Apple approves Commodore 64 emulator for iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A previously rejected iPhone title offering emulated play of Commodore 64 titles has been approved after the developer made changes to align it with Apple's SDK. It allows the iPhone to act as a system that was what was once Apple's staunch competitor.



According to a report by TouchArcade, Manomio's $4.99 C64 title was rejected in June despite having lined up all the proper licensing rights.







The sticking point for Apple appeared to have be the inclusion of the Commodore BASIC 2.0 interpreter, which would enable the app to execute arbitrary code. The iPhone 2.0 SDK specifically limited apps from containing their own executable runtimes in a clause that stated:



"An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise. No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple?s Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s)."



That element of the SDK baring the launch of other executable code brought the approval of any type of emulator into question, as the sole purpose of an emulator is to act as another platform in order to run programs designed for it.



Emulators vs. the SDK



The main point of Apple's SDK restriction appears to be the company's desire to prevent its own Cocoa Touch platform from being sidelined by a third party developer's sub-platform, such as Java, Adobe Flash, or Microsoft Silverlight. If developers want to ship apps for Apple's iPhone, they have to use Apple's APIs.



There are also security implications involved. Most of the highly publicized vulnerabilities that are counted against Mac OS X's security are actually flaws in the third-party runtimes it bundles, particularly Java and Flash. At WWDC, Apple cited 'web plugins' as the primary reason for crashes under Leopard, clearly fingering Flash. Any capacity to run code is a potential vector for malware or a vulnerability exploit.



Additionally, the ability to run external titles would not only allow developers to subvert the App Store approvals process, but could also open up the iPhone to widespread piracy, a problem that would not only undermine the success of the App Store itself but also expose Apple to copyright infringement claims from intellectual property holders in the same way Napster was sued for making the distribution of pirated media available.



In App Purchase



Apple addressed the friction between emulator titles and sub-platform limitations in iPhone 3.0 via in app purchasing, a new feature in iPhone 3.0. This enables developers to package additional elements to enhance their apps and sell them separately.



In Manomio's case, its C64 package includes the emulator and five game titles: Dragon's Den, Le Mans, Jupiter Lander, Arctic Shipwreck, and Jack Attack. Additional games are expected to be released as in app purchases as they become available. The app will not load arbitrary game code downloads nor expose a BASIC interpreter.







The booting emulator screen displays a screen that says "BASIC is disabled in this version. Don't despear[sic]! It should be resolved in a future update." Whether the company meant "despair" or "disappear," other developers will be closely watching to see how Apple interprets its SDK in allowing its state of the art smartphone platform to act as an emulator for previous generations of titles.



Return of the Commodore 64



Somewhat ironically the Commodore 64, which debuted in 1982, wildly outsold Apple's own offering at the time: the Apple IIe, which at $1200 cost twice as much. Commodore brought its computer to the public using toy and department stores at a time when Apple and IBM were wedded to networks of authorized dealers. A significant part of Apple's recent success comes from its direct retail initiatives.



Commodore also helped pioneer the concept of bundling in ports for a ready-to use system as opposed to the existing Apple II line, which presented the user with eight expansion slots but only a few built-in ports. While Apple's expansion potential was touted as a feature, few owners really needed it.



This may have influenced Steve Jobs' view of the personal computer, as all subsequent computers from Apple, including the Macintosh, moved away from the open-ended PC design toward a ready-to-use system aimed at the mass market. Jobs' return to Apple in the mid 90s refocused the company on the new iMac and moved away from the PC-like "Power Express" boxes with lots of slots that were then on the ailing company's drawing board.



Today, Apple's notebook line has virtually no expansion options, particularly with the replacement of the seldom used ExpressCard slot with an SD card reader on mainstream models. The consumer-oriented iMac and Mac mini also continue to offer no general purpose expansion slots, although most modern peripherals have standardized on specifications such as USB or FireWire, greatly reducing the need for general purpose expansion slots.



As for the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple doesn't include either a user-replaceable battery or a RAM slot, leaving the mobile devices tied, much like the Commodore 64, to a single interface for games and apps. For the C64, that was its difficult-to-pirate cartridge slot; for the iPhone, it's the digital rights management of iTunes. Which now offers the ability to act as a C64.





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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    irelandireland Posts: 17,743member
    I wouldn't ever buy it, but it certainly looks well made.
  • Reply 2 of 66
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I would buy it if it had games I remember as a kid, but I don't know what any of those 5 are. I remember International Karate but that's not one of the 5.
  • Reply 3 of 66
    exclusive interview with C64's designer.

    http://copenhagencocoa.com/2009/09/0...-c64-designer/
  • Reply 4 of 66
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Don't despair [sic]! It should be resolved in a future update." Whether the company meant "despair" or "disappear,"



    Under what contrived reasoning would they be thought of as meaning "disappear"? That makes much less sense to assume disappear, grammatically speaking. The sic seems to be unnecessary too, it is spelled properly and I don't see why it might be the wrong word. Maybe if the spelling somehow looked like an amalgam of the two words, but it's not.
  • Reply 5 of 66
    stompystompy Posts: 358member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Under what contrived reasoning would they be thought of as meaning "disappear"? That makes much less sense to assume disappear, grammatically speaking. The sic seems to be unnecessary too, it is spelled properly and I don't see why it might be the wrong word. Maybe if the spelling somehow looked like an amalgam of the two words, but it's not.



    Note author of article. That contrived reasoning.
  • Reply 6 of 66
    Ha!



    > LOAD $,8,1

    >PRESS PLAY ON TAPE



  • Reply 7 of 66
    That looks really cool!



    I had a ZX Spectrum as a kid though, so I'm going to hold out and hope someone comes up with a similar emulator for that.
  • Reply 8 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Under what contrived reasoning would they be thought of as meaning "disappear"? That makes much less sense to assume disappear, grammatically speaking. The sic seems to be unnecessary too, it is spelled properly and I don't see why it might be the wrong word. Maybe if the spelling somehow looked like an amalgam of the two words, but it's not.



    I?m with you. The usage is conventional, thus making the meaning unmistakable.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    "Don't despair" is the correct English for this situation. Why is there a "[sic]" afterwards?



    However that price for only five second rate games? Really really bad value, in my opinion. Where are the classic C64 games?
  • Reply 10 of 66
    dacloodacloo Posts: 890member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hattig View Post


    "Don't despair" is the correct English for this situation. Why is there a "[sic]" afterwards?



    However that price for only five second rate games? Really really bad value, in my opinion. Where are the classic C64 games?



    Shouldn't it be [sigh] ?
  • Reply 11 of 66
    Hmm, this is kind of off-topic but while browsing the iTunes Store (iTunes 8) for C64, I noticed what appears to be a subtle style change of iTunes Store...list titles, I guess you'd call them.



    Here's one example:



    The look of the blue title bar is what I'm referring to specifically.



    You can see the old 'glass'-style list title bars in this old iTunes tutorial video:

    http://www.apple.com/itunes/tutorial...wnloadmoviestv





    I don't remember seeing this change until today (and I frequent the iTunes Store). Could it be a hint of changes coming in iTunes 9 at Apple's iPod event Tuesday?
  • Reply 12 of 66
    irelandireland Posts: 17,743member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wobegon View Post


    Hmm, this is kind of off-topic but while browsing the iTunes Store (iTunes 8) for C64, I noticed what appears to be a subtle style change of iTunes Store...list titles, I guess you'd call them.



    Here's one example:



    The look of the blue title bar is what I'm referring to specifically.



    You can see the old 'glass' style list titles in this video:

    http://www.apple.com/itunes/tutorial...wnloadmoviestv





    I don't remember seeing this change until today (and I frequent the iTunes Store). Could it be a hint of changes coming in iTunes 9 at Apple's iPod event Tuesday?



    The older ones were terrible, never liked them. You may need to get a life though.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,031member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sticknick View Post


    Ha!



    > LOAD $,8,1

    >PRESS PLAY ON TAPE









    ?SYNTAX ERROR



    8 was a device identifier: the first floppy disk as it happens. The filename was also enclosed in double quotes. So you'd never get that message but the nostalgia certainly gave me a smile.
  • Reply 14 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    The older ones were terrible, never liked them.



    Agreed.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    You may need to get a life though.



    You're telling me.



    My point wasn't about the change so much as it was about this potentially being a sign of larger changes coming to iTunes and/or the Store.
  • Reply 15 of 66
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Where is my Commodore Amiga emulator?



    This is pretty cool though.
  • Reply 16 of 66
    OK, now this is awesome. Roll on SNES and SuperMetroid/Castlevania VII.
  • Reply 17 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post


    OK, now this is awesome. Roll on SNES and SuperMetroid/Castlevania VII.



    Over Nintendo's dead body.





    ...At least until Apple acquires them (come on, it's all but inevitable, isn't it!?).
  • Reply 18 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    You may need to get a life though.



    Says he with nearly 8,000 posts.
  • Reply 19 of 66
    oh yeah!!!!
  • Reply 20 of 66
    Is there an Apple ][ emulator out yet?



    I remember having a fairly good one installed on my Windows Mobile device. It was actually possible to play Choplifter, which had a tricky joystick control scheme..



    Almost certainly it's in the jailbreak world, I guess, but it would be pretty cool if there was an officially sanctioned one in the App Store. If you can be nostalgic for C64, why not Apple ][.
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