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Apple may introduce iPhone SDK at developers conference - report

post #1 of 48
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Apple Inc. at its developers conference next week may introduce a software developers kit (SDK) that will allow third party developers to write small applications for its upcoming iPhone handset, according to a published report.

Citing a person briefed on the company's plans, the New York Times reported Monday that the Cupertino-based electronics maker "intends to announce that it will make it possible for developers of small programs written for the Macintosh to easily convert them to run on the iPhone."

The paper offered no further details on the matter.

Since introducing iPhone in January, Apple has wrestled with the prospect of opening the device to third party developers, a move which could have serious ramifications on the security and stability of the highly touted handset.

Although the company had initially indicated that it would not allow third-party application development, chief executive Steve Jobs seemed to relent during an interview at last week's D: All Things Digital conference.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, the Apple frontman candidly revealed that Apple was looking for ways to make it possible for developers to create software for the phone, suggesting that the arrival of third-party iPhone access is now a question of "when" rather than "if."

Jobs noted that poor software has served to tarnish the Japanese consumer electronics industry. On the other hand, he said, the iPhone's robust Mac OS X Leopard-based foundation signifies a five-year lead on the rest of the handset industry.

If you look at the iPhone, its software wrapped in wonderful hardware, said Jobs.

Critics of the Apple handset have long pointed to the device's lack of third party access as a major barrier to its success in the enterprise market, as corporations would be unable to extend their applications to handset. By contrast, the three most popular smartphone operating systems in the U.S. today -- Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry -- all allow for such capability.
post #2 of 48
Could this be those Dashboard Widgets I've heard so much about?

Seriously, it seems like the first step in releasing 3rd-party software will come from the multitude of widgets that are available right now. A few developers have already created optimized versions for the iPhone's interface.

I really don't see Apple having a new Xcode for the iPhone ready at this time, much less willing to unleash it.
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post #3 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Critics of the Apple handset have long pointed to the device's lack of third party access as a major barrier to its success in the enterprise market, as corporations would be unable to extend their applications to handset. By contrast, the three most popular smartphone operating systems in the U.S. today -- Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry -- all allow for such capability.

Third party apps are a great way of allowing more with less effort on Apple's part but I can understand Steve's concern regarding stability and not wanting the iPhone to develop a reputation of "crashing" or allowing 'viruses' due to those third party apps.


'Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry -- all allow for such capability.' and out of curiosity, what is their stability record?

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post #4 of 48
This seems to indicate that it will be good for developers who want to port existing widgets and web apps to the iPhone, but what about developers who specifically want to create applications which work with the unique hardware of the iPhone (ie. multitouch, rotation sensors)? Jobs himself said that he's always excited to see what unique ways people use Apple technology, so the iPhone seems to be the perfect candidate for that opportunity.

I'm curious to see how deep this SDK will go.
 
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post #5 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I really don't see Apple having a new Xcode for the iPhone ready at this time, much less willing to unleash it.

They wouldn't need a new Xcode, just an SDK which you could use from the existing XCode. If the iPhone runs a scaled down version of Mac OS and contains either a PPC or Intel chip, it should be easy. Compile the app in XCode on your Mac against the set of SDKs/Frameworks the iPhone supports, send it over to the iPhone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and test it out.
 
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post #6 of 48
What is going to be interesting is how Apple controls the customer's access to the iPhone apps/widgets.

I can see Apple requiring developers to submit their work to Apple for review and to keep downloads limited to downloads from Apple - ensuring that malware is not added after the review.

the other issue will be bloat ware - a potential problem with the limited capacity of the iPhone and all of the other bits & pieces that consumers will want installed, from music and pictures to movies. 8 Gigs can be filled up rather fast by some consumers.
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post #7 of 48
I wouldn't be surprised if this is just for Widgets. No XCode, just Dashcode. It would open up the iPhone to custom apps without a huge amount of risk of apps crashing the phone.
post #8 of 48
This was predicted by several
post #9 of 48
Ayup. And what's DashCode? JavaScript + XHTML.

And what's Google Gears?

Uh-huh.
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post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenaustus View Post

What is going to be interesting is how Apple controls the customer's access to the iPhone apps/widgets.

I can see Apple requiring developers to submit their work to Apple for review and to keep downloads limited to downloads from Apple - ensuring that malware is not added after the review.

the other issue will be bloat ware - a potential problem with the limited capacity of the iPhone and all of the other bits & pieces that consumers will want installed, from music and pictures to movies. 8 Gigs can be filled up rather fast by some consumers.

The only way I can think off of controlling it, is to have the phone only execute software that has been signed by Apple. If Apple likes the software they sign it, if they don't like it they don't sign it and therefore can not be executed by the phone.

Malware can not execute unless signed by Apple or a defect on the system.
post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

The only way I can think off of controlling it, is to have the phone only execute software that has been signed by Apple. If Apple likes the software they sign it, if they don't like it they don't sign it and therefore can not be executed by the phone.

But then how does one actually do development? It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma: to do development you need a digital signature, but to get a digital signature, you need a working application which Apple approves of.

The best solution I can think of which satisfies developers and end-users is this:

Any application which is installed by an end user needs to run via the system installer, which checks for a digital signature. However, developers can put their applications in a certain place on the iPhone by hand for testing. Obviously, an application/widget which is downloaded can't place itself there manually (Safari puts limitations on what is done with downloaded files), so unless an end-user runs a malware installer script, they won't end up with bad software.
 
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post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

But then how does one actually do development? It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma: to do development you need a digital signature, but to get a digital signature, you need a working application which Apple approves of.

Two words: iPod games.
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post #13 of 48
I would imagine that any software you'd like to add will need to go through iTunes, which would provide a convenient way for apple to control the process. They just add an iPhone app section to the iTS and voila. Now, will you have to pay for widgets?
post #14 of 48
How about they make widget development open and then actual phone apps only available if apple approved?
post #15 of 48
Does this mean there is a chance now we might see GoodLink software for it now?
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Two words: iPod games.

I hunted around the ADC website and couldn't find anything about how to develop games for iPod (not even a way to get in contact with anyone about it). Is developing for the iPhone going to be just as obscure as this?
 
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post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

But then how does one actually do development? It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma: to do development you need a digital signature, but to get a digital signature, you need a working application which Apple approves of.

Easy. You only make the signature mandatory for actual deployment.
post #18 of 48
This is awesome.
The inability to load 3rd party apps has been one of the biggest complaints so far.

Next up - integrate GPS.
post #19 of 48
post #20 of 48
Developers, this is what I want to see:

open PDFs

open microsoft office documents (excel, word, powerpoint)

integration with ms exchange email systems

access to IM with voice capabilities

-------That should be enough to satisfy business users.
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenaustus View Post

The other issue will be bloat ware - a potential problem with the limited capacity of the iPhone and all of the other bits & pieces that consumers will want installed, from music and pictures to movies. 8 Gigs can be filled up rather fast by some consumers.

Most portable device software is VERY small. Tens of ks is common. Hundreds of ks not so common.

Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

But then how does one actually do development? It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma: to do development you need a digital signature, but to get a digital signature, you need a working application which Apple approves of.
.

How console developers do it is they get a special development kit with a device that lets them run unsigned code.
post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

How console developers do it is they get a special development kit with a device that lets them run unsigned code.

Sure, that would work for me, as long as it's readily available (unlike the iPod game development kit).
 
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post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob1varghese View Post

Developers, this is what I want to see:

open PDFs

FYI:
You can already read PDFs with both Safari, and Preview for that matter. Now, if you want to edit PDFs, that is a different ball of wax.

And TextEdit can read RTF, RTFD, HTML, ODT, DOC, DOCX (Word 2007), and Word 2003 XML format.
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post #24 of 48
Dang!

They reported this before I got a chance to get back to the computer after reading it.
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Third party apps are a great way of allowing more with less effort on Apple's part but I can understand Steve's concern regarding stability and not wanting the iPhone to develop a reputation of "crashing" or allowing 'viruses' due to those third party apps.

I thought the cornerstone of OS X was its 'crash-proofiness'. Are you saying that it can't even stand up to a small little application without going through extensive testing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenaustus View Post

What is going to be interesting is how Apple controls the customer's access to the iPhone apps/widgets.

I can see Apple requiring developers to submit their work to Apple for review and to keep downloads limited to downloads from Apple - ensuring that malware is not added after the review.

I can't see that as being a "good" thing. So, we on the OS X side have no worries about mal-ware, but its going to take over the iPhone unless Apple controls everything going into it? And if you're really trying to get this into business hands, with their custom apps, they are NOT going to want to give Apple their software for 'approval', esp. depending on what type of software and data access its designed to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theveeb View Post

I wouldn't be surprised if this is just for Widgets. No XCode, just Dashcode. It would open up the iPhone to custom apps without a huge amount of risk of apps crashing the phone.

Well, that really limits the usefulness of the 'apps', don't it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdj21ya View Post

I would imagine that any software you'd like to add will need to go through iTunes, which would provide a convenient way for apple to control the process. They just add an iPhone app section to the iTS and voila. Now, will you have to pay for widgets?

Again, companies with internal apps won't like this, nor will they like anyone being able to download them. And what if I want to design something for myself? I have to get Apple to OK it?
post #26 of 48
I had heard that the iPhone does not have Javascript in its pared-down Safari. Does anyone know if that has changed? If not, Dashcode will not be the basis for developing code on the iPhone.
post #27 of 48
I know it doesn't have *Java*, but AFAIK, JavaScript is still in there.

Without that, it's going to be severely crippled as a web client, IMO.
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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

FYI:
You can already read PDFs with both Safari, and Preview for that matter. Now, if you want to edit PDFs, that is a different ball of wax.

And TextEdit can read RTF, RTFD, HTML, ODT, DOC, DOCX (Word 2007), and Word 2003 XML format.

Well, that's what Safari can do on OS X. But what are its capabilities on the iPhone? And where did TextEdit come from? I've not seen any mention of that being available (or is it just the standard "Well, let's take a leap into imagination!" kind of writing? And I've found TextEdit's abilities with Word to be less then stellar (great for text, but after that...).
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Well, that's what Safari can do on OS X. But what are its capabilities on the iPhone? And where did TextEdit come from? I've not seen any mention of that being available (or is it just the standard "Well, let's take a leap into imagination!" kind of writing? And I've found TextEdit's abilities with Word to be less then stellar (great for text, but after that...).

I never said TextEdit equals Word's abilities Would you really need all on a cell phone anyway?
I also never said that Apple will include TextEdit or an equivalent app for reading very doc formats, but pointed out that OS X already some apps that are capable of supporting basic formats. The move to remove them from the iPhone's version of OS X is another story.

As for the "that's what Safari can do on OS X" comment... News Flash! The iPhone runs OS X.
Is there any reason to assume that Apple would go out of it's way to cripple its Safari browser on the iPhone to purposely not support viewing PDFs?
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post #30 of 48
What I would like to see Apple do is require every aspiring iPhone developer to register for their own private signing key and for each application to be signed by said developer. The iPhone would then verify the signature before allowing the app/widget to run.

That way, if malware were to start appearing, Apple would know exactly where it came from, would be able to chase up the guilty parties and could even issue a "revoked key" list via iTunes (or GPRS-push or during voice phone calls etc), thereby preventing any other iPhones from launching the evil app in the future.

Obviously this would rely on some sort of secure and verified communication between Apple and the aspiring developer before the key could be issued, but I'm sure figuring that out wouldn't be beyond Apple.
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I never said TextEdit equals Word's abilities Would you really need all on a cell phone anyway?
I also never said that Apple will include TextEdit or an equivalent app for reading very doc formats, but pointed out that OS X already some apps that are capable of supporting basic formats. The move to remove them from the iPhone's version of OS X is another story.

As for the "that's what Safari can do on OS X" comment... News Flash! The iPhone runs OS X.
Is there any reason to assume that Apple would go out of it's way to cripple its Safari browser on the iPhone to purposely not support viewing PDFs?

And to tie this back into Word docs, etc... that capability is in the most basic bits of the Cocoa layer, *not* TextEdit. Which means that, if Cocoa is on the iPhone (and I think it's a safe bet that it is, in one form or another), text-handling apps would have this functionality available.

Unless they go out of their way to disable it, of course.
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post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by eat@me View Post



They prefer Little People Tossing.
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Is there any reason to assume that Apple would go out of it's way to cripple its Safari browser on the iPhone to purposely not support viewing PDFs?

No, but I would definitely imagine safari on the iphone would use a different codebase. Not crippled if the feature was never in there! (Webkit would probably be the same code, but safari the app will be new.)
post #34 of 48
I don't know about Safari's iPhone capabilities, but if the Mail app is rich enough to format and show photos, I assume with Leopard it will be able to show email templates, isn't that enough power to have good pdf or text editing function built in? Probably an upgrade next year.

I bet there are a dozen major upgrades in the pipe that Apple can use to make PR fodder every other month or so, to keep the iPhone in the news and continue to demonstrate the flexibility of the non-plastic-keyboard interface.

As long as the thing can do what the commercials show it doing (odd they don't yet demo multi-touch "pinching") then it will be a winner. By the time the holiday buying season comes around, if they make a software upgrade with a few fancy new apps or widgets, then they will be able to keep riding the wave into San Fran Bay. If third party apps start appearing at MacWorld and the new year, they surf right into downtown San Jose!

The dozen 3rd party apps will be great, but they got to make sure the thing is fast, smooth and oh so COOL to use first.
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post #35 of 48
I wonder if you can mount your iPhone as a network hard drive over wifi, or mount other drives on iPhone. And also if an application like Apple Remote Desktop will ever be available, just imagine the possibilities!!! Handle the entire network from the palm of your hand! It'll be like a remote control for your network!
post #36 of 48
This would mean Cocoa apps for the busy Executive that needs some tools to access reports, etc.
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

But then how does one actually do development? It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma: to do development you need a digital signature, but to get a digital signature, you need a working application which Apple approves of.

The best solution I can think of which satisfies developers and end-users is this:

Any application which is installed by an end user needs to run via the system installer, which checks for a digital signature. However, developers can put their applications in a certain place on the iPhone by hand for testing. Obviously, an application/widget which is downloaded can't place itself there manually (Safari puts limitations on what is done with downloaded files), so unless an end-user runs a malware installer script, they won't end up with bad software.

I am thinking of 2 possibilities:
a) An iPhone like device for developers that is not locked so they can test the apps they write. Development is done on a Mac and moved to test on the special device. You do not need to sign the code if there is nothing to check the signature.
b) The second option would be a hardware device that acts like a key to lie to the phone that the signature that does not really exist is fine and dandy.

Either one would allow the developers to test their code, is not needed for development for that you use Xcode and the API. To test you need the special hardware.

Just a guess could be wrong.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

I hunted around the ADC website and couldn't find anything about how to develop games for iPod (not even a way to get in contact with anyone about it). Is developing for the iPhone going to be just as obscure as this?

2 birds with one stone, when they allow development it will probably work on iPhone and 6G iPods. Not likely for 5G or 5.5G.
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Since introducing iPhone in January, Apple has wrestled with the prospect of opening the device to third party developers, a move which could have serious ramifications on the security and stability of the highly touted handset.

This has to have been one of the stupidest threads going on since the iPhone was announced. There is absolutely no reason why Apple can't provide a user space where user installed applications can be executed with no risk to the device other than data in other user installed applications in that same space. If Apple can't do that, then there are serious security flaws in OS X itself, and we may as well all stop using it.
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob1varghese View Post

Developers, this is what I want to see:

open PDFs

open microsoft office documents (excel, word, powerpoint)

integration with ms exchange email systems

access to IM with voice capabilities

-------That should be enough to satisfy business users.

Yes assuming that those businesses are not concerned with security and that they don't need to follow SOX.

Emails needs to be encrypted in and out of the phone, needs to have the data on the phone authomatically encrypted, need a way to crypto erase the phone after N number of bad logins, need a way forthe company to send the phone a kill command if lost to crypto erase the data. SMS and other texting like activities need to be disabled unless they are encrypted and always goes thru the corporation systems and not directly into the Internet.

Many corporations have a requirement to record all their employees conversations, anything they can not record, needs be deactivated, which also means the phone has to be locked so the user can not change security related settings and can not load software that is not approved by the corporation.

There are at least two type of business users. The ones you are talking about have zero paranoia.
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