Jobs: We want native third party applications on the iPhone and iPod touch

Jobs: We want native third party applications on the iPhone and iPod touch

Summary: Apple isn't wasting any time trying to head off gPhone momentum. Today Steve Jobs confirmed that Apple would have a software development kit for both the iPhone and the iPod touch in developers' hands in February. Here is what Jobs actually said, followed by a somewhat tongue-in-cheek interpretation of what he really meant.

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Apple isn't wasting any time trying to head off gPhone momentum. Today Steve Jobs confirmed that Apple would have a software development kit for both the iPhone and the iPod touch ready by February. Here is what Jobs actually said, followed by my somewhat tongue-in-cheek interpretation of what he really meant.

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. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

Translation: Don't even bother looking at those other platforms you've been hearing about lately (*cough* gPhone *cough*). We've got enough patents on our multi-touch tech to sue the pants off anybody that tries to duplicate it. Besides, OS X and Objective C is way cooler than Linux and Java anyway.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once—provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones—this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Translation: Darn it, now we're going to have to figure out a way to prevent the iPhone/iPod from becoming the big juicy target that Windows is now. We can't just rely on security-through-negligible market share any more.

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than “totally open,” we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone’s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

Translation: Only officially blessed developers will be given the privilege of distributing applications for the iPhone/iPod. Hmm... I wonder if we can charge a fee for that.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.

P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch.

Translation: Please don't abandon us now!

Topics: Software Development, Apple, iPhone, Mobility, Telcos, IT Employment

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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10 comments
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  • I already have abandoned them....

    when they decided it was okay to brick the phone.
    mrOSX
  • Maybe the iPhone wasn't ready for the SDK

    Apple transferred Leopard programmers to the iPhone
    program in order to get it released on time. I'm
    assuming that there were hacks used that were to be
    cleared up before the platform was ready - as well as a
    need for Leopard to be released.

    The last upgrade was probably the first step in finalizing
    the platform and there will probably be at lease one
    more before February. At that time Apple will be
    comfortable releasing the SDK.

    I doubt that the gPhone had anything to do with the
    timing of the SDK release. Apple clearly understood the
    potential of 3rd party apps in boosting sales and will be
    working with the major companies to ensure they get the
    most sales possible from the apps that are coming.
    Ken_z
    • 3rd party apps

      "Apple clearly understood the potential of 3rd party apps in boosting sales"

      The problem with this argument is that Apple already announced support for 3rd party apps months ago -- as long as they were web based. This was presented as a big deal at the time.

      Before this week there wasn't a lot of evidence that non-web apps were ever going to be allowed. Many developers were hopeful, but not optimistic. So what changed? I posit that it was a (quite sensible) response to upcoming competitive pressures.
      Ed Burnette
      • Nobody listens anymore.

        ?{b}I think sometime later this year we will find a way to let third parties write
        apps{/b} and still preserve security. But until we can find that way, we can?t
        compromise the security of the phone. Nobody?s perfect, but we sure don?t want
        our phone to crash. We would like to solve this problem, if you could be just a little
        more patient with us, I think everyone can get what they want,?

        Steve Jobs
        D Conference
        June 2007
        Piot
      • Comedy Stylings

        Are you joking here as well?I just can't tell anymore.

        As a developer, were you "not optimistic" that after shoe-horning the entire OSX
        framework into a pocket size, that they would leverage it's full potential? Did this
        need to be spoon fed?

        I may have lost my sense of humor, but thank goodness I haven't lost my common
        sense. Will Leopard be first experience as an Apple owner? Hold off the comedy
        stylings till then. Give us an informed opinion.

        Curious where this is going? Here's your link for the day:

        http://weblog.infoworld.com/yager/archives/2007/10/take_me_home_le.html
        Harry Bardal
        • Full potential

          "Will Leopard be first experience as an Apple owner?"

          No, I bought my first Mac in 1984. White squarish box, friendly face, you might remember it. :)

          "As a developer, were you 'not optimistic' that after shoe-horning the entire OSX framework into a pocket size, that they would leverage it's full potential?"

          After listening to Jobs at WWDC07, how could anyone be optimistic? It wasn't that long ago, see http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette/?p=332 and related articles. At that time, Jobs clearly seemed to be of the opinion that web-only apps were plenty good enough.
          Ed Burnette
  • Snide

    So Apple is aloof and arrogant when they don't provide an SDK and cloying and
    manipulative when they do. What a difference a day makes.

    It reminds me of a short time ago, when iPhone early adopters went from ignorant
    elitists to innocent victims overnight.

    Or when Apple suddenly became fascists for maintaining the integrity of the value
    proposition that they sold to licenced user's.

    Customer satisfaction with the iPhone is higher than any other device in its class.
    Sales are in excess of the competition. These are clear signs of imminent demise?

    Everyone and their respective dogs, hauling out their knockoff iPhones and trying
    to compete with a full blown palm based OS is not flattery, but a serious threat.
    Just like the Zune?

    Google, famous for empty initiatives and endless betas, are just on the verge?

    Bring on the competition, but please don't try to translate Jobs anymore. You don't
    understand the language.
    Harry Bardal
    • aloof and arrogant

      "So Apple is aloof and arrogant when they don't provide an SDK and cloying and manipulative when they do."

      Why do you think they can't be all these things at once? But we still love 'em.

      "Please don't try to translate Jobs anymore. You don't understand the language."

      This might help: http://www.answers.com/tongue-in-cheek
      Ed Burnette
  • Utter garbage

    I can't speak to Job's quote about some of Nokia's phones but I do know the N*)) is not only open but Nokia has sponsored Maemo. The Maemo project is actively porting FOSS apps (mainly GTK apps) to run on the Debian-based N770, N800, and N810. Apps such as Gnumeric, MPlayer, GAIM, rsync, etc...

    When it comes to being 'open' Job's of all people, has no right to criticize Nokia.
    Tim Patterson
  • iPhone is on the downside slope of the trend

    iPhone developers should begin posting their resumes to http://www.computerjobs.com/userlogin.aspx?_panel=1&mkt=t6
    woot@...