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Apple to open iPod platform to software developers?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Will Apple soon open the iPod platform to third party software developers?

Right now it's anyones guess. But judging by a handful of recent job listings, it appears that the company is poised to add iPod development capabilities to its widely distributed Xcode development environment.

A recent listing for an "iPod Xcode Engineer for Embedded Systems" seeks an individual who will be responsible for improving and maintaining Apple's integrated development environment (IDE) for embedded applications. "The person in this position will be required to work closely with the Mac OS X Xcode team," the listing says.

Meanwhile, a second listing calls for an "iPod Compiler Engineer Embedded Systems" to maintain and improve the gcc compiler in embedded, cross compilation applications. As a lead engineer for the compiler development, "you will be responsible for ensuring that the compiler integrates with the other development tools including the Apple Xcode development environment," the company says.

Xcode is Apple's IDE for Mac OS X applications, which streamlines common and time-consuming tasks by fusing familiar user interface concepts with a mix of performance technologies; the software is publicly available to average Joe, free of charge.

It's unclear if the Apple actually intends to allow developers to write their own applications for the iPod, or if the Xcode integration will be used exclusively by the company to improve interaction between the iPod and its own Mac OS X applications.

In May, Apple formed a specialized division to handle the further development of its iPod related products. Over the last 4 months, the division has entered into a hiring spree and is currently soliciting several new iPod design engineers, product marketing managers, and a channel development executive.

Along with Hewlett-Packard, Apple is expected to begin shipping 1 million iPods a month beginning in October.
post #2 of 18
I bet it's only for internal use. Apple wouldn't want third parties messing with the iPod's simplicity and ease of us.

But if outside developers are ONLY able to add stuff to the Extras menu (and then manually to the main menu), I can see it being remotely possible. That would leave the iPod UI intact.
post #3 of 18
If it was only for internal use, there'd be no need to add support to gcc, or Xcode. They already obviously have dev tools in place for internal use.

This screams 3rd party support.
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post #4 of 18
I just hope we don't see iPods starting to crash because of poorly written 3rd party apps.

Wouldn't want the iPod's good name to be tarnished...
post #5 of 18
It is all the more interesting when you realize that Apple would already be working on the next generations for the iPod and iPod mini.
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post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by nagromme
I bet it's only for internal use. Apple wouldn't want third parties messing with the iPod's simplicity and ease of us [sic].

Perhaps the iPod on Linux project has shown them that if they don't provide a way for third-parties to develop for the iPod, people will mess with the iPod's simplicity and ease of use much, much more in order to get that capability...
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post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by CharlesS
Perhaps the iPod on Linux project has shown them that if they don't provide a way for third-parties to develop for the iPod, people will mess with the iPod's simplicity and ease of use much, much more in order to get that capability...

Apple should so release iTunes for Linux.
post #8 of 18
Smells strongly like an extended-capability device.
post #9 of 18
I don't think that apple will want to open the iPod for developers because if they do they will lost the control of the hardware, imagine a third developer giving .wma or .rm compatibility to the iPod, apple will loose their AAC-iTunes monopoly....
post #10 of 18
And yet there's zero other reason to pursue these projects.
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post #11 of 18
I remember on April Fool's Day this year versiontracker had posted a link for "PodBoy", which was supposed to be an original GameBoy emulator for the iPod. How cool would that be? Maybe opening up the platform would make something like this possible. Maybe not. At the very least, we could hope for some new gems to pop up under Extras > Games.
post #12 of 18
It is entirely possible for them to code the support, but leave it out of the final product.
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post #13 of 18
There is a middle ground here, which the console developers occupy: You agree to develop something the console vendor wants on their platform, and the vendor ships you tools.

This could be a sign of expanded iPod development, indeed, but not necessarily open development. My hunch is that they'll still pick and choose who gets to develop what at least until the iPod's market is mature.

I'm willing to be surprised, though.
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post #14 of 18
Doesn't Apple work that way with iPod hardware developers now? Extending the software this way will keep the platform open but to Apple's discretion. You can still call it closed in the sense of proprietary and private though.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by sinclairZX81
Apple should so release iTunes for Linux.


omg, yes, yes YES!!!!
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post #16 of 18
Far more likely is that Ruby put down some dumb-ass mandate that the iPod team should be using Xcode and GCC for their development instead of the ARM tools they use now.

The Xcode team isn't chartered to support the iPod team (and they've got way too much on their plate still trying to catch up to where Metrowerks stopped at several years ago), so the iPod team is looking to hire some folks to make it happen.

Dumb upper management. Extra dumb. No biscuit for you.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by ct77
I just hope we don't see iPods starting to crash because of poorly written 3rd party apps.

Yup, my iPod crashes enough using 1st party code thank you very much.
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post #18 of 18
It is interesting to see everybody is assuming that target for the future embedded IDE must be iPod. I think it is possible this all is about brand new device that has to be announced. Possibly it can be long rumored iPhone. As phones from other vendors rutinely include option to add 3rd party software (Nokia even labels latest models as "Multimedia Computers"), it would make sense for iPhone to allow this as well.
Jobs downplayed existence of iPhone on several occasions, but with the advent of Sony Ericsson "Walkman" line of mobile phones, that was really successful, I doubt Apple can't ignore this market any more. Why anybody wants to buy two devices, if he can get exactly the same functionality in one package ?
This makes a lot of sense to me.
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