR maybe they just don't want people writing apps that shares their music.
      • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)
        Don't forget the Treo. People have been running applications on Palm OS-based cell phones for over five years now, on practically every carrier network, and it provides none of the modern security features of Symbian and Windows Mobile.

        This security excuse is a massive red herring. Besides, if it were true, it would not be very flattering for Apple, for it would mean one or more of several possibilities:

        1. The iPhone is not really running OS X, and lacks the security model of Darwin / BSD.
        2. The iPhone is r
    • Have no restrictions? The two OSs, no matter how they compare to OS X, have a plethora of apps, a good deal of them opensourced, available, with open SDKs and so on. You can code anything you want for Symbian and Windows Mobile platforms. So this excuse that an open iPhone will "bring the network down" doesn't apply, really, or it would have hindered the other platforms too.
      • I'm guessing you've never had to wait in line for Nokia to approve a developer certificate for anything remotely more complicated than a hello world script. Ok, it's not quite that bad, but if you are wanting to change something as simple as the operator logo, browse certain directories, or access a few of the multi-media functions, it's not going to happen unless you have a few kilograms of cash in hand, and a good deal of patience.

        I would presume the iPhone might use the same certificate based crap that N
    • some mobile phone applications have more-or-less done this in the past

      If you could point me to a story about a time this has actually happened, I would love to read it. How is this even possible? It's like an application "breaking the internet." There is massive traffic shaping done on cellular data networks and the OS never has raw bit-writing ability to the cell network; everything is always done through a tightly-locked proprietary software interface.

      Oh, and by the way, we need to ship something that
  • One Word: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:35PM (#19403797) Journal
    Skype.

    If this critter has WiFi, and someone ports Skype to it, a damned fine radical shift in cell communications is very possible. While it wouldn't work outside of large metro areas (ones with lots of free WiFi, anyway), it would make phone companies, contracts, and all the BS that goes with 'em rather obsolete, methinks.

    (then again, we'd likely see folks like Verizon et al start lobbying city councils to stop putting in free wifi, like Qwest and Comcast did when Utah began it's UTOPIA project of multiple city-funded fiber-to-the-doorstep projects all linked together).

    Either way, it'd be damned cool, IMHO.

    /P

    • Two words: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MacEnvy (549188) <jbocinski@bociEU ... m minus math_god> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:39PM (#19403851) Journal
      802.11 sniffer
      That's what I've been waiting for in iPhone news. Sure, there's the Oqo and some Axim-type devices that work for this, but very few that can harness the power of a terminal window, which I've been told (by an Apple higher ed employee) we'll be able to do on the iPhone.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Yes, and the phone companies know this.

      Once easy to access fee wi-fi hit's saturation, the phone companies become an emergency/ foreign access niche.

      And even then it would only be to countries that don't have saturation.
      A forward thinking CEO would embrace it and make money.

    • Re:One Word: (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @05:49PM (#19403969)
      a forced 2 year voice and data plan will stop that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blhack (921171)
      Unfortunately, the iPhone will NEVER become that great skypable device in the sky that we have all been waiting for for so long now. Apple is a business and a publicly traded one at that. If their phones became that cell-killer device, their contract with cingular would go bye-bye in a big huge hurry. Not to mention that no cell provider would want to come near the phone if that ever happens.

      I am really shocked and, frankly, kindof disappointed in you here slashdot. The majority of you seem to have play
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fishboy (81833)

        Unfortunately, the iPhone will NEVER become that great skypable device in the sky that we have all been waiting for for so long now. Apple is a business and a publicly traded one at that. If their phones became that cell-killer device, their contract with cingular would go bye-bye in a big huge hurry. Not to mention that no cell provider would want to come near the phone if that ever happens.

        But it won't be because of some little contract with Cingular. You think that something Skype-like is going to kil

        • "The current arrangement will be extremely profitable to Cingular"; how do you know this, without knowing how much Cingular had to pay?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by filterban (916724)
      You're right, and you have to know that Cingular is well aware of this issue.


      The minute someone makes Skype for a WiFi cellphone is the minute people start using fewer minutes.


      Of course, Cingular's still getting your money because you signed a 2 year contract to get the phone in the first place.


      What will be really interesting is if Openmoko takes off. Then, there's no 2 year contract... say goodbye to margins!

      • by jesboat (64736)
        Mod parent up. (He's pointed out, if you haven't noticed, that the more people start using things like iPhone for Skype, the less cell service they'll be using even though they'll still be paying monthly fees. Or, in Slashdot terms,

        <perspective of="cell phone companies">
        1) Spend less on providing customers service.
        2) Charge them the same amount
        3) ???
        4) Profit!
        </perspective>

        )
    • And so does my wife.

      Hers is from Nokia, mine is from HTC (I'm posting from it). They both have wifi and run Skype (and SIP, which IMO is better). They both have 3G too. Mine also has a full touchscreen and keyboard.

      What you're asking for has been available for years. All Apple has done is put a (very) slick UI on it. It's nice, but I'm still waiting for the paradigm shift to kick in.
      • by Telvin_3d (855514)
        "All Apple has done is put a (very) slick UI on it. It's nice, but I'm still waiting for the paradigm shift to kick in." ...said everybody when the iPod came out. Is anyone reasonable expecting a market change as big from the iPhone? I know I'm not. All the same, it is hard to underestimate the value of a good UI. There is a huge distance between having a feature and having the same feature intelligently implemented and easy to use. Personaly, if a feature is inconvientent enough to use, it may as well
    • Re:One Word: (Score:4, Informative)

      by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@ch r o m a b l u e . net> on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @07:21PM (#19404889)
      You are, uhhh, aware that Skype is already available to several mobile devices, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 2nd Post! (213333)
      Why would you need to port Skype when iChat comes free with the iPhone?

      iChat can do video with all other cam equipped Macs and voice with all mic equipped Macs.

      On top of that, it can interoperate with the AOL video/voice client.
    • by metamatic (202216)
      I've got Google Talk and Gizmo on my Nokia N800, which can be picked up for about half the price of an iPhone. It has a much better screen for web browsing, and pairs with any Bluetooth mobile phone if you want to do wireless data.
  • I, for one, balked at the idea of having such a sweet platform to develop nifty apps for, but no 3rd-party development allowed?? Either they release a full API for garage developers or I won't consider buying one. I still think the 2-year commitment to #%^&! Cingular is a bad enough 'deal'. I'm just freaked out at what the battery life is like. I can't see getting more than 2 hours of full use from it before charging again.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      oh noes! 100 people won't buy the iPhone! failure is sure to follow!
    • Nice sig.

      - Divisionbyzero
    • by Therlin (126989)
      I'm also afraid about the battery life, which is the reason why I'll wait for user reviews before I consider it. I find it interesting that, as far as I know, Apple has not officially released any battery life numbers.
  • "I can understand their concern where they don't want after-market apps taking down the whole phone network," said iClip developer John Casasanta, who called last week's comments by Jobs "fantastic."


    Wait... did this guy just insinuate that an app on one guy's iPhone is enough to take down all of AT&T/Cingular's network? Or did someone add the word "network" afterwards? Suddenly I have a lot less faith in iClip (whatever it is) being a quality app...
    • Misbehaved applications or operating systems, distributed widely, can perform the accidental equivalent of accidental Denial of Service attacks. It happens. If it happened on the iPhone, Apple might suffer greatly. Their stock price would plummet. Sales might lag for months. They might find it harder to get agreements with carriers.

      Just because Symbian, PalmOS, and Windows Mobile platforms allow uncontrolled developent and distribution of 3rd party applications doesn't means that this isn't a somewha
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @06:09PM (#19404195)

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed at the D Conference that 3rd-party development will be supported on the iPhone.


    In modern marketing Steve Jobs has no equal. I think you'd have to go back all the way back to P.T. Barnum to find a similar exec in a similar industry (entertainment) who marketed his wares so effectively with personal announcements.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SashaMan (263632)
      Bullshit. I keep seeing all of these business articles talking about how Jobs is such a great salesman, and while he is, that is not the reason for Apple's resurgence in the past 7-8 years. More than his salesmanship, Jobs fanatical focus on building great products is why everyone is talking about Apple. People are excited about the iPhone not just because it's flat and shiny, but because it provides a level of functionality and user experience (at least as its been depicted so far) that no other cell phone
      • by p0tat03 (985078)

        Agreed. Apple (and Jobs) has consistently for the last few years been able to walk the walk and talk the talk. When they say something is going to kick ass, it generally does. Where some companies come up with overhyped crap, or under-marketed gems of technology, Apple seems to have mastered both sides of the spectrum.

  • by drfrog (145882) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @06:11PM (#19404221) Homepage
    #EOF
  • The reason Apple is opening up to third party developers is that Apple does want to retain whatever control they can over the platform. The iPhone will be opened up anyway whether it's some very skilled h4x70r or a professional is the only difference. By releasing a dev kit (they'll all but have to) they can retain a modicum of control over what is developed and how it will be deployed. This isn't to say that there won't be hacks available but at least whatever useful programs are written will be part of
  • OpenMoko (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cxreg (44671)
    I know Apple is all trendy and hipster-friendly, but I'm much more excited for the OpenMoko [openmoko.org] platform.
  • When the iPhone was announced and later after i had a quick play with one, I had made the assumption that there would be a development env for it. I guess part of that stems from owning a palm pilot, etc you just make the assumption that you'll be able to write your own applications for it.

    So to me the supprise factor of this article was more "oh, i didnt realise there was a question about that in the first place", but its good to know it'll be capable of it for sure.

    Suprisingly, this article actually made
  • Well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by skinfitz (564041) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @07:22PM (#19404899) Journal
    Steve Jobs revealed at the D Conference that 3rd-party development will be supported on the iPhone

    Maybe I'll get one after all then.

    What is the point of a portable computer as powerful as the iPhone if it can't run 3rd party apps?
    • What is the point of a portable computer as powerful as the iPhone if it can't run 3rd party apps?

      Having preloaded applications that are actually good enough that you want to use them instead of third party apps?

      Apple has managed this with OS X, would it be so hard to believe they could manage with the iPhone?

      Sure it's nice to extend functionality, but the apps the iPhone ship with already offer a lot of useful features - including a web browser which goes a long way to obliviating the need for many third p
      • by Mattsson (105422)
        OS X doesn't come with applications that do more than a very small subset of the functions I want.
        When I use OS X, most applications are 3:rd party.
        So, no, I do not think I'd trust Apple to preload the Iphone with the applications I would want it to have.
        • OS X doesn't come with applications that do more than a very small subset of the functions I want.

          Yes but we are not talking about a full computer. We are talking about a phone. Or at least a consumer device in a phone form factor.

          It doesn't come with everything I would ever want either. But in aggregate, it comes with mostly what people need, along with a lot of what people would want - from an iPod, web browser, and phone. That's true enough for me that I'm getting one, 3rd party apps or no - again, a
      • by skinfitz (564041)
        Having preloaded applications that are actually good enough that you want to use them instead of third party apps?

        That is assuming that the included apps will cover every possible use of such a device, and that any third party apps will only be duplicating the built in functionality. I don't care how good a built in photo or map app is, it isn't going to help with language translation or give me the ability to make VoIP calls.

        Apple has managed this with OS X, would it be so hard to believe they could
        • You blew any point you might have had by not choosing to address my point that many applications you might otherwise develop or buy for a PDA can be delivered over the web. Web 2.0. Perhaps you've heard of it? As in...

          That is assuming that the included apps will cover every possible use of such a device, and that any third party apps will only be duplicating the built in functionality. I don't care how good a built in photo or map app is, it isn't going to help with language translation or give me the ab
  • by burris (122191)
    All along Apple has planned to support 3rd party apps on the iPhone the same way they support them with iTunes/iPod: you can't get the SDK without signing a restrictive contract. A contract that gives Apple the final say on whether or not you can ship your application. Enforced through copyright; your app, when linked to their SDK, has stuff that Apple has exclusive rights over so you can't just get a copy of the SDK from a friend and avoid signing the contract. Some people are happy with that but it's
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      And god bless them for it. It's the reason their platform is famous for its degree of simplicity, stability, and high quality. I'm not really interested in whatever backwater goofball app you'd concoct that would crash my iPhone.
      • by Mattsson (105422)
        So if I'm not satisfied with what Apple chooses for me, I shouldn't be allowed to develop something that does?
        If you're not interested in non Apple-applications, you wouldn't download it anyway, right?
        Freedom of choice is good, even if it lets you make choices others wouldn't.
    • *That* was modded informative?

      It's just conjecture, guesswork and FUD.

      Or is there some link to the iPhone SDK contract that burris can provide to prove the point? If not, then this is just a few paragraphs of FUD.
  • Dashboard, duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dr.badass (25287) on Tuesday June 05, 2007 @08:30PM (#19405429) Homepage
    Has anyone seriously believed that there wouldn't be third-party development for the iPhone? I was under the impression that the answer to that question was pretty obvious. The only question has been what form it would take, and even that is pretty obvious if you just look at the thing: Dashboard!

    For starters, the interface has a lot of the same visual elements as Dashboard. The grille/tray, rounded-glass squares, identical icons. Hell, identical set of apps as the default set of Dashboard widgets. Dead giveaway. And why shouldn't it be the same set of apps? Apart from email, the main reason to have an internet-connected phone is for quickly fetching bite-sized chunks of information: exactly the sort of thing that widgets are good for.

    Consider also that typical widgets take up very little memory and about the same amount of screen real estate as is available on the iPhone. On a Mac, this is because it is expected that you'll be looking at a bunch at the same time, but on the iPhone it's a perfect fit. For existing widgets, it's trivial to either modify the interface to fit the iPhone's screen or load a different interface depending on the platform.

    There's no reason why every existing widget couldn't easily be made to run on iPhone, something that isn't true for existing desktop applications. That means thousands of applications available as soon as Apple allows it. Hell, developers don't even need to own or have access to an iPhone to be able to write applications for it. And before anyone screams "JavaScript Sucks", remember that Dashboard widgets can work with Cocoa, too. Off hand I can't think of much that you can't do in a widget. (For a good time, open up the Quartz Composer template included with Dashcode and ask yourself how much fun it would be if you could touch the cube.)

    I know there a lot of doubters, but I think that iPhone is going to become the easiest mobile platform to develop third-party apps for.
  • If you want Dashboard-like widgets for your phone, there's WidSets [widsets.com]. They're designed from the ground up for cell phone usage, including cell phone screen sizes and keyboards, and they work on many different cell phones.

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