Apple's Walled Garden Will Hurt iPhone Innovation

from the barriers-to-entry dept

The release of Apple iPhone SDK got a ton of attention on the blogosphere. Personally, I found the announcement to be a huge disappointment, because the rules for getting applications on the iPhone are chock full of restrictions. TechCrunch notes some of the major ones: No VoIP over the cell network, no exchanging data between applications, no multi-tasking (third-party apps quit when you switch out of them). But the more serious problem isn’t strictly technical, but contractual: the only way to get third-party applications onto the iPhone is through Apple’s “App Store.” And Apple plans to carefully monitor the apps available through the store. Apparently “porn, privacy-breaching tools, bandwidth-hogging apps, and anything illegal” are examples of what will be off-limits, but that’s not an exhaustive list.

The problem here goes beyond the mere possibility that Apple might block apps that some users would find useful. The more serious problem is the effect that the approval process will have on developers. Given how vague the rules are (what counts as bandwidth-hogging?) and that Apple is free to change them at any time anyway, it’s going to be risky for a developer to start developing an iPhone app that Apple might reject. TechCrunch wonders, for example, if Apple would allow an app to download songs from Amazon’s MP3 store. To avoid a nasty surprise at the end of the development process, any serious developer will want to talk to Apple ahead of time, but negotiating the feature set ahead of time could delay the product by months.

Perhaps most importantly, these barriers are going to be a serious disincentive to casual tinkering. Some of the greatest applications on the Internet — including email and the Web — were developed by one or two guys without the support of a large organization behind them. They were able to deploy their applications because the Internet (and the ARPANET in the case of email) didn’t have any kind of approval process. You could just install your application and start using it. On an open iPhone platform, the killer mobile app might have been developed the same way. But if a developer has to spend a lot of time arguing with Apple’s iPhone bureaucracy, they’re likely to give up and develop the app for an open platform like Google’s Android instead.

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Comments on “Apple's Walled Garden Will Hurt iPhone Innovation”

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Martin Edic (profile) says:

iPhone SDK

I have a question? Do you understand that Apple is a business? A business that has the right and obligation to its shareholders to offer products they can earn a profit on without imperiling the quality or security of those products?
Their development of a controlled ecosystem for iPhone developers is fair and understandable. These devices are not computers, they are phones that work within a network. Allowing unfettered access and uncontrolled distribution of applications for this system would be stupid from a business POV.
In addition, unlike open initiatives, this one has a major built-in incentive for developing great applications: easy distribution at no cost, great revenue share and $100 million in VC money. We’re going to see hundreds of start-ups emerge because they set up a system that is not for amateurs and crooks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: iPhone SDK

What’s your definition of a computer then? The iPhone and iPod Touch are running a scaled down version of MacOS X. If you jailbreak your iPhone or iPod, and installed OpenSSH, you can log into it over the WiFi connection and browser the file structure, changing or adding files to customize it if you want. The iPhone is not just a phone, but rather more like a laptop that has a cellular modem built into it. And the iPod Touch is no longer just an mp3 player. You can play music, play videos, store photos, browse the internet, buy music through iTunes, take notes, maintain a calendar and contacts, etc.

I just provided loads of proof that these devices are a true next-generation mobile computing platform. They are not dumb devices like DVD players that can only do one thing. They can perform many different kinds of tasks, accept input, and store data, and by any definition, that’s a computer. For that matter the guts of DVD players are computers as well, but not a “personal computer.” I’d like to see your so-called proof that these new devices from Apple are not computers.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Re: iPhone SDK

These devices are not computers, they are phones that work within a network. Allowing unfettered access and uncontrolled distribution of applications for this system would be stupid from a business POV.

“These devices are not computers…” ARRRRGGGHHHHHH!

Pardon my being blunt, but you are just plain wrong (and full of crap). These devices ARE SMALL TABLET COMPUTERS WITH A RADIO MODEM. ANY attempt to delude yourself or others about this fact is a pathetic act of misdirection or wanton ignorance.

“Allowing unfettered access…” GRRRRRRRRrrrrrr.

The cell networks today are in exacly the same position that the copper phone networks were 20 years ago when the explosion of fax machines and PCs with dial-up modems placed additional demand upon their infrastructures. The providers adapted and expanded. Everyone was happy and made money.

A. Reader says:

Re: Re: iPhone SDK

Of course the iPhone is a small tablet computer.

But, and here’s the part most everyone here has gotten wrong, the iPhone is not sold as a general purpose computer. It is sold as an appliance known as a cellular telephone. As such, any expectation that the iPhone be usable / programmable as a general purpose computer is completely misguided.

There are, in fact, many other computerized appliances which fall victim to similar confusion.

DanC says:

Re: iPhone SDK

These devices are not computers, they are phones that work within a network.

The iPhone is running off the same kernel contained in OS X, and it operates (or did) as the root (administrator) user. It’s a handheld computer with phone capabilities.

Allowing unfettered access and uncontrolled distribution of applications for this system would be stupid from a business POV.

Of course, that was the same mindset that lost Apple the home computer market. The walled garden may very well keep the level of quality high, but it also discourages developers, amateur and professional alike. The VC incentive may keep grumbling to a minimum in the short term, but in the long term it will simply frustrate developers by continually having to play by Apple’s vague rules.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: iPhone SDK

I have a question? Do you understand that Apple is a business?

Absolutely. So let me ask you a question: do you realize that Microsoft has made a lot more money as a business than Apple, and did so by opening up its development platform so that Microsoft didn’t have to approve each and every app that was offered on it?

The point that Tim is making is that Apple would be BETTER OFF as a BUSINESS by opening up the platform and not limiting it in this manner.

Allowing unfettered access and uncontrolled distribution of applications for this system would be stupid from a business POV.

History has not shown that to be true. Opening up a system for development is where so many innovations have come from that have allowed busiensses to make more money.

Johnson Rice (user link) says:

Re: iPhone SDK

I have a question, do you understand that in business… the person that gives the customer what they want will ALWAYS win in any society with a measure of freedom? Take for example the fact that Android will now SMASH the iPhone and Microsoft’s lead into 1000 peices. The first multi-touch screen that comes out that supports Android will blow everything else out of the water. I’ve got an iPhone, and I’ve been counting the days and watching the blogs for a true multitouch android device. The only thing that could PREVENT that competition is a restriction of freedom. IE: Government intervention – likely in the form of patent suits by thug lawyers at MS or Apple.
We’ll see how “stupid” a freedom oriented business model is in a few years – Apple has opened flood gates and depressurized the chamber with it’s device, and there will be no closing the door now… the force of the flood is too strong. People now expect this level from their devices and expect to see MORE. Apple is not going to provide what people want… so they will be crushed mercilessly. I bet the end will come quite quickly, in fact, simply for the fact that people don’t want to pay for text messaging, and would want to run an IM program in tandem with other applications. Plain, and simple. That alone is easily indicative of Apple offering up a large slice of failure. Expect ATT to offer free unlimited text messaging within 18 months to compete, or expect to see DRASTIC losses by apple over the next generation of iPhone.

mh says:

iPhone app distribution

If the device wasn’t a phone (that people expect to be 100% reliable, and expect the manufacturer to service/repair) I’d agree that the App Store is a drawback.

But given that the software IS targeted for a phone, and given that Apple (a) wants as many quality apps as it can to get to its goal of 10M iPhones in year 1 and (b) Doesn’t want its iPhone platform to be as risky as Windows is, the App Store makes sense for everyone. If your app isn’t dumb, illegal or poorly executed, Apple (as a profit oriented business) won’t likely bar it arbitrarily from the App Store. The few restrictions for the App Store (no VOIP over Cell) are trivial compared to the opportunity Apple offers.

Apple is taking a risk by both allowing 3rd party apps on the platform and by hosting/selling them for everyone, including “one or two guy” development teams that likely don’t have the infrastructure or resources to develop, support, sell and service a quality software product for a “life-critical” device – a phone. Apple is also lending credibility to these micro-developers who couldn’t buy the kind of exposure/endorsement and convenience that the App Store will provide.

Despite the concerns cited, the App Store will be very successful (ever hear of iTunes?), and those who follow the few road rules Apple provided have the potential to be very successful.

John says:

iPhone SDK

Usually I find the articles and posts on TechDirt to be pretty insightful, but this one is just awful.

Like other posters have already mentioned, you seem to fail in realizing that Apple is a business, and they are intent on keeping the iPhone/Touch as secure and stable as possible. I don’t want my iPhone crashing like my friends’ Palms and Treos. The iPhone is changing the mobile market, whether or not you want to accept that fact or not. I for one am happy to see Apple keeping control, as this will ensure quality, stable apps end up on my phone. The new iTunes App Store will allow any developer to reach an enormous audience right away, plain and simple. Developers should be thrilled with this opportunity, so stop moaning and groaning and get ready to be amazed at what developers create for the iPhone/Touch.

Hellsvilla (user link) says:

As much as I like apple

As much as I like apple, this latest move (just about everything about the iphone really) just really pisses me off, and I’d like to reach out and punish them in some way for it.

What’s really sad tho is how many people are heralding this new walled garden as the second coming of … idunno what.

I think it’s disgusting, and I’m rather ashamed to be typing this on a mac.

Singulariter says:

The Glass is Half Full Dept.

On the flip side, because Apple is aggregating all applications through the app store, it puts small developers on more equal ground with large scale development houses. From a small scale developers perspective, this will benefit them greatly (in the same way that small musicians can benefit from itunes)

Buzz says:

Um, we KNOW Apple is a business.

I’m not sure why everyone is defending Apple on account of being a business. I believe Techdirt is pointing out (and has been for some time) that Apple could BETTER monetize the iPhone is they didn’t restrict it so much. This is not some child whining about having dig through a bunch of rules to write a program for the iPhone. It points out the tragedy of the iPhone.

If the iPhone was not locked to AT&T and had open development available for it, would it not be more interesting to the masses? Sure, Apple could open a site for “Apple-approved” programs (Techdirt even points out that customers still love authenticity) to keep a healthy stockpile of high quality programs, but what is wrong with the adventurous few who do not mind browsing and testing out a few bleeding edge apps? I submit that the iPhone would have sold FAR more units had it remained more open.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Walled Gardens Never Grow.

To those of you who take issue with Lee’s viewpoint here and claim that Apple is a business first, and how the SDK and App distribution system hobbling is a good thing, I say this:

ANYONE who holds a uses an iPhone for even a brief period, realizes that it is a very powerful handheld computer connected to a data network. Inexplicably, there are those of you who can’t seem to shake the “it’s a phone and is somehow different because of that fact” nonsense out of your skulls.

25 years ago the Personal Computer exploded onto the scene and set imaginations and busineses spinning with possibilities. The IBM PC, in particular, started a revolution in that it was built from off-the-shelf components and had openly published interface specifications. Over the years people have come to expect THEIR PERSONAL COMPUTERS to be expandable via hardware, software or both. When Apple presented the world with the iPhone, why were they surprised the MANY, MANY people immediately went to work to PRY OPEN THE GATES of the iPhone’s walled garden internals (AKA: JailBreaking)? Why are you surprised, angry or offended about that happening? Is it because that somehow Apple is “magically” exempt from popular, normal expectations about what computers should be able to do?? Apple’s walled garden approach will fail in the long run because iPhone lovers will continue to work around it via the AppTapp installer, or another, less greedy company, interested in just selling hardware, will deliver the openness that people expect from their p-e-r-s-o-n-a-l computers.

Michael Long (user link) says:

The flip side

I think the flip side of this, and the real innovation coming out of the SDK event is in fact the “App Store”. By providing iPhone developers with an audience ready, willing, able–and required–to actually pay for their software, Apple is going to encourage an avalanche of applications for the iPhone platform.

In a recent podcast Panic mentioned just how vast the piracy of their own apps has turned out to be when they did a serial number check. You know you’re having problems when the majority of your users are REGISTERED with the same number!

With the App Store, all applications are signed and FairPlay encrypted when downloaded. No crack sites hosting SN’s, no keygens, no “sharing”. All of which have PREVENTED a lot of developers from working on mobile applications. No market, and no money.

Apple’s solved that.

See: Apple’s Application Store

Jack Cook (user link) says:

Apple's Walled Garden Will Hurt iPhone Innovation

I think you hit the nail on the head! … I absolutely agree when you say “the more serious problem isn’t strictly technical, but contractual: the only way to get third-party applications onto the iPhone is through Apple’s “App Store.” “

That will be a huge issue in the final analysis IMHO. It is all about control (and making money) and I just can’t subscribe to having someone exert that type of control over me.

Ken (user link) says:

Walled Garden (Sort Of)

Funny. I guess the iPhone will be a walled garden. But, if you really look closely, those who don’t like to be walled in will inevitably find a way to jailbreak out. If you really need access to non-authorized apps, someone will come out with a solution, much like the same way it works now.

BTW, why would you want to run VOIP over EDGE?

mac84 says:

Walled Garden Pffft

Where does this all come from? Apple releases a phone and the world calls it a toy and not ready for business because it’s not locked down. So Apple does its best to lock it down and it’s a Walled garden. A walled garden with MS exchange and AOL messenger inside. (That’s a pretty big garden).

BTW if you are a corporation and have a corporate license, you can load software to your heart’s content outside of the ITMS. Obviously that alternative will be exploited by the hackers. (and Apple knows this as well just like they knew iPhones would be jailbroken).

Apple tells you how to use the iPhone in a way that they are confident that it will work. Use third party hacks to put it on some other network or load any crap software you want. But apple will no longer guarantee or support it.

Kinda like if you pry open your Kenwood stereo and soldier wires to the the the preamp output to add amplifiers, Kenwood won’t guarantee it any more.

chicken little says:

The sky is falling

No, no it’s not. Apple is not stifling innovation by having a process around getting your applications on the iPhone.

No VOIP over a cell network. Hmm, doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out. They have some pretty understandable controls around what standard applications must be held to.

Stop acting like complete openness is the only thing that enables innovation. Figure out a better way to make money than Apple has the last few years and prove me wrong. Otherwise, just stfu.

Stelios says:

Re: The sky is falling

First of all, chicken little, be an adult – your namecalling is ludicrous and makes you look immature.
Anyway, uhm, lets see, as an example, Microsoft, Nokia? They make colossal amounts of money and are much more open than Apple.
The number of Apple apologists that run around the internet trying to justify their purchases smacks so much of cognitive dissonance that I cannot even fathom how people can get away with it. Do they ever pause to think about the fact that they are dealing with Apple as if they are out there to help people instead of their stakeholders – namely employees and much more importantly their shareholders.
But this is the Apple way – I would have been amazed if Apple hadn’t taken the “we must approve before we sell” approach. This way they can make much more money and force a specific use out of their products. That is exactly why they never got a real foothold in the PC business even after so many years.

chicken little says:

RE: Stelios

Ah, I see. So openness was the reason Apple never took a foothold in the PC market. That would account for why Linux is dominating the desktop, right? owait.

And let me get this straight. You are citing Nokia as an open company? lol. To top it all off you are criticizing Apple for trying to use a model that makes them more money. How laughable can your argument get?

I think it’s hilarious that of all the companies to criticize for lack of innovation that Apple is even considered. Some people need a hot cup of wake the fuck up.

DanC says:

Re: RE: Stelios

Ah, I see. So openness was the reason Apple never took a foothold in the PC market.

Actually, it’s fairly obvious you don’t see, or understand for that matter. Apple lost it’s grip on the home computer market because it insisted on controlling the hardware in their machines. While this kept quality up, it also kept prices up. Manufacturers had more incentive to develop hardware for the PC, since they didn’t have to deal with Apple’s restrictions. Since the home computer market was practically brand new, price was a strong motivator, and gave the edge to the PC.

That would account for why Linux is dominating the desktop, right? owait.

Your attempt at sarcasm is misplaced. Linux was developed as an open source alternative to Unix, which is/was used for mainframe and server computers. Only recently has Linux made strides towards the home PC market, notably with the Ubuntu distro. Additionally, since the market is now firmly established (unlike the apple vs. pc era), it faces an uphill struggle to gain market share.

To top it all off you are criticizing Apple for trying to use a model that makes them more money.

It might make them more money in the short term. History has shown that this model will actually make them less money in the long term.

Clueby4 says:

Apple SDK? What did you expect.

iPhone SDK who cares, a buttonless phone is not innovative and if you knew anything about the multi-touch technology that they gobbled up from then you’d understand the lack of innovation. (ie lack of gestures, which may have been able to alleviate issues caused by lack of buttons but I guess they’re holding that back for 2.0)

With regard to “Apple Apologist”, I feel this is to tame of a word. Even fanboy doesn’t quite do it. I put them in the same category as teen girls squealing about a boy bands.

Talking about software is not like talking about people. If you haven’t got anything bad to say keep your mouth shut. Given that implied warranty of merchantability is expressly exculded in TOS, EULA, and other “agrreements”, its really only feedback I want to hear. The frelling company selling has plenty to say how great it is, I don’t need clueless cheerleaders rationalizing their purchases rather they offering practical information.

BlowURmindBowel says:


I have used Windows Mobile for years as well. My phone crashes/needs to be reset maybe once a week. It does 4x what the iPhone can do thanks to ‘amateur’ software from anywhere and everywhere under the sun.

The only caveat to Windows Mobile is that if you are going to tinker with the reg, load/remove software and/or cook your own custom ROMs you need to do a little homework and get hooked up with a decent dev community. I’m not surprised though that really getting the most out of a Windows Mobile Phone is beyond the average jackass, unfortunately *nix has the same problem…

Jake says:

Oh, Who Gives A Monkey's Anyway?

The iPhone’s marketing is pretty obviously targeted at very rich idiots who want to impress other very rich idiots, which I have long suspected is the only demographic that makes these things profitable anyway; I defy you to name a function of the iPhone that isn’t offered with a much less fiddly interface by a laptop with wi-fi and a Skype headset, and possibly a digital watch.

LJSeinfeld (profile) says:

Re: Oh, Who Gives A Monkey's Anyway?

Umm…. let’s see…now, get up real close to your screen so you don’t miss this. A little closer, closer… OK: How about FITTING IN YOUR POCKET.


It’s people like you that foster the general suckidtude of electronic devices, because you’re willing, I dare say proud, to put together a ghetto “workaround”.

Lefty (user link) says:

It's the Insecurity (and Fun with Business Models)

The iPhone requires this distribution model because there’s simply no real security in the device. So far, pretty much everything’s been running as root, and it’s been Apple’s approach to rely on the OS’ obscurity instead of having something workable, flexible and policy-based.

Given the numerous jail-breaks and such, we’ve seen how well that works.

Apple’s approach would seem to ensure that if someone wants to distribute malware, they’ll have to cough up $99 to do it. Unless Apple’s planning on linechecking every submission (and do submissions need to be in source…?), they’ll only be able to deal with malware after it’s already gone out the door to at least some users. Is there anything to keep a malware developer from falsifying a certificate…?

Of course, folks who want to distribute freeware will have to cough up the $99 as well. And any developer of any significant size–i.e. who’s already invested in web servers, distribution, etc., for other platforms–will have to jack up their prices 30% to account for the “iTunes App Store Tax”.

Nice. I can see why Steve’s excited about this.

silverwolf (user link) says:

Re: It's the Insecurity (and Fun with Business Mod

Most commercial software these days is vastly overpriced already. Honestly I don’t have a problem with apple keeping part of the revenue, they are handling the distribution, billing, installation, and marketing of your software for that 30%.

It isn’t as if you aren’t getting any thing for your money, and being listed on the Apple store will likely get small developers much much more exposure and customers then they would have otherwise.

70% of 3,000 sales is way way more money than 100% of 300 sales you see.

Michael Long (user link) says:

Re: It's the Insecurity (and Fun with Business Mod

“…-will have to jack up their prices 30% to account for the “iTunes App Store Tax”

Actually, no. Credit card companies already take a bit out of each purchase. Transaction fees are another percentage.

But by and large, actually getting people to pay for their applications and eliminating most of the piracy and “sharing” that generally occurs otherwise will more than make up for any “Apple Tax”.

Robert (user link) says:

Security vs Functionality

Well, Apple had to balance Security vs Functionality in this debate over 3rd party apps.

One of Apples primary marketing slogans is that “It just works” and for the most part that’s true.

They couldn’t just let anyone install anything they like on the phone because if they did that, it would be crashing all the time just like most Palm and Windows Phones do.

That would have violated one of the prime goals of everything Apple produces.

But at the same time, the community and the users demands some kind of 3rd party Apps. Apple did their best to provide the 3rd party Applications in a way that they could also maintain the reliability and security of the device.

Having used both Windows Mobile and Palm devices in the past I think they came to a pretty decent compromise.

silverwolf (user link) says:

Re: Problem is the iPhone OS

That’s essentially true, but it’s a little misleading. The iPhone has a very simple security model (at present) because Apple had always intended to strictly control what Native Software was allowed to run on the device.

3rd party apps were supposed to be run in a protected space as “webapps” which is a good idea in theory, but a little bit ahead of it’s time i’m afraid.

That being said, The security model may change in v 2.0 of the iPhone software, in order to better accommodate native 3rd party apps. (Otherwise why the delay until June ?)

TheHoldSteady says:

iTunes integration as monopoly

I still am looking for the explanation why the Apple integration of iTunes in all their services and products is not the same as Microsoft integrating Internet Explorer into their OS. I’m no Windows advocate as I dropped them nearly two years ago due to the inherent insecurity (now use Ubuntu), but how come Microsoft can’t roll over in their sleep without getting fined by the EU, while Apple (which has both a software -and- a hardware monopoly) is never even criticized? Apparently Steve Jobs gets a free pass for being a grand master of stylish mass manipulation. Then again, I’m still wating to read about which humanitarian causes receive Steve Jobs’ filthy lucre. Another instance of him getting a free pass.

Martin Edic (profile) says:

I know it's a computer d'oh!

Of course iPhone is a computer- anything with a chip in it is a computer. But it is not an untethered computer.
As far as the Microsoft example, take a look at the market cap, cash on hand, profit margins and stock appreciation even with the recent plunge and tell me Apple is not gaining on MS. Vista is a disaster, Apple has doubled its share of the PC market in the last year and is projected to be at 10% or more by the end of this year. It is larger than Dell and far more profitable (market cap).
This post is just plain off base, IMHO. Good linkbait tho…

Me says:

Free choices are always better than walled gardens


Its a computer… it has all the hallmarks of what the US Tariff schedule calls a portable advanced data processing machine. IE… laptop.

Who cares if its untethered or not. Has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

People who argue for limits are those that are uncomfortable with making the choices necessary to run their own lives. A person truly comfortable with making decisions would be able to say something along the lines of:

“Yes, let everything be free and open, with the ability for the users to choose what they want. If I want a pristine 100% working (no matter how unlikely this will be..) iphone, I won’t install any apps from anywhere else other than apple. On the other hand, if I want to push my iphone to the limits, let me make the choice to do so.”

Seriously… stuff like this always makes me think of the car analogy. Do you really think companies should (or even could) stop people from changing parts in cars that are purchased from them? This situation is exactly the opposite of a poor college kid buying a car, one of the “limited” edition ones, and then later having the choice and deciding to add the rear speakers… etc.

You people who don’t want choices make me wonder about our future.

DanC says:

Gotta love the apple fanatics....

You can’t have an intelligent discussion with most of them, because they use faulty logic. They start with the assumption that Apple is always right, and try to find a way to prove Apple’s actions are correct, instead of actually looking at those actions to determine whether they make sense or not.

And if you keep disagreeing with them, they’ll accuse you of being a Microsoft lover, or a Linux lover, or some such. Because saying Apple is doing something dumb causes interference with their worldview.

Developer says:

Apple SDK

I believe someone will create a hack that will allow you to install apps without going thru the apple store.

Second, if you are looking for a super reliable phone you may be better off going with a Nokia. The beauty behind PDA phones is not just making phone calls but doing everything else as well. I can understand the argument of wanting reliable phones. I just don’t think it is a good reason to block developers.

Stiff guidelines can very well slow or halt innovation anywhere not just technology. As a developer I would surely develop for an open platform before considering iPhone’s platform. Why would small developers risk this? They won’t!

You should test applications and purchase them from reputable software companies. Apple is playing big brother with this move.

Most users of Apple are simple anyway. Few buttons, smooth looks and ease of use. What do they care about freedom. They like apple making all the design and use decisions for them.

Can you imagine what type of software would exist in the world with this kind of control. What if Dell & Microsoft said your software must do this and this and cannot do that and that and O-yeah not that either. That is going the opposite direction of open platforms.

Michael Long (user link) says:

Re: Apple SDK

“Why would small developers risk this?”

1) To gain access to a market of millions of phones.
2) To actually get paid for every application used.

Apple’s providing a sales and marketing platform AND allowing developers to finally make a few bucks off their work.

I think they’ll flock to it. Just look at how swamped Apple’s servers became when the SDK became available for download.

simon elliott (user link) says:

easily hackable

Apple have a history of releasing easily hackable software, I have even heard marketing experts say that this is a deliberate policy to drive penetration without putting the apple logo on innovations from the community. They were allowing software like ourTunes to exist and therefore drive the adoption of iTunes. Do you think that this is a serious attempt to limit the development community on the iPhone platform?

Anonymous Coward says:

You know, you guys should just jailbreak your iPhones or iPod Touches and be done with it. There’s lots of useful apps out there already, not bound by any of Apple’s stupid restrictions. Plus, the jailbreak methods have now developed to the point that they are extremely simple to use. The latest firmware (1.1.4) was jailbroken within two weeks of it being released, probably less. I just jailbroke my iPod this weekend and I now have a unit conversion utility, dictionaries, tip calculator, and several games (just to name a few) on it, and I’m loving it. Plus it’s all 100% free, although you’re encouraged to donate to the cause. Granted, in time, the official apps may outpace the free hacked apps, but that’s gonna take a while. In the meantime, feel free to fully enjoy the gadget you paid good money for, regardless of what Steve Jobs wants.

Clint says:

A walled garden works

Photos, Music, Contacts, etc. on my mac sync to my ipod, iphone, appletv. I don’t need to figure it out and i don’t need to figure out what apps to buy to make this happen. I have a friend who was confused because he had to plug his cordless phone into the wall(but it’s cordless). I think there are a lot more people in the world that would be happy with a walled garden that is easy to use and works than an open garden that they have to spend hours trying to figure out. I know that everyone I’ve gotten to switch to the Mac garden is much happier. All the people that don’t want to be in the walled garden make it so that the people who would be happy there are afraid to pass through the gate.

DanC says:

Re: A walled garden works

I think there are a lot more people in the world that would be happy with a walled garden that is easy to use and works than an open garden that they have to spend hours trying to figure out.

If a walled garden where Apple makes all the important decisions works for you, than more power to you. Apple has built its core base on those would rather remain blissfully ignorant. But Apple is finally making products a large portion of the public want to buy, and its trying to exercise the same kind of control over a much larger audience.

They recognize the fact that their walled garden will inherently suppress innovation, which is why they’re offering the venture capital funds. It’ll probably work in the short term, but eventually the developers are going to be sick of Apple’s restrictive rules.

All the people that don’t want to be in the walled garden make it so that the people who would be happy there are afraid to pass through the gate.

Actually, we just think it’s better to be informed than ignorant. Consumers should be able to decide what applications they put on their iPhone. Creating a certification program that designated the apps as “Apple approved” would make more sense, and allow developers the freedom to develop without restrictions.

Eventually, the SDK will probably be leaked and hacked (if it hasn’t already) and you’ll see “unauthorized” programs coming from people that actually want to use their iPhone beyond Apple’s control.

Joe (user link) says:

What, you're surprised?

This is how Apple operates. It’s why they still are able to talk (incessantly) about how stable their OS is and why Apple PCs are better than everyone else’s…

Did you really think that they would open up the iPhone to allow anyone to develop freely? That would compromise their “attention to detail” and blah blah blah.

Too bad you can’t do what you want with them.

His Shadow says:

Anyone who has looked at the apps available a jailbroken iPod Touch, never mind the iPhone, knows that the restrictions won’t mean hooey, and it’s pointless hand wringing. There wasn’t even an SDK and there are hundreds of apps available.

And yes, the “Apple is a business and the iPhone is a phone” are EXACTLY why Apple will allow only apps that make the grade and don’t degrade performance. The misery imparted on WinCE users by the useless garbage that was until this point considered third party development (never mind the instability of the base OS) will be recognised for the sick and useless carcass it is once the iPhone SDK gets into thousands of eager hands. WinCE is dead as the Dodo. The iPhone SDK will provide the nails for the coffin.

John says:

they are phones

“These devices are not computers, they are phones”

The Ipod Touch outsells the Iphone:

“The iPod touch is the runaway hit and it’s clearly being driven by the App Store”

I dislike the walled garden approach to be sure, but Apple hit the nail with the appstore by providing an easy central nexus for customers to get apps for free/cheap/regular prices and for many small creators/developers to have an easy access to a central nexus with a large pool of clients that goes beyond phones(since ipod touch too) that all have immediate and easy access to the store from the first time they open the device.

Apples competitors are many, their challenge is to avoid mutually fragmenting the client/developer base(even worst if the various sdk/os and store are incompatible). One posibility, could be having a prominent store(ex:google/ebay) that would itself keep just a small cut(ex: 10% instead of 30%) of the sale price, forward a small cut(10%) to the device corp(which would have this store app included in the device), and 80% to the devs.

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