In The New York Times, Steve Jobs confirms every developers worst fears about the iPhone:
These [iPhones] are devices that need to work, and you cant do that if you load any software on them, he said. That doesnt mean theres not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesnt mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.
I see. You cant load any software on them. He means you cant load just any software on them. Translation: I made this beautiful thing, and Ill be damned if Im going to let you unbeautiful people fuck it up.
The only thing surprising about this is that anybody is surprised about this. Yes, I acknowledge that there is a thriving metropolis of independent developers successfully selling commercial software that runs on Mac OS X. I have, in my life, bought some of it. But Apple doesnt give a damn. Steve Jobs doesnt build platforms, except by accident. He doesnt care about your thriving metropolis. All you independent Mac developers: youre all sharecroppers, and your rent just went up. Way up.
On one hand, any time you connect something to the phone system youve got all sorts of issues to deal with. A few years ago I complained that the my phone required you get your application certified, even if you only wanted to run it on your own handset. The response from the company rep was (insert sic where appropriate):
In the beginning it was our intension to make it possible for hobbists to sign there own mophun applications, but, there are some legal reasons this didnt happen, firstly, that Sony Ericsson made us be legally resposible for all mophun content, and secondly that it would be safe for all phones, no viruses etc.
In this context, Jobs hand-waving about bringing down the network makes sense. He really means Apple being sued for bringing down the network.
On the other hand, youre probably right anyway. Im sure if they really wanted to, Apple could provide a sandboxed environment with safe paths through which applications could access the outside world. Its just not important to them.
Why arent people upset that there arent apps for iPod? Why arent people upset about the iPods controlled environment? The iPhone has more in common with the iPod than it does with the Mac.
In this context, Jobsâ€™ hand-waving about bringing down the network makes sense. He really means Apple being sued for bringing down the network.
Yeah, Ive seen so many Nokia E60s bringing down networks all over the world, that damn SymbianOS allowing people to install software on their cellular phones. Besides, why should the kernel allow crazy network-down-bringing operations? This is probably something on the HAHA, you cant use any VoIP apps, nor any music players which support more than mp3 and aac. And damn if well allow you to buy music anywhere that doesnt start with an i and rhymes with Tunes.
Tomas: its a real shame then that Steve Jobs made such a big deal out of it running OS X, hence giving the impression that it was a general purpose computing device. I suppose the fact that the marketing materials described it as a breakthrough internet device.
I wouldnt be surprised if they throw in hardware Digital Restrictions Management to the mix as well. Thats right, is this really surprising coming from Apple aiding and abetting the proliferation of DRM since 01 Inc.?
Thankfully theres alternatives:
http://www.maemo.org/ (although, not a phone as such)
Tomas, people arent upset with the iPod because of the lack of tactile inputs. Therefore as a multi-use device, its limited The scope of games you could hypothecally play on it is limited. Steve Jobs also stated that the iPhone runs Mac OS X Except a version of the OS that is locked down to the full extent of the law.
It doesnt mean that people are satisfied with it and arent doing anything about it:
I am disappoined. But I guess, this only means that some one will come along sooner or later and will get an open source Linux that can be flashed onto this thing, and then I will start to produce cool apps the way I like them on this thing.
My first reaction to the iPhone was it was the MS Origami done right. Id forgotten your well publisised emigration from the Mac platform and the reasons you had. Thanks for the timely reminder. Looks like the Nokia 880 is back in my picture.
Its a disappointment the right sized device, and finally something that comes close to a modern day equivalent of the Newton. But locked down. So utterly useless. No phone is worth $499 but a modern mobile platform is.
Yeah, a nice open platform would be nice, but I have a little sympathy for Apples approach, as getting the thing fast and reliable with limited memory and processing power must be pretty challenging. Locking it down not only ties in with the whole iPod control-freakery, it also eliminates many reliability, performance and security issues in one fell swoop.
Hopefully theyll allow third party widgets as a consolation, so people can get something on the device, however limited.
Could you write your applications as web-pages? Download them via Wi-Fi, etc.
Were you thinking of adding a barcode reader and using it for stock control?
Were you thinking of using it as a WII controler?
Steve Jobs doesnâ€™t build platforms, except by accident. I think this is an good assessment. Its awful, but thats how it is.
We all know that the part about bringing down the west coast net by using a third party app is bullshit, of course, and theres even a very simple way that they could make third-party apps more limited: by only giving full permissions to the apps that run off the systems chip. Attitude is by far the most significant blocker.
Charles: All Apple have to do is include Java like almost every other phone does. I cant see the iPhone taking off in Europe without at least Java apps (that are unsigned/unofficial) Apple are going to look like fools if the iPhone cant do what even low end phones can do. Maybe the no unauthorized apps ploy will work in the US, where people seem to put up with a lot from the mobile providers, but I cant see it working elsewhere.
> Why arenâ€™t people upset that there arenâ€™t apps for iPod?
A good question, and an earlier draft of my rant made the analogy. Two reasons, I think. First, the apps-on-the-iPod thing is really new, at least in the same sense as apps-on-the-iPhone. Downloadable games were just introduced in the latest firmware / half-generation revision, and there _was_ some suitable amount of outrage from third-party developers who were expecting an SDK and found cryptographic lockout instead.
And second, there are plenty of apps on the iPod: iPodLinux, Rockbox, and everything that runs on them. Yeah, thats not an answer for Mac developers, but it _is_ an answer for the Makezine crowd. That crowd might have spent some time doing and publishing cool hacks on an open iPod, and indeed they have but theyve done it by hacking the firmware and doing it under Linux, which is not a way that opens the door for independent commercial developers.
The taking down the phone network thing is crap. The Treo not only lets you install arbitrary apps, it even gives you access to the telephony API so you could write a new phone app if you really wanted to.
> Could you write your applications as web-pages?
> All Apple have to do is include Java
> Why arenâ€™t people upset that there arenâ€™t apps for iPod?
I think another reason why people werent upset that the iPod didnt have apps is because walkmans and personal CD players and the like didnt have 3rd party apps so I doubt many people thought about having 3rd party on a portable media player.
Its very different with phones every phone Ive had for the last 5 or so years has had Java. And none of those phones were even smart phones just medium to low end Nokias and Sony Ericsons. In the UK at least, you have to go to the really, really low end to find a phone that doesnt support J2ME apps.
I think thats a bit extreme. The public outcry at providing us access to a neutered web, on top of the other handicaps this device *will* have, would likely be deafening. None of the other detractions has been enough to dissuade me (even though I agree on the general lameness of it being locked down to approved applications), but a handicapped web browsing experience would be enough to make me pass on the iPhone altogether.
I do really wish theyd at least allow third party widgets pretty crummy.
Im an indie Mac developer, and I dont feel left out. Why does everything have to be a platform? Sometimes a phone is just a phone.
Ive been a mac user for much of my life, and found that the bulk of my use of the machine comes from third=party shareware/freeware type software. Apple is shooting themselves in the foot by cutting out the masses of dedicated and creative developers out there. This is supposed to be a innovative new mobile platform, and you can be damned sure that the real killer apps for the device have not yet been conceived. By restricting development like this, apple just stymies effort that could drive it into the front of the platform race. Shame
Im not trying to be an optimist, but I think this rhetoric from Jobs is about placating the network provider more than anything else. Of course it could also be about locking down the usability experience, but Apple doesnt bother to stop developers using third party kernel extensions or InputManagers to get around stuff on a bigger computer.
I think the main reason is the WiFi element and the use of SIP (XMeeting) or Skype-like clients as a third-party application. Personally, a SIP client is a must-have third party app when it comes to a WiFi enabled phone.
Im guessing this was part of a concession to Cingular. As I understand it, Apple has been given *exceptionally* free rein with the build of this phone, and Cingular possibly made this lockdown its pound of flesh. Given the iPods standard-setting lockdown, Apple possibly figured this would be the least objectionable point to the masses. I consider myself a power user of cellphones, but most of the non-factory apps Ive ever installed have become redundant quite quickly.
Hopefully as the phone moves to other networks (particularly over here in Europe) the platform will open up. As with most of its hardware, though, Apple will have to be convinced that third party apps will add significantly to the user experience. Its all about that for Apple, and if thats your thing, thats your thing. If Open Standards are your thing, Apple dont care.
Not to say the two are mutually exclusive, of course, but allowing anyone to code apps for the iPhone, at least initially, is going to be perceived as a risk to the experience.
Do I care? As long as I can get my data OFF the phone and do what I like with it, Im happy.
People are never outraged that you cant make console games without the permission of the console maker. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all control all of the software that runs on those platforms, with the exception of Sonys allowing of Linux on the PS3 (which satisfies the h4x0rz but aint all that useful).
I dont know where I stand on this. If applications that actually do what I want them to are available through Apple, Im probably happy. Flash cards, speed readers, text editing, etc. The problem with that is that I like a lot of pretty weird stuff (like the aforementioned speed readers), and no one company can out-innovate the market. I mean, would Apple ever have thought that people would be using the built-in cameras on their Macbooks and iMacs as bar code readers?
Ultimately, I try to care about concepts like openness and future-proofing. I really do. And then I use some open but ugly and inelegant free software solution and run screaming back to the loving arms of Ma Apple and comemrcial software. Put some Euro signs in someones eyes and you end up with Allan Odgaard and TextMate. Leave it to free software and youre stuck with Smultron.
Comparing the Wii / XBox / PS3 to a phone is idiotic however I do think Apples lock down did not come lightly
Youve convinced me of the error of my ways, please suggest an iPhone equivalent that runs Linux so that I may develop freely.
People (as in developers and thoughtful users) are upset; they just know its a lost cause.
People (as in the hoi polloi) arent upset, because its really, really hard to notice whats absent.
1. the ipod can certainly be used as a platform if you put rockbox on it. it is only apples firmware that precludes its use in a flexible innovative way.
2. i find the pro-Jobs comments amusing but historically consistent. if this was bill gates you would be uniformly negative, but it is steve, so he gets a pass.
How could iPhone possibly harm independent Mac developers?
WHY PRESENT A NEW FINISHED PRODUCT IF YOU DO NOT HAVE IT FOR DELIVER? WOULD APPLE MAKE SUCH A BASIC STRATEGIC MISTAKE?
Two ways to consider:
The iphone is just a device to deliver OS X that can make phone calls. So other companies can have the name, the design, the featuresJOBS is not worried about copetitorswhat they dont have is the operational system+itunes system.
Its purpose is to create a major base for the operational system developing a monopoly-like strategy started with itunes music and now TV and later with Apples software packages such iWork and specilayy iLife. As you will be able to sync your purchased content with every device that runs OS Xsuch ipods, iphones, macbooks, apple TVsand nothing else.
Boys, we are seeing is the Microsoft lets dominate the world-strategy all over again.
He is so sure about this strategy that he even bought some more Apple stocks a few days before iphones lauching. You would bet on your horse if you knew he is the winner.
The OTHER WAY TO SEE ALL THIS IS:
The iphone is BIG BLEFF.
Steve Jobs doenst have an iphone. He doenst have anything.He doesnt have the name. The design was copyed from a LG model. Intel just said is not going to make the chips.
He just using Apple and his personal power to announced another major breakthrought product to raise Apples stocks market value. For the next 6 months no one can really tell waht he get is his hands. Could be another succes or just a pretty pair of TWOs. He is playing poker. All we know for sure is that he already put his hands in some more Apple stocks two weeks ago. And he didnt wanted anyone to know about it.
Lets wait and see.
Just for some fun.Thanks.
Sorry for the grammar mistakes on the above text.
does every piece of consumer electronics have to expand in scope until it can run a fucking app written by a college student stumbling his way through interface builder?
the worst fear for iphones is open source some dumbshit writes a virus that plays streaming .FLV pre-roll ads before youre allowed to make a call, and then infects everyone in your address book.
> If Open Standards are your thing, Apple dont care.
You must be new here.
Put some Euro signs in someoneâ€™s eyes and you end up with Allan Odgaard and TextMate. Leave it to free software and youâ€™re stuck with Smultron.
thats why Apple uses GCC, the FreeBSD kernel, Samba, CUPS, Apache.. etc.
What the hell? Comments 29 and 31 arent mine. Impostor!
Um If you dont like the proprietary nature of the iPhone, dont get one or develop for it. It isnt anyones right to have open access to everything ever created. It is a creators to make their product / app as they see fit.
Independent developers with a ~5% and *growing* userbase of Macs to target are no worse off than they were before the iPhone announcement; its disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise.
Forrest Gump might say: Apple is, Apple does.
The thing is, Apple has always been like this. Remember the development system that costed $300 and required a subscription? Remember the programming reference manuals that had errors in them?
Steve Jobs is and always will be a marketing weenie, even if he occassionally makes a nice piece of overpriced hardware. Marketing is about screwing the consumer and the engineers, too.
I did not do this, but I talked to the guys who may have potentially investigated this several years ago:
Apparently, you cannot copy a mobile phone SIM without an electron microscope, but you can connect some mobiles to your computer and poll it several thousand times per minute until you get all the authentication responses from it. Now, you have a phone linked to a laptop that can lookup your sim responses to network authentication, and is therefore a clone so far as your network provider is concerned. (this is only the gist of a longer explanation that went over my head at the time, sorry!)
You can have the two phones in different cells, and make calls from both at the same time. Incoming calls seemed to get split randomly between the two. No problems so far.
That night, the network providers system crashes, and hard. 5 hours of no phone calls or SMS. If I recall correctly, 5 hours without Emergency Services coverage.
So, in order of importance:
1)The worst case scenario for Apple/cingular is that someone writes up an app to help crash the phone networks. If it is even theoretically possible, somebody will at least try :(
The comment about the Treo API is relevant here, since the API would (hopefully) do the sanity checking on all data sent to the network. As soon as you can run any code on an iPhone, users can try to exploit buffer overflows and privilege escalations anywhere on the system to then disassemble and hack the system libraries for that interface.
2) Viruses. Imagine an iPhone botnet, sending spam mail thru any data plan you have with your carrier, or any wifi hotspot that you pass by. Imagine someone routing VoIP calls thru your phone, being blissfully unaware until the bill arrives at the end of the month. Imagine a script that scans all your sms and email traffic for anything that looks like a credit card number, or mentions login or password. Imagine a virus that sends itself to your entire address book, then bricks your phone. Imagine the headlines!
Yes, you can build a sandbox. Are you sure that a really smart and motivated group of hackers cant find a way to exploit it? Imagine youre an Apple engineer, looking at the community that exploits the Sony PSP firmware, and then think whether you are going to take the risk (on version 1, at least)
3) User experience. The least of the three points, but still an important part of the picture.
This phone doesnt do anything that hasnt been done before. It does less in some respects: not 3g, no removable media and so on.
But it is the first one that I think my mum would be able to use.
This is a consumer electronics device: if you require someone to read the manual, or check the help pages, then you just lost yourself a customer or added someone to the queue for phone support at your customer service center. Some of the interviews with Apple refer to an obsessive attention to detail with respect to the interface: why even make it possible for people to replace your awesome and inspired piece of code with something homebrewed?
I mean, if you didnt want the polish, you could have any of the other smartphones available on the market right now. If you want to muck around doing homebrew dev work on your mobile, you are not apples target market. They do not have to appeal to you!
Sorry for the long post, but I had to get it off my chest!
> Independent developers are no worse off than they were before the iPhone announcement
I keep hearing this talking point. Heres why youre wrong:
Everybody (especially independent developers) was all excited after the keynote because they heard itll run OS X and leaped to the conclusion that itll run OS X just like Macs run OS X, so I can do X, Y, and Z Wrong. Apple doesnt do openness, and they dont do platforms. People always seem to attribute these magical altruistic qualities to Apple, and then like Charlie Brown kicking the football, they come away disappointed yet again.
Whats that? You say youre a developer and youve spent several years of your life becoming an expert in developing with Apples APIs and Apples tools, and you thought you could leverage that expertise by creating software for this wonderful new device which will probably reach more people than all the Macs ever sold? Ha ha, the jokes on you. I believe the phrase youre looking for is Good grief.
> Hereâ€™s why youâ€™re wrong: Everybody (especially independent developers) was excited .. and leaped to the conclusion that I can do X, Y, and Zâ€¦â€ť
So, Apple is (and I am) wrong because people *assumed* theyd be able to develop for a new product and it turns out they cannot? And this group is therefore worse off than they were previous to the announcement?
The developers, whose target marketshare is growing already due to increased Mac sales, will likely have their target marketshare grow further still via the iPhone Halo effect (which is actually somewhat quantifiable, unlike the perceived damage caused by a groups erroneous assumptions regarding the open-ness of platforms).
Instead of raising the rent, I think the landowner just said Hey were gonna spruce up the place and market your crops to more people. On me.
Mark, that doesnt make any sense. Yes, I get how its a missed opportunity, but not how it could hurt the existing Mac software market. Wheres the connection?
Ok, closed, DRM, etc. bad. But how about looking at it from a slightly different angle: it is an always connected internet device. You can access anything and anywhere connected from it. Do you really need to install anything onto it? Maybe it is also about the paradigm shift, eh?
Steve Jobs is either very stupid, very ignorant or very selfish because with the current state of development of virtual kernels it is not a big deal for a device to run more than one operating system and for it to run applications in ways that prevent their bad behavior from having any impact on any software running outside the virtual kernel that the application is using.
I dont think hes stupid. I think hes either ignorant or selfish.
Dont even think about suing me, Steve. You cant possibly win because Im telling the truth and I have a right to my opinion about why you think you can lie to the public.
Rampant speculation follows:
I have a hunch that the no-third-party-widgets thing is going to be a very temporary restriction, if only because its such a silly rule. As pointed out above, unless Apple disables JS in the iPhone Safari (unlikely), well already be able to deploy widgets through the browser. It will be dead-easy for web developers to hook up an iPhone-optimized, widget-style interface for their site, host it at iphone.whatever.combookmark it and its only two more clicks than a real widget. I would wager that the problem of allowing third-party widgets on the iPhone is more one of logistics/interface than any real technical concerns about DOSing Cingular: how to download iPhone widgets, how to transfer/sync them, how to manage versions and updates, how to guard against worms/viruses, etc.
I also expect the whole shebang to be booting Linux, possibly WiFi-only, within 30 days after its release. (Even in this instance, I do not expect Mark to buy one. ;) If the Linux folks can get it to make calls and run Flash (why no Flash, Apple? whyyyy?), it might even be worth it.
Anyway, thats what I hope. There are so many widgets I want to write for this thing. The Collected Works of Cory Doctorow widget, the Wikipedia browsing/editing widget, the NY Times Crosswidget, the Sudoku widget, the Infocom Text Adventure Widget (oh God, please, God). Ah, and that brings me to another open-source essential for the iPhone: the Scumm VM. Has there ever been a more perfect platform for playing Curse of Monkey Island? I doubt it.
Anyway, what Im trying to say is, this device is too good to go without third-party software for long. The market will demand it, and Apple and its fantastic indie developers will deliver. It might just take a while. But hell, Ive already been waiting 10 years for an Apple tablet, I can wait a while longer.
One point repeatedly stress by Steve Jobs during the keynote was that the iPhone will have a real browser (as opposed to the mutilated versions available on current smart phones). That seems to indicate that JS is definitely going to be supported, so I wouldnt worry about being able to use your favorite AJAX UI.
That does not mean, of course, that youd be able to take advantage of any of the *interesting* features of the iPhone. But I just refuse to believe Apple is going to hold up this restriction for long
To be blunt: the assertion that Apple doesnt make platforms is total crap. The Mac is platform; so was the Newton. The model thats likely to be employed by Apple (at least initially) is that most indie developers arent going to be able to develop for the iPhone. But big developers will. And Im okay with that. I have a Treo 700p, but its absolutely primitive compared to the iPhoneI would dropkick the 700p (and all of its 3rd-party apps) in a heartbeat for an iPhone.
The point being missed is that is that Apple said that it was reinventing the phonenot creating a new mobile computing platform. Sure, the hardware and software that comprise the iPhone _could_ be used for that, but not right now. This is _not_ Microsoft and Windows CE. Its also not Apple under John Sculley with the Newton.
Its not that Apple and Steve Jobs get a pass because theyre Apple and Steve Jobs; the device solves a bunch of issues that cell phones have had since day one and people who need to be productive on the go (and not screwing around with the suboptimal user interfaces that most smartphones use) get that immediately. Its a closed (for now), but you get a lot of bang for your closed-device buck. For many users, making this tradeoff is no-brainer.
If you were to poll a bunch of executives, I would bet that the vast majority of them cant create a conference call, then go back to private conversations on their existing phones, because its either too hard or too risky to disconnect someone when theyre on an important call. This is ridiculously easy on the iPhone as we saw on Tuesday.
Folks that need a command line on everything they use arent the intended audience for this version of iPhone. There will be other devices from Apple that may meet this need.
Besides, indie Mac developers cant be too upsetMac sales are doing quite well. I suspect when well hear about the first two million Mac quarter on Wednesday, the first of many.
Mark there is a comment bug. I am using Firefox 1.5 (Kubuntu 6.10) and Al Willis is showing in the NAME field on the comment box. As for Rafe (above), it wasnt personal, someone didnt notice that the name of the most recent commentor was grabbed by default somehow.
Im fairly new here, so apologies if this is a known issue.
Al Willis - NOT
My Treo crashes all the time, and why? Because Ive got some third-party software that I like, but that is sloppily written. Once a week or so, my Treo reboots by itself.
I understand and agree with what Jobs is saying. Phone + iPod + Computer = Much More Complicated Environment. Which means that third-party apps better be up to snuff.
I guess I dont see how stifling innovation is good by limiting the programs that can run / be developed on such a platform, but Ive never drank the apple kool-aid. Cingular is way over-subscribed in my area and coverage is lacking so I dont want to depend on web based phone applications as reasonable alternatives to an app that runs on my phone. I dont want to have my web application die on me just as my service drops to one bar
Its interesting that they managed to get both Google and Yahoo on board but they only approached AT&T/Cingular about their network. I am amazed at how much slack people continue to give Apple despite how Apple treats them. Mark, your Charlie Brown analogy was right on.
We dont know which carriers Apple approached regarding the iPhone-I doubt it was only Cingular. However, what we do know is that Cingular decided to go forward even without seeing a prototype.
Marks Charlie Brown analogy doesnt really work, since Apple never committed to creating a mobile computing platform that 3rd parties could develop for and then took it away. Nor should it be expected that anything that Apple producesor any piece of consumer electronicsis going to open to development by indie developers.
No doubt Mac developers will move in droves to the beautiful Linux landscape, where they can earn money doing something I dont know what exactly and not have to feel like dirty sharecroppers.
>> Steve Jobs doesnâ€™t build platforms, except by accident.
Nextstep doesnt count?
My Treo crashes all the time, and why? Because Iâ€™ve got some third-party software that I like, but that is sloppily written.
My Cingular Treo 650 crashes all the time with only the software that shipped on it.
saw a funny article from CES yesterday MS exec complaining they had to allow third party PC providers to include craplets ontop of the OS
One nice feature of constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of conscience is we dont all have to abide by Pilgrims ideologies.
There is a problem in reading too much into this announcement, the problem being that Apple announced earlier than they like to. This was stated that it was all about the FCC reporting regulations, and Apples smart enough to know that the rumour hounds would have caught this no matter how deeply Apple tried to bury it. So they decided to tell us on their terms as soon as they were ready to make the FCC certification filing.
That means Apple has for the first time in a long, long time announced vaporware. Its way to early to see how locked-down this platform will be in the final released form, let alone in future editions. Perhaps Apple will make the battery in the European edition replaceable to meet some EU directive? Maybe theyll integrate iChat, and even add Skype compatibility to iChat? Maybe you can use the phonecam as a videocamera and edit the movies in iMovie? All pure speculation, but the point is that nobody really knows, not even Apple.
Theres a lot of promise in the iPhone, but its still not on the market. Right now Im seeing the lockout of 3rd party developers more as a way of cutting down unknown variables in the v1.0 iPhone, and not as something that is set in stone. I can wait and look to see what happens before I vote with my wallet.
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