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iPhone SDK and Apple Finally Listening
This can only be a good thing for both Apple and its iPhone customers

The XML Aficionado Blog

Apple Computer's Steve Jobs just announced that Apple would (finally!) provide an iPhone SDK to 3rd party developers in order to enable them to create native applications for the iPhone (and, incidentally, also for the iPod touch). While the actual SDK won't ship until February 2008, this announcement is a monumental shift in strategy for Apple, who has thus far tried to control the applications available for the iPhone and limit 3rd party developers to Web 2.0 apps running in the Safari browser.

The story leading to this announcement is also a great example of how public opinion of a product can quickly swing the opposite way, when a company attempts to not only create a closed system, but then also tries to punish customers, who used 3rd party applications, by turning their expensive phones into "bricks" (which is what happened during the recent 1.1.1 software update).

Pressure on Apple from customers and bloggers alike very quickly led to this turn-around in strategy - and this can only be a good thing or both Apple and its iPhone customers. Having the iPhone be a true mobile platform - similar to Palm, Nokia, and Windows Smartphones - is key to any long-term success of the iPhone product line.

While I haven't personally installed any 3rd party apps on my own iPhone in the past, there are certainly several that I am missing since I switched from a Windows Smartphone to the iPhone this summer - and I am looking forward to the ability to get this extra functionality back next spring!

About Alexander Falk
Alexander Falk, cofounder, president, and CEO of Altova, has been actively involved with XML since the beginning and is a member of the W3C Advisory Committee and the W3C XML Schema Working Group. Author of the XML Schema processor and XML parser for XML Spy, Altova's XML software suite, he previously contributed to the ResEdit software at Apple Computer.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

As per the other two comments, I'd agree that Jobs never precluded third party apps, and early interviews implied some sort of SDK would be available.

On the other hand, announcing the Web 2.0 solution at a Cocoa developers conference was a BAD PR move, as it implied that this was Apple's solution - even if there was no official line towards a proper SDK either way. Apple's PR did nothing to clarify the situation, even while it was generating negative press.

IMO - this has more to do with Apple's default secrecy than anything else - i.e. they don't announce vapourware, and without a target date, I can imagine Jobs not wanting to commit to delivering an SDK. Although it would have been possible to have 'leaked' the information (and indeed some people did report it).

I don't believe they've responded to public pressure in opening the device - just in pre-announcing the SDK. I also think the next storm will be when people realise that it's an SDK for commercial developers, rather than hackers.

And I think a lot of people giving Apple grief don't appreciate the gap between developing a device, and developing a platform - my experience of the iPod touch, and reading reports of issues with the iPhone, suggest there are still a few bugs to be worked out with Apple's software alone (rogue processes capable of draining the battery in hours). Being realistic, they need to address those bugs first before letting people build on top - and being realistic, no matter how much testing you do, it's only wide real world use that finds those edge case bugs.

It's good news nonetheless - I look forward to a third party app to use my iPod as a WiFi remote control for instance. And games!

Did you do any research at all before writing this story. Job's has stated at least three time after the into of the iPhone that it was Apples intention to have 3rd party development but not until they work out a method of doing it and still have a secure phone.

There is considerable confusion on this score. Steve Jobs never precluded a SDK on the iPhone,when he introduced the web based AJAX apps. The The Hackers just assumed that. There are reasons for why Apple had to wait. As Steve said in the recent memo that the security needs to be improved. The other point is that the iPhone is a Leopard 10.5 devise. Steve had to wait for that software to be released.


Your Feedback
JulesLt wrote: As per the other two comments, I'd agree that Jobs never precluded third party apps, and early interviews implied some sort of SDK would be available. On the other hand, announcing the Web 2.0 solution at a Cocoa developers conference was a BAD PR move, as it implied that this was Apple's solution - even if there was no official line towards a proper SDK either way. Apple's PR did nothing to clarify the situation, even while it was generating negative press. IMO - this has more to do with Apple's default secrecy than anything else - i.e. they don't announce vapourware, and without a target date, I can imagine Jobs not wanting to commit to delivering an SDK. Although it would have been possible to have 'leaked' the information (and indeed some people did report it). I don't believe they've responded to public pressure in opening the device - just in pre-announcing the SDK. I also thin...
Rollin Bancroft wrote: Did you do any research at all before writing this story. Job's has stated at least three time after the into of the iPhone that it was Apples intention to have 3rd party development but not until they work out a method of doing it and still have a secure phone.
Louis Wheeler wrote: There is considerable confusion on this score. Steve Jobs never precluded a SDK on the iPhone,when he introduced the web based AJAX apps. The The Hackers just assumed that. There are reasons for why Apple had to wait. As Steve said in the recent memo that the security needs to be improved. The other point is that the iPhone is a Leopard 10.5 devise. Steve had to wait for that software to be released.
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