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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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This Article Inaccurate
By surfish on 10/20/2007 8:17:23 AM , Rating: 2
1. Apple always planned an SDK; otherwise do you think they could have built one so soon?

Don't lionize the 3rd-party developers or hackers. Apple released the SDK because the company was planning to do so. Not due to either whining or heroics from hackers or 3rd party folks.

Apple had every right to ensure that the iPhone would have a stable, successful launch and record of reliability. Just think of what's at stake for the company, its business partners, and its stockholders.

Be logical, don't think emotionally here.

2. 3rd-party apps didn't cause i-bricking. The phones were merely reset to a before-modification 'clean' configuration as is NORMAL with any software/firmware update from just about any company.

3. If you unlock your iPhone, you have jeopardized the integrity of the handset and violated the End User Agreement for the phone and its service provider. You get what you rightfully deserve. To claim otherwise makes you an iPhony or just a pimple-faced script kiddie who doesn't yet enjoy full maturation of certain brain structures.

4. I'm sorry but Apple knows its business better than any poster here, including myself. To think that you or I can Monday-morning quarterback the brains in that company, would be truly delusional at best.

Earnings Oct 22nd shall certainly reveal that.




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