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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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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
quote:
Maybe I'm a bit jaded


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


"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen














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