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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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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.


"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone














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