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
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
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
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
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