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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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Mindless ones
By rsmech on 10/19/2007 5:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
People can say Apple listens to their customers but I say it's only because it can't think for itself. How many times have their hands been caught in the cookie jar?

Boot camp is free, no wait you need to pay for it.

We installed a network card in your laptop, but wait can you pay us to use it?

You all know the iphone back and forth.

Can't this company make a decision? If they do why are a lot of the big ones wrong. The Apple community may be small, but they sure are loyal.




RE: Mindless ones
By Scott66 on 10/19/2007 6:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
Bootcamp has always been free because it was a beta. It was also made to prevent tech wannabees from screwing up their macs trying to make them into wintel machines.

Now that it has been finalized and included into Leapord I don't mind paying as much for Boot camp as I did for Parallels and I get a newer Operating system as well for 30 bucks more. Hell, with Core Animation, I got my OS for free with 298 other features for nothing.


RE: Mindless ones
By kelmon on 10/20/2007 6:31:24 AM , Rating: 2
I don't pretend to understand the accounting laws (or not) that prevented Apple from releasing the 802.11n firmware update as a free download but I can also say that I neither paid for it myself (it came "free" with the Airport Extreme that I bought for convenient NAS) and that it comes with Leopard.

With respect to Boot Camp, it can remain free for Tiger users. At the end of the year the Boot Camp assistant software under OS X, used for creating driver disks and changing partitions, will become non-functional but your Windows partition won't magically disappear and you'll still be able to run it. However, it has always been stated by Apple that Boot Camp was a component of Leopard and that it exists as beta software that the user will eventually have to pay for as part of 10.5. This was clearly stated but if people choose not to accept these terms then that's there own problem.

As Scott66 implies, the speed at which people got Windows up and running on the new Intel machines probably took Apple totally by surprise and this forced them to release the Boot Camp software much sooner than I expect they wanted to. This isn't uncommon as many companies fail to appreciate how dedicated and skilled the hacking community can be when they have something desirable to work towards. Ditto on the issue of 3rd party applications on the iPhone. I am absolutely certain that Apple always intended to release this software but on their own schedule and this has been spectacularly thrown out of the window twice this year.

Hand in the cookie jar is definitely an incorrect spin on the story - Apple simply didn't appreciate how much the market wanted some things and how good the hackers were at delivering it if Apple wouldn't do so immediately. If Steve is guilty of anything here it's underestimation. Perhaps the Reality Distortion Field works both ways...


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