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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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.

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