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Apple may be bringing video chat with the next generation iPhone.  (Source: Tuaw)

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has taken another swipe at Adobe's Flash restrict apps developed in a Flash environment. The move comes at the expense of app developers.  (Source: AFP)
Developers can no longer use non-C language development platforms

Apple fans received a bit of good news, when observers studying the newly aired iPhone OS 4.0 SDK used the utility iStat to reveal a new Apple app called "iChatAgent".  Most observers say that it's unlikely that Apple would just release another instant messaging app; most believe the app will be a video chat app, and that the upcoming fourth generation iPhone will have a front-facing camera to support it.  An Apple patent hints at this development.

Developers, on the other hand received some bad news from Apple.  The new SDK license agreement states:
Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs
(e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

What does this mean?  What might seem like an innocuous addition is actually another swipe at Adobe by Apple.  Adobe last October released an iPhone-ready Flash CS5 development environment that took apps written in Flash and then converted them to an iPhone-ready binaries using linked Apple APIs.

Apple has been rallying to promote a proprietary video codec-based version of HTML5 to combat Adobe's proprietary Flash format, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs accuses of "crashing Mac computers" due to it being, in his opinion, buggy and insecure.  The good news is that HTML5 is an open standard and could support other video codecs.  The bad news for open software advocates is that Apple is pushing for the web to exclusively use a proprietary video codec with the new HTML version.

For developers the battle is bad news as well.  On top of restrictions on programs that execute their own code, apps the overlap the iPhone software's functionality, and certain adult-themed apps, developers now will have a much harder time porting their Flash apps to the popular platform.

For small developers, it might be less of a deal.  Its unclear if Apple could detect the subtle differences in compiled code between a binary made with the Flash development environment versus a C development environment.  Small devs might be able to ignore the restriction, at their own risk, and get away with it.

For big developers, though, like Condé Nast, who were banking on using the Flash development environment to port their Adobe Air apps to the iPad and iPhone, they are now forced to scrap those efforts and resort to a full port if they want to get approved.  That may tempt some to switch over to Google's Android, which has a soaring number of apps and much fewer developer restrictions.

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RE: video chat??
By invidious on 4/9/2010 12:29:17 PM , Rating: 4
so people will need to buy another new phone, awesome!
Hardware upgrades should be free!
Delivered on silver platters!
With those little chocolate mints that fancy hotels put on your pillow!

Seriously though, wtf are you talking about? No one nneds to buy a new phone. If you WANT video chat then yes you will WANT to buy a new phone. The iPhone 3GS didn't add many features so I didn't buy it. My iPhone 3G suits me just fine. If video chat is the primary upgrade in this new iPhone I probably wont be buying it.

RE: video chat??
By omnicronx on 4/9/2010 12:57:31 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.. There is really nothing to complain about here, its a new feature that requires new hardware, and you originally got exactly what you paid for.

Should Apple just cease adding any new features because their older phones won't be compatible? No.. thats ludicrous..

I find it shady when they don't add certain software upgrades to older phones when you know they could have, but this is not one of those cases.

RE: video chat??
By kattanna on 4/9/2010 2:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.. There is really nothing to complain about here

LOL complaining? not at all

more like laughing at the self induced yearly upgrade cycle iphone users seem to have to go through to get to the point where others already are.

RE: video chat??
By omnicronx on 4/9/2010 4:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I definitely agree there, I too find it halarious that people will trade in their 500 dollar devices so that they can get pretty much the same features, abeit a little bit faster.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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