So, Apple has released an SDK for the iPhone and iPod touch. Pretty soon the web will be flooded with quality apps which will be a click (and in many cases, a few bucks) away. But is this enough to convince jailbreakers (both the developers who rely on it now and consumers who have chosen to jailbreak their iPhone) to walk the straight and narrow?
See, while an SDK and new apps for the iPhone has generated some good press for Apple today, I can't help but notice that developers have managed to accomplish an awful lot without Apple's help. There are very active developer communities which have managed to develop and distribute applications without needing any help from Apple. Now developers can get access to an SDK and for a 30% cut can put their apps in front of millions of iPhone and iPod touch users. Is it the developers who need Apple, or is it Apple which needs the developers?
Apple has a way of turning almost every product into a piggy bank where the user puts money into it and that cash is magically transported to the Apple mothership. The iPod, the iPhone and Apple TV are fine examples of products where Steve Jobs expects the consumer to regularly put their hand into their pocket. All this jailbreaking (and unlocking) is circumventing Apple, and it's clear that the company isn't happy with that. The SDK, in conjunction with the App Store, is Apple's way of trying to get developers to forget about jailbreaking and all that stuff and turn their attentions to making Apple more money. Apple fumbled when it released the iPhone without putting in place a framework for third-party development because it opened the way to jailbreaking. Can Apple encourage developers to put jailbreaking behind them and develop apps the Apple way?
A few questions to ponder:
- If you are an iPhone app developers, will you be taking Apple up on its offer?
- If you have a jailbroken iPhone, how long do you think you'll be jailbreaking your phone?
- How much will you be willing to pay for iPhone apps?
- If faced with a choice of Apple-authorized apps or an unlocked handset, which would you choose?
- If you've been holding out on buying an iPhone, does this news make you more likely to buy an iPhone and hoot it up to AT&T?
It's all about control.