The basis of this article is correct: Jobs was not categorically opposed to native apps. He just wanted absolute control over them, and so sometimes made them out to be a big threat. As he put it in an interview right after showing off the iPhone:
“We define everything that is on the phone,” he said. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.”
The iPhone, he insisted, would not look like the rest of the wireless industry.
“These are devices that need to work, and you can’t do that if you load any software on them,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.”
NY Times, Jan 11, 2007
In another interview, he even mentioned the possibility of a bad app "bringing down all the West Coast towers". (In an ironic twist, it was Apple-written software that actually "took down towers". Recall their 3G code problem... it had a CDMA power ramp bug that would cause cells to overload and drop off users! So much for a controlled environment preventing bugs.)
Of course, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry, Palm OS etc all had had apps for years without causing such a problem. (Blackberry apps required a signature that only registered developers had, btw. That was not a new idea.)
Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, written using interviews with him, also talked about Steve Jobs' resistance to third party apps at first. According to the book, both Apple Board Director Art Levinson and marketing chief Phil Schiller kept after Jobs to allow apps, but Jobs didn't want to hear about it at first and shut down any discussions.
However, Jobs was eventually won over. (I suspect that the lukewarm reception to his declaration that web apps were "sweet" had a lot to do with that.) And no, WebOS apps are not the same thing at all.
Re: the SDK not starting in Oct 2007. Well, yeah. The iPhone programmers themselves needed an SDK to work on the device, so obviously one had been in use for a while.
Re: app prices. It's true that the Apple App Store caused mobile software to dramatically drop in price. Great for customers, but very few developers manage to make a living off 70 cent sale revenues.
Re: OS bugs. Apparently few remember that the very FIRST iPhone software update came about because a researcher threatened to release code that would let anyone take over an iPhone, if Apple didn't put out a fix by a certain date. Apple complied.