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Apple's iPad secrecy leaves many developers handicapped

post #1 of 85
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An elite group of software developers afforded early access to the iPad must provide photographic evidence that they've complied with a stringent set of requirements before Apple hands one over, but for everyone else, authoring software for the upcoming device can prove to be a shot in the dark.

That's according to BusinessWeek, which is the latest publication to serve up a profile on the secrecy that surrounds Apple's products, even those that have been announced and stand just weeks away from making their way into the hands of its customers. The iPad is a classic example.

According to the report, the select few developers who've seen their requests for an iPad granted must swear to harbor the pre-production units by locking them to an immovable object in an isolated room where all of its windows are completely blacked-out. They must then sign and submit a more than 10-page non-disclosure agreement along with photographic evidence that they've met all the provisions set forth in the document, which include the secret room.

The lengths these developers must go to may seem extreme, but they come with their share of rewards, namely a competitive edge over thousands of their peers who've pleaded with Cupertino-based electronics maker for similar access to test their upcoming applications on the actual device to no avail.

For instance, Evernote, which authors software that helps users organize, store and search through their documents, was amongst those turned down by Apple for an iPad prototype to test their upcoming application for the device. As such, its development team created a cardboard mockup of the iPad to help it make an educated guess at certain aspects of the iPad, like knowing where a user's thumbs will naturally rest and how the device's multi-touch screen responds to certain real-life gestures.

It's nuances like those that can't be evaluated with precision using Apple's iPhone Software Developers Kit, which is still arguably one of the most complete and cutting-edge development environments offered by a modern day high-tech firm. It bundles a simulator for Macs that displays applications in windows that mimic the displays screens of iPhones, iPods and iPads, substituting a mouse cursor for the user's finger.

Also denied an early crack at the iPad were movie-viewing app maker Flixter and game maker Digital Chocolate, which is run by Trip Hawkins, a former marketing lead at Apple who left to start gaming powerhouse Electronics Arts. "We asked for the iPad many times and got nowhere," he said.

That raises the question as to which developers have actually seen their requests for an iPad met by Apple. BusinessWeek offers no answers to this end, but cites a chief executive of a company that manages relationships with third-party developers as suggesting the company is choosing top software publishers who may have otherwise been hesitant to embrace the App Store ecosystem.
post #2 of 85
Apple is doing this exactly right. We need to be secret so that nobody knows.
post #3 of 85
It is kind of paranoic. And it is only about marketing. But it is undeniable that Apple is genius at their marketing strategy. But I do sometimes ask myself if they overdo this kind of secrecy.
post #4 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Apple is doing this exactly right. We need to be secret so that nobody knows.

Especially those making software for it.
post #5 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post

It is kind of paranoic. And it is only about marketing. But it is undeniable that Apple is genius at their marketing strategy. But I do sometimes ask myself if they overdo this kind of secrecy.

I agree that this is ridiculously silly and paranoid on Apple's part, at this stage in the game. The only issue would be if they were planning to incorporate some brand new feature that we have not known about (low chance of that) which they want to keep secret, but even then, c'mon.....

Grow up, Apple. Stop treating your partners like idiots (even if you risk the occasional leak).
post #6 of 85
I'd like to know how this compares to other device makers. How did Nintendo or Sony handle the contract and requirements for prerelease development machines?

I didn't find anything online about how much the simulator does or does not hold up to the capabilities of the real thing.
post #7 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Apple is doing this exactly right. We need to be secret so that nobody knows.

:-) Well, they're going to look silly if the product turns out to not be that good.

The article said XCode is "one of the most complete and cutting-edge development environments offered by a modern day high-tech firm" - I would say this is somewhat of an overstatement. It is certainly one of the best dev environments for a mobile device, but when it comes to desktop computer development, both Microsoft's Visual Studio and the open source Eclipse are quicker to learn and easier to use.
post #8 of 85
haha, it's like a spy ring. I wonder if they have assassins too.
iPad News, App Reviews, and More: iPadNewsUpdates.com
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iPad News, App Reviews, and More: iPadNewsUpdates.com
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post #9 of 85
So there is something it can do we as of yet don't know about! I don't see any other reason for this secrecy.
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #10 of 85
Apple has turned exactly into the Big Brother in the 1984 commercial it mocked. Funny how the Karma chameleon rears his head.
post #11 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I agree that this is ridiculously silly and paranoid on Apple's part, at this stage in the game. The only issue would be if they were planning to incorporate some brand new feature that we have not known about (low chance of that) which they want to keep secret, but even then, c'mon.....

Grow up, Apple. Stop treating your partners like idiots (even if you risk the occasional leak).

I disagree. After having all the features of the iPhone copied (the courts are still deciding who really owns the patents), Apple is naturally careful about leaking too much information before delivery.
post #12 of 85
Its not like they haven't supplied DEVs with an SDK including the device emulator which lets you run and test your apps. OK, you don't get a 100% feel for how it will be in your hand but you can compile and test for your target device.
post #13 of 85
Apple has been burned too many times by corporate opportunists (like Schmidt.) Can't really say I blame them. There will still be thousands of developers by April. In fact, if anything, this will attract even more developers. Apple is sending a clear message about just how important a device this is.
post #14 of 85
The article isn't very complete and doesn't do much but fan a particular flame. All we know is that the majority of developers have not gotten a pre-release device for testing. We haven't heard a peep from those who DO have one, because they are sworn to secrecy, and would see the Apple SS march through their doors and remove it, should they even mention it in passing.

I'm sure about 20 - 50 major developers have the iPad right now under lock in key, and are probably in the testing phase as we speak. Many have probably just begun submitting their iPad Apps to Apple for approval.

On April 3rd, there will likely be 20 or so great new apps for the iPad, and probably 50 - 100 that are simple and untested. Once every developer has a device for testing, the apps will get ironed out, and we'll see 100-200 new iPad Apps every week.

On May 4th, I predict an Apple event to showcase iOS 4.0, and everything it will bring to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Release time frame will be by the end of June(29th). New iPhone hardware, "iPhone HD", to arrive that Friday, July 2nd.
post #15 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by TECHSTUD View Post

Apple has turned exactly into the Big Brother in the 1984 commercial it mocked. Funny how the Karma chameleon rears his head.

I don't see what Apple of 2010 has to do with IBM of 1984.
post #16 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by TECHSTUD View Post

Apple has turned exactly into the Big Brother in the 1984 commercial it mocked. Funny how the Karma chameleon rears his head.

As someone who is fully aware of the reality of Big Brother, or what it actually translates to in the modern world, I cannot agree that Apple is there yet. I see a long slow move in that direction, and their support of Al Gore is nothing short of embarrassingly idiotic, but I believe its more of an image thing than a "control the world" thing. 40 billion in cash isn't enough to control anything these days. The international banks that are hoarding US taxpayer money are slightly bigger concern for the every day American.
post #17 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Apple has been burned too many times by corporate opportunists (like Schmidt.) Can't really say I blame them. There will still be thousands of developers by April. In fact, if anything, this will attract even more developers. Apple is sending a clear message about just how important a device this is.

But surely the major devs, such as Microsoft, who would have the resources to copy the iPad, would have received one? They are giving it to their worst enemies and then demanding they don't share, which is a bit moot by that point.

Edit: or maybe that's the point. To get all the people who are capable of copying it, signing these 10 page contracts up front? Very clever if there are later legal disputes.
post #18 of 85
Umm, we KNOW what the iPad looks like; it's been announced and photos are on Apple's site. So why all the secrecy?

Are they going to ship it with extra features they haven't announced and surprise us? Curious.
post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

The article said XCode is "one of the most complete and cutting-edge development environments offered by a modern day high-tech firm" - I would say this is somewhat of an overstatement. It is certainly one of the best dev environments for a mobile device, but when it comes to desktop computer development, both Microsoft's Visual Studio and the open source Eclipse are quicker to learn and easier to use.

XCode has come a long way since iPhone developers came on board. I've been noticing a lot of little tweaks in the last year (and even the latest beta) that are really making it compete nicely with the environments you mentioned. Hence the arguable statement makes sense to me, but only over the past two years.
post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Umm, we KNOW what the iPad looks like; it's been announced and photos are on Apple's site. So why all the secrecy?

Are they going to ship it with extra features they haven't announced and surprise us? Curious.

No, they won't. This is just typical Apple secrecy. If you remember, there was literally NO ONE outside of Apple that had their hands on iPhone before 6 PM EST on June 29, 2007.
post #21 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by TECHSTUD View Post

Apple has turned exactly into the Big Brother in the 1984 commercial it mocked. Funny how the Karma chameleon rears his head.

That is right....When MicroSoft stole their secrets in 1990's, Steve Jobs got wise...That is survival my friend...
post #22 of 85
Maybe they are using the 4.0 OS.
post #23 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElmCityWeb View Post

haha, it's like a spy ring. I wonder if they have assassins too.

And his name is Moshe. When Moshe has been dispatched by SJ you are as good as dead.
post #24 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronsullivan View Post

XCode has come a long way since iPhone developers came on board. I've been noticing a lot of little tweaks in the last year (and even the latest beta) that are really making it compete nicely with the environments you mentioned. Hence the arguable statement makes sense to me, but only over the past two years.

I'm sure you're right it is still evolving. Now if only it would evolve in to a Visual Studio clone.
post #25 of 85
Are the physical specs still a secret? For those developers who need a physical object to determine the best placement of fingers, thumbs and such, couldn't Apple just provide them with the specs. Developers could then build their own mockups (or cut out of cardboard as one did).
post #26 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by TECHSTUD View Post

Apple has turned exactly into the Big Brother in the 1984 commercial it mocked. Funny how the Karma chameleon rears his head.

Apple is not a an oppressive government that controls your every move. They are a company with specific rules and standards. You can enter and leave the Apple walled garden to your heart's content.

Apple doesn't govern your life. Your government does. I'd worry about *that* organization way before I'd worry about a tech company out to sell some products.

Apple has always been this secretive. If consumers and developers were unhappy, they'd go somewhere else. But that's not happening.
post #27 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

I don't see what Apple of 2010 has to do with IBM of 1984.

Absolutely nothing, which is why he posted it. Apple has a larger valuation and makes more money than IBM yet for some reason he thinks the Apple 1984 marketing itself as the innovative underdog still needs to maintain this "little guy" persona. It's illogical.

PS: Anyone know IBM's market cap for this day in 1984?

edit: IBM has 1.3B stocks out with two 2:1 splits for 325M shares back in 1984. AT $28 a share that is $9.1B.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

But surely the major devs, such as Microsoft, who would have the resources to copy the iPad, would have received one? They are giving it to their worst enemies and then demanding they don't share, which is a bit moot by that point.

Edit: or maybe that's the point. To get all the people who are capable of copying it, signing these 10 page contracts up front? Very clever if there are later legal disputes.

For the most part what they've seen in the demo and on the website is all they need to copy. They've surely gone though iPhone OS by this point so seeing the redesigned UI for a 10" tablet and iWork for a 10" tablet is more than enough to know that is how it's done. I'm sure WinPh7 has already been split off to make a tablet version of the OS.

The contracts aspect is interesting and clever but it sounds a bit too conspiracy theory to me at this point to accept as likely. The easier answer is that the companies they loaned the HW too, under lock-and-key, are big players that will help Apple make more iPad sales if they're offering apps at or near launch.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #28 of 85
So what everyone still gets the SDK they just can't physically hold the iPad, I really don't see the huge deal, aww boo hoo we didn't get to play with one before everyone else.
post #29 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

:-) Well, they're going to look silly if the product turns out to not be that good.

The article said XCode is "one of the most complete and cutting-edge development environments offered by a modern day high-tech firm" - I would say this is somewhat of an overstatement. It is certainly one of the best dev environments for a mobile device, but when it comes to desktop computer development, both Microsoft's Visual Studio and the open source Eclipse are quicker to learn and easier to use.

Generally, and in this case too, "quicker to learn" and "easier to use" means they aren't cutting edge.

They can't go together. XCode is more cutting edge than the slow and clunky Visual Studio and Eclipse IDE's though.

I work with VS 2005/2008 all day at work and they are painfully slow, and half the time the "Properties" being displayed aren't even for the correct control.

It's always great losing a couple of hours work in VS too just because you accidentally switched to and edited in source view whilst the designer was still in template view.
post #30 of 85
[QUOTE=ascii;1593660]But surely the major devs, such as Microsoft, who would have the resources to copy the iPad, would have received one? They are giving it to their worst enemies and then demanding they don't share, which is a bit moot by that point.

Yes, the delays are days and weeks not months and years. This is obviously good marketing on Apples part. Each surprise is yet another round of world wide free front page press. Come on.. this is like marketing 001..

And when didn't those most in the "know" act first on newness? The fart app can wait a few weeks can't it?

What i find interesting is that i haven't seen anything from Pogue in the NYTimes. His reports are mainstream .. maybe i missed something he wrote? If not, he is part of the plot to start off with a bang at the Times with this appliance.

Mean while the latest from "picture to a movie" presentations from Penguin, Wired and others represents a real interest in visual tools to tell media stories as efficient and multidimensional. This also is an enormous wake up to Media as a re-set in economics where they can put enough value into their work to get people to pay for it.

The recent penguin presentation has just 250,000 hits on utube.. hardly a mass market grasp of what is coming I would say! The point is that it is too early to do much more than imagine what this appliance will do in the world. I think it is going to be massively big.. and will go through its growing pains just like other disruptive products do when they hit the streets.

This is a very well organized market disruption to media - that will become important in enough eyes to proceed nicely in 2010 before really taking off in 2011.. Of course there are the constant pundits that think it is nothing more than a touch-GRANDE.. That is what makes it interesting.. But i haven't read anything pundits are saying that has much at all to do with where the ipad is heading .. just on its own merits and nothing more. In consumer electronics, the ipad is already a hit. Pre-exit polls before delivery of a device on order are an obvious indicator.
post #31 of 85
Both Apple "and" TECHSTUD are stupid.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #32 of 85
Funny that for all their secrecy, people know how the secrecy works and information still gets out. I am sure there are some details that will never see the light of day however....
post #33 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLuv View Post

Apple is doing this exactly right. We need to be secret so that nobody knows.

So that nobody knows what? The iPad has been annoucned. It's been used by thousands - albeit in a limited fashion at a trade show. Why is Apple still acting like the device is a big secret?
post #34 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by MALFEITOR View Post

Maybe they are using the 4.0 OS.

Maybe...

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post #35 of 85
Maybe because we cant be sure whether it's the PR and marketing department or corporate security that dream this stuff up.
post #36 of 85
The whole premise of this article as exaggerated by its title is silly.

Developers aren't being handicapped by Apple's secrecy. They're simply being made to wait, like the rest of us, for a brand new product.

The small number that Apple trusts with actual machines are trusted for good and substantial reasons best known only to Apple.

There's no such thing as "some" security when it comes to a new product not yet released, so the line has to be drawn, and it has to be a very firm and well-defined line, with dramatically different qualifications on either side of it.

It's simply a matter of time--a mere 15 days--before these "poor neglected" developers will have their own units to play with--worst case, 45 days or so before they get the 3G models.

That's certainly not worth the risk for Apple in handing out pre-release units.

Daniel Swanson

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post #37 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

As someone who is fully aware of the reality of Big Brother, or what it actually translates to in the modern world, I cannot agree that Apple is there yet.

Well, if we talk about what the book 1984 was about, Apple can never get there. 1984 was about the GOVERNMENT forcibly intruding into every aspect of our life. Apple is a private company, not the government. Since we have a choice not to deal with Apple and it has no governmental authority, it can't get to "1984".
post #38 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by TECHSTUD View Post

Apple has turned exactly into the Big Brother in the 1984 commercial it mocked. Funny how the Karma chameleon rears his head.

Dude, think before you post.

The big Brother reference is a real reach, and Karma Chameleon is a reference to a closeted gay man. You're not making much sense as usual.
post #39 of 85
Quote:
It bundles a simulator for Macs that displays applications in windows that mimic the displays screens of iPhones, iPods and iPads, substituting a mouse cursor for the user's finger.


Guess it would be too much trouble then for Apple to port App Store apps to Mac's/Dashboard since it's 90% of the way there anyway.

Most of the App Store apps are crap, but it would be nice to have most of the good ones running on all of one's Apple devices, also there could be some auto-syncing going on there too when they get into range of each other.

Of course if what I propose requires future Mac's to be closed ecosystem devices like the iPad, then they can go to hell.
post #40 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

I would guess it was alot better then Apple market cap back in 1984.

That is my point.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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