Apple may introduce iPhone SDK at developers conference - report

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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, it?s 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 47
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,004member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 47
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,004member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    kenaustuskenaustus Posts: 910member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    theveebtheveeb Posts: 17member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 47
    This was predicted by several
  • Reply 8 of 47
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Ayup. And what's DashCode? JavaScript + XHTML.



    And what's Google Gears?



    Uh-huh.
  • Reply 9 of 47
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 47
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,004member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 47
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 47
    bdj21yabdj21ya Posts: 297member
    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?
  • Reply 13 of 47
    How about they make widget development open and then actual phone apps only available if apple approved?
  • Reply 14 of 47
    squeaksqueak Posts: 26member
    Does this mean there is a chance now we might see GoodLink software for it now?
  • Reply 15 of 47
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,004member
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 47
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 47
    This is awesome.

    The inability to load 3rd party apps has been one of the biggest complaints so far.



    Next up - integrate GPS.
  • Reply 18 of 47
  • Reply 19 of 47
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 47
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    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.
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