Print 40 comment(s) - last by HighWing.. on Oct 22 at 1:31 PM

Who says Apple Inc. doesn't have a heart?

Apple Inc. CEO, Steve Jobs posted a letter on Apple's website that left some happy and others scratching their heads. "Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February," Jobs stated in the letter.

This announcement seems in stark contrast to previous Apple policy, including its firmware update v1.1.1, which turns iPhones and iPod Touches with unauthorized third party applications into "iBricks" and in standard phones locks the file system from users installing third party applications.  This update has led to two pending class action lawsuits.

Others may note that February seems like a long time away and wonder at why the SDK will take so long to be released.  Jobs said that the reason for the delay is to make sure the iPhone and iPod Touch are protected against malware and viruses.  The devices are far more vulnerable to virus than most people think according to Jobs.

"Since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target," Jobs continued. He went on to say that the months of patience will be rewarded by He said that the months of patience will be rewarded by "Many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones."

There are a broad array of third party programs for the iPhone and iPod Touch that do everything from instant messaging to phone unlocking.

Third party developers are greeting the news with guarded optimism.  One third party developer, based out of Denver said "I'm thrilled.  I hope it is exactly as they say, full third-party development."

Apple Inc., originally Apple Computer, has had a long history of trying to keep technology proprietary and avoid licensing its designs or allowing third party development.  Many see this as a major reason why it originally fell from dominance in the personal computer market to a small market share.

Apple made no indication, unfortunately for some, that it was going to make any effort to "unbrick" iPhones and iPod Touches that had unauthorized third party apps and had been made into paperweights by the v1.1.1 firmware update.  It did not announce any programs to unfreeze these phones or to provide warranty service for them.

Apple's position appears to be that until developers adopt the official SDK, which will arrive in February, using their applications violates the iPod Touch and iPhone warranties, as they see it as a form of "modification."

Apple has also not stated whether future version of the firmware will retract the change, or whether they will continue to brick iDevices with unauthorized third party applications.

Apple is remaining firm on its stance about unlocking: Unlock your iPhone and update, and you phone will be dead.  If you don't like it, they say, buy a new iPhone and don't unlock it.

Apple will begin selling unlocked iPhones -- but currently in France only, as French law mandates them to.

Despite some people's concerns, many feel this move is a step in the right direction by Apple and demonstrates a degree of learning from their past mistakes.

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End of Days
By Mitch101 on 10/19/2007 10:01:48 AM , Rating: 3
The devices are far more vulnerable to virus than most people think according to Jobs.

Im going to church this weekend. Steve finally acknowledges vulnerable.

Whats next reality that if Apple's computers were as popular as Windows then the viruses, spyware, malware, bots, etc and exploits would be as great as the attacks on Windows users? <CLICKING MY SHOES TOGETHER>

RE: End of Days
By omnicronx on 10/19/2007 10:11:15 AM , Rating: 4
Heh, funny.. Weird though how you don't hear about any Microsoft ppc phones being vulnerable to viruses. I've never heard of anyone having virus or security trouble with their WM5 or WM6 OS. Is the Iphone really that vulnerable?

RE: End of Days
By kelmon on 10/19/2007 10:19:47 AM , Rating: 3
I detect a degree of shit-stirring here but let's answer this by saying that if Apple is making security a priority then that can only be a good thing. I seriously doubt that the iPhone is vulnerable beyond being a highly visible target since so many people seem to love to hate it but it makes sense that they aren't taking chances.

RE: End of Days
By MrDiSante on 10/19/2007 11:32:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure that Apple is making security a priority. To me it seems more that Apple is making keeping a strangle-hold on the device a priority. Choosing which programs you can and can't run makes it harder to get free ring-tones, unlock and then iBrick your iPhone, and of course not pay for all those wonderful iApps.

RE: End of Days
By TomZ on 10/19/2007 10:32:46 AM , Rating: 3
Heh, funny.. Weird though how you don't hear about any Microsoft ppc phones being vulnerable to viruses. I've never heard of anyone having virus or security trouble with their WM5 or WM6 OS. Is the Iphone really that vulnerable?

I think maybe we misinterpreted what Jobs meant by "security." Probably he actually means making the iPhone more tamper-resistant to avoid hacks like those that unlock it. Because otherwise, I agree with you - I don't see why iPhone would be any more or less susceptable to attacks than any other smartphone.

But in any case, if they are truly going to "make it more secure" (in the normal sense of that phrase), then it can only be a good thing. So far they've only made a half-hearted attempt at security on the iPhone.

RE: End of Days
By GaryJohnson on 10/19/2007 12:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
There is malicious software that runs on windows mobile. It's not as prolific as it on windows desktop, but it is out there.

There are fewer points of entry for evil code though, no browser helper objects, no non-executable e-mail attachments that can run malicious code.

RE: End of Days
By omnicronx on 10/19/2007 12:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
you would have to essentially download a virus made specifically for ppc, and run it.. avoiding the 'do you want to run this unauthorized code' message ;)

RE: End of Days
By GaryJohnson on 10/19/2007 12:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yes exactly, but that does include malicious software disguised as something benign like freeware bust-a-move games or tip calculators. This is probably what you'd have to be concerned about with the iPhone as well.

There are other potential points of entry for bad code on windows mobile, like java midlets. I'm not sure exactly how malicious you can be with a midlet though.

RE: End of Days
By kelmon on 10/19/2007 1:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
Some people are going to hate this but I'm very much in favour of it. Rumor (yeah, OK...) has it that both Apple and Nokia are looking to provide central repositories of "blessed" applications that users can install from. The benefit of this is that all applications will have been vetted as being OK, both from a functional and security perspective. The downside of this is that developers won't be able to release applications that Apple doesn't like, either because they are bad applications or perhaps do something that is contrary to Apple's business model (definitely into iffy territory there). It very much depends on how heavy-handed Apple would be as to how well this would work, plus how quickly they can vet applications submitted to them before making them available to Joe Public. It remains to be seen whether this will happen (no doubt the arrival of the SDK will answer that) but there is a lot to be said for only downloading applications from a trusted source.

RE: End of Days
By TomZ on 10/19/2007 1:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think this is realistically the only way you can secure the platform - by having third-party apps certified in the way you describe.

That doesn't exclude, however, the possibility that Apple will allow non-certified apps to executed. In this case, the device might give some extra security warnings compared to certified apps.

RE: End of Days
By kelmon on 10/20/2007 6:08:40 AM , Rating: 2
I think that this is what is coming in Leopard and therefore probably already exists in the iPhone - digital signatures for applications. I guess the theory is that if you download an application that has been appropriately signed then you can feel safer about running it but if the application doesn't have such a signature (or a bad one) then it's a case of "buyer beware" and it's your own choice to take the risk or not.

I do wonder, however, what level of confidence can be assigned to a signed application. What will it take to get a signature and can they be spoofed? Again, I'm sure we'll be hearing much more about this towards the start of 2008.

RE: End of Days
By Ralph The Magician on 10/19/2007 9:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
Is the iPhone really that vulnerable?

Yes. Currently, everything on the iPhone runs as root. All 3rd party apps run as root. That is a HUGE security issue.

I suspect this may be one reason why it will take a while for an SDK. They will have to rewrite the iPhone OS in a way that allows for separate user profiles, and probably create a distinct user for 3rd party applications. I'd expect to see iPhone software update Version 2.0 before we see an SDK.

RE: End of Days
By HighWing on 10/22/2007 1:31:14 PM , Rating: 1
Whats next reality that if Apple's computers were as popular as Windows then the viruses, spyware, malware, bots, etc and exploits would be as great as the attacks on Windows users? <CLICKING MY SHOES TOGETHER>

I've been saying this for years. Particularly when an apple fanboy mentions how Macs don't get, (or don't have as many), viruses as Windows does. Then I follow it up with, if you were a virus writer would you want to write a virus that only affects less then 10% of the user base or something that affects the other 90%?

I just can't believe how some of them, (apple fans) can not seem to understand that point.

By therealnickdanger on 10/19/2007 9:53:01 AM , Rating: 4
" Since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever , it will be a highly visible target," Jobs continued.

It has nothing to do with the hardware or software, right? Does that mean PCs are more advanced than Macs since they are such visible targets? Jobs can dance like Cassius Clay.

RE: Haha
By retrospooty on 10/19/2007 10:41:12 AM , Rating: 5
LOL - true.

Most advanced phone my ass... Most advance User Interface I will give Apple, the UI is truly groundbreaking - but the phone features are 2-3 years old, which is an eternity in the smartphone market.

RE: Haha
By KiDDGuY on 10/22/2007 4:45:30 AM , Rating: 2
... months of patience will be rewarded by "Many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones." ...

apparently the iPhone *crackers* beg to differ ;)

Has a heart?
By killerroach on 10/19/2007 10:23:12 AM , Rating: 4
How about the more pragmatic approach - they're trying to blunt a leading accusation in a class action lawsuit?

Jobs may do some crazy stuff, but he's not stupid (as far as we know). Something tells me he got the head honchos in Cupertino together and said "you know, if we make it look like we're making progress on the least legally-defensible position mentioned in the lawsuit before it goes to trial, we have a better chance of winning this thing, or at least settling out a lot cheaper than what the claim is for."

Or not. Either way, I highly doubt that this change of heart was for purely altruistic reasons.

RE: Has a heart?
By AlphaVirus on 10/19/2007 1:42:10 PM , Rating: 3
I was thinking that also. They are trying to make themselves look pretty before trial days and lessen the blow from the courts. Apple is finally feeling the wrath of whats its like in the limelight.

Alot of people try to say PC vs Mac and M$ vs Apple are good debates but if you look deeper you will see Apple really cant cut it.

If they were a PR company or advertising company, they would be godly. Other than that, well just read all their court filings.

RE: Has a heart?
By teckytech9 on 10/20/2007 2:11:45 AM , Rating: 2
True to the tune.

Apple knows it screwed up badly with the iBricking fiasco. The world is tuned into these proceedings, and it's a real shame that iBricking ever had to happen to anyone anywhere.

A company is always judged by how it treats its customers. IMO, installing a third party application is not tampering with a products warranty. A failed product upgrade always requires a return and replacement.

Darth Jobs and his Imperial Inner Circle will have much more explaining to do.
Dum Dum Da Da..Dum Da Da..Dum Da Da..(The Imperial March)

RE: Has a heart?
By kelmon on 10/20/2007 6:15:14 AM , Rating: 2
Let's be very clear about something here:

No 3rd Party Applications : that's something that you could probably sue for and I'd support that. It's entirely possible that the SDK announcement is intended to go some way to making Apple's legal case easier.

Unlocked & Bricked iPhones : No screw up there by Apple. You much about with the firmware of your hardware and you're on your own with any manufacturer. You can take issue with the locking of the hardware (in which case, don't buy it) but if you take that to the level of messing about with the core software then Apple can't be held accountable if that causes your device to fail.

Jailbreaking the iPhone and installing 3rd Party applications does not brick the iPhone - only unlocking it did. The 1.1.1 firmware update did, however, remove non-purchased ringtones (boo!) and 3rd party application but the phone remained functional as long as it hadn't been SIM unlocked.

Development Resources
By TomZ on 10/19/2007 9:52:23 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe I'm a bit jaded, but I personally think the real situation is that Apple didn't have enough development resources to be able to put together an SDK by the time the iPhone released. Now that iPhone and Leopard are out, they can focus on the SDK, and Jobs can do a little PR finesse to make it like Apple is listening and responding to its customers.

RE: Development Resources
By kelmon on 10/19/2007 10:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
Jaded? No, I don't think so and I'd certainly agree with the statement. It's been no secret that Leopard was delayed because of the iPhone so it certainly seems likely that Apple didn't have the resources to do everything that it wanted when it wanted. As with anything like this you have to prioritize what you want based on what you have available so an SDK would definitely be appropriate for priority #3 on that list.

What remains to be seen is how easily (or not) it will be for existing unauthorised applications to be migrated into the SDK so that they can become "approved". Hopefully this won't take much work but I guess it depends on whether there are going to be changes to the libraries or those those that "approved" applications can use. Given the suggesting that the phone is going to be locked down so that applications can't do anything bad it seems reasonable to suppose that they also won't be able to do everything that they like.

RE: Development Resources
By Bioniccrackmonk on 10/19/2007 10:18:36 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe I'm a bit jaded

Just because you are a bit jaded doesn't mean you can't be a bit right.

Forgot to edit something out
By Etsp on 10/19/2007 10:14:15 AM , Rating: 2
He went on to say that the months of patience will be rewarded by He said that the months of patience will be rewarded by "Many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones."

Obviously something is wrong with that sentence.

RE: Forgot to edit something out
By Etsp on 10/19/2007 2:08:30 PM , Rating: 2
That statement is still messed up...
He went on to say that the months of patience will be rewarded by He said that the months of patience will be rewarded by

RE: Forgot to edit something out
By Etsp on 10/20/2007 8:24:29 AM , Rating: 2
Bah, it's still screwed up. you guys really need to double-check what you post once in a while.

Mindless ones
By rsmech on 10/19/2007 5:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
People can say Apple listens to their customers but I say it's only because it can't think for itself. How many times have their hands been caught in the cookie jar?

Boot camp is free, no wait you need to pay for it.

We installed a network card in your laptop, but wait can you pay us to use it?

You all know the iphone back and forth.

Can't this company make a decision? If they do why are a lot of the big ones wrong. The Apple community may be small, but they sure are loyal.

RE: Mindless ones
By Scott66 on 10/19/2007 6:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
Bootcamp has always been free because it was a beta. It was also made to prevent tech wannabees from screwing up their macs trying to make them into wintel machines.

Now that it has been finalized and included into Leapord I don't mind paying as much for Boot camp as I did for Parallels and I get a newer Operating system as well for 30 bucks more. Hell, with Core Animation, I got my OS for free with 298 other features for nothing.

RE: Mindless ones
By kelmon on 10/20/2007 6:31:24 AM , Rating: 2
I don't pretend to understand the accounting laws (or not) that prevented Apple from releasing the 802.11n firmware update as a free download but I can also say that I neither paid for it myself (it came "free" with the Airport Extreme that I bought for convenient NAS) and that it comes with Leopard.

With respect to Boot Camp, it can remain free for Tiger users. At the end of the year the Boot Camp assistant software under OS X, used for creating driver disks and changing partitions, will become non-functional but your Windows partition won't magically disappear and you'll still be able to run it. However, it has always been stated by Apple that Boot Camp was a component of Leopard and that it exists as beta software that the user will eventually have to pay for as part of 10.5. This was clearly stated but if people choose not to accept these terms then that's there own problem.

As Scott66 implies, the speed at which people got Windows up and running on the new Intel machines probably took Apple totally by surprise and this forced them to release the Boot Camp software much sooner than I expect they wanted to. This isn't uncommon as many companies fail to appreciate how dedicated and skilled the hacking community can be when they have something desirable to work towards. Ditto on the issue of 3rd party applications on the iPhone. I am absolutely certain that Apple always intended to release this software but on their own schedule and this has been spectacularly thrown out of the window twice this year.

Hand in the cookie jar is definitely an incorrect spin on the story - Apple simply didn't appreciate how much the market wanted some things and how good the hackers were at delivering it if Apple wouldn't do so immediately. If Steve is guilty of anything here it's underestimation. Perhaps the Reality Distortion Field works both ways...

Changes Mind ?
By Awax on 10/19/2007 9:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
Jobs has stated long ago that he wanted 3rd party apps to be on the iPhone but before that they had to figure out how to balance it against security and stability. Building such an underlying platform, SDK and application development and distribution model takes time.

So, it has never ever been a matter of "if" but "when".

RE: Changes Mind ?
By omnicronx on 10/19/2007 10:08:20 AM , Rating: 2
Because i suppose the non 3rd party apps on the phone were made with paperclips and playdo? I don't see how this could take until February unless they just started.

3 Open Letters?
By kelmon on 10/19/2007 10:26:11 AM , Rating: 2
What I find surprising about this announcement is not the content of it (anyone not see this coming?) but the fact that we've now had 3 open letters from Steve in one year (DRM=Bad, iPhone Rebate and now iPhone SDK). I've been a Mac user now for about 5-years and I honestly can't remember Steve posting open letters before let alone 3 in a year (and the year's not over yet). Typically these communications have not been necessary but it seems as though Apple feels as though it has screwed up in the public's eye. It's an open debate as to whether they have messed up but it's interesting to see that they recognise that the public thinks that they have and they are trying to do damage-control.

Strange year.

RE: 3 Open Letters?
By hiscross on 10/19/2007 1:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
They once said if the Red Sox ever won a world series the world would end. Well they did in 04, and now looks what's going on. Apple does windows, Torre is gone, Jobs letters, dems take over our goverment and still can't pass a law or fix things. What's next, the Rockies going to the world series and we are actually doing some good in Iraq? Just can't be.

Stranger year than anyone could image.

By panhead20 on 10/19/2007 1:03:16 PM , Rating: 3
...all processes on the iPhone run privileged as root. "This architectural discovery in the iPhone means that any compromise of the device results in providing the attacker with privileged access." ...

As the old saying goes....
By Vanilla Thunder on 10/19/2007 10:22:14 AM , Rating: 2
Better late than never. Regardless of the wait, or why you have to wait, it's a good thing to see Apple doing this.


iPhone and recent SDK news.
By Italio on 10/19/2007 2:05:52 PM , Rating: 2

Here are some thoughts on why Apple would not come out with a SDK right away.

1. iPhone and its software was and is incomplete (Why come out with an SDK if you are still making underlying changes to the OS)

2. To push webkit and safari browser on windows based machines increasing market visibility for Apple.

3. To help minimize the risk of problems on the first generation iPhone and establish "It is stable" in the public eye.

4. To continue to keep iPhone in the news with updates and improvements.

Future possibilities?
By vailr on 10/19/2007 3:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
1. The FCC mandates similar unlock-ability for all cell phones sold in the U.S., as what the current French law describes.
2. IPhone ups storage to 80 & 120 GB, using mini quarter-sized HD's.
3. IPhone switches to Intel CPU.
4. Ability to plug an IPhone (via USB), into most public-access Windows machines (at libraries, hotels, or visiting a family relative, etc.) and immediately be web capable, using the IPhone's display. Would be useful when WiFi is unavailable.

This Article Inaccurate
By surfish on 10/20/2007 8:17:23 AM , Rating: 2
1. Apple always planned an SDK; otherwise do you think they could have built one so soon?

Don't lionize the 3rd-party developers or hackers. Apple released the SDK because the company was planning to do so. Not due to either whining or heroics from hackers or 3rd party folks.

Apple had every right to ensure that the iPhone would have a stable, successful launch and record of reliability. Just think of what's at stake for the company, its business partners, and its stockholders.

Be logical, don't think emotionally here.

2. 3rd-party apps didn't cause i-bricking. The phones were merely reset to a before-modification 'clean' configuration as is NORMAL with any software/firmware update from just about any company.

3. If you unlock your iPhone, you have jeopardized the integrity of the handset and violated the End User Agreement for the phone and its service provider. You get what you rightfully deserve. To claim otherwise makes you an iPhony or just a pimple-faced script kiddie who doesn't yet enjoy full maturation of certain brain structures.

4. I'm sorry but Apple knows its business better than any poster here, including myself. To think that you or I can Monday-morning quarterback the brains in that company, would be truly delusional at best.

Earnings Oct 22nd shall certainly reveal that.

By yodataco on 10/22/2007 11:44:32 AM , Rating: 2
To be honest, I believe Apple messed up with the iPhone. They did several things very wrong. This is not to say that the iPhone is not a viable & good product. The fact is that Apple was not prepared for the release of the iPhone, and the iPhone was not ready for prime-time yet. Here are my points.

1) Apple should have had an SDK ready from the time of announcing the iPhone. Microsoft, Palm, and even RIM have a huge and decided advantage in the business market. The misstep of Apple to not get an SDK into third party developers' hands dooms it for any kind of business viability. Late is better than never, but now you have shown that you do NOT have a commitment to the business community, and are only concentrating on the consumer level. Keep in mind that the majority of PDA/Phone purchases come from businesses!

2) Pricing. They priced the iPhone completely incorrect on opening day. They should have done their market research, rather than relying on "consumer hype" and exclusivity.

3) Capabilities. This is a big one. While the iPhone can do a good bit, Apple has concentrated again on too narrow a field of view. Again, with more/better capabilities they could have gotten a jump start on attacking the all important business market. Here are the things I think they should have included from day 1:

* Push email operations (Exchange/IMAP).
* Over the air calendar & contact syncronization (Exchange/IMAP/Google).
* Carrier in-exclusivity.
* 3G capabilities (i know the battery argument, but at least have a 3G "version" that is more expensive).
* Bluetooth, bluetooth, bluetooth! Have it syncronize with iTunes over Bluetooth. Give it A2DP capabilities. Allow for Bluetooth keyboards. Etc.!
* Document capabilities. Work with Google & create a mobile office suite! This has to be done!
* Attachment & File capabilites. This can be done without opening the "file system" to the user. If Apple is TRUELY that good at interfaces, then freakin figure it out.

Many of these capabilities can be provided, and if done Apple will gain a ton of credibility in the business market for PDA/Phones. I just think that if all these capabilities were in before the iPhone was released, companies would have flocked to it and consumer level sales would have been bolstered.

By Polynikes on 10/19/2007 12:44:20 PM , Rating: 1
This sounds more to me like Jobs & Co. realized, post-iBrick shit-storm, that maybe doing what the customer wants is really what's good for business. It also helps when your competitor Nokia openly supports third-party apps. Then they concoct a nice story of how they're worried about malware and that's what's causing the holdup with the SDK. (I've never heard of or seen malware for any mobile device, Apple-made or otherwise.) In reality, they just started creating the SDK last week.

Talk about a 360 degree turn.

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