Apple not opposed to native iPhone app development - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple Inc. won't oppose developers attempting to write new and intuitive applications for its iPhone handset, but also won't jump through hoops to make sure those programs remain functional with each successive iPhone Software Update, a company executive said this week.



Speaking to editors from PC Magazine, Apple hardware marketing chief Greg Joswiak said that the Cupertino-based company is taking "a neutral stance" on third-party iPhone applications. Apple won't forcibly prevent developers from writing new apps for the handset, he said, nor will it maliciously design software updates to break those apps.



On the other hand, Joswiak said Apple won't have much sympathy should one of its own upcoming software updates accidentally break some of the unofficial apps. Unlike development for the Mac, he explained, Apple is less experienced writing code for a mobile platform in this regard.



The Apple exec also left the door open to a further change to its policy on third-party iPhone development, explaining that the company is always re-examining its perspective on such risky matters.



In the meantime, Apple's neutral stance is good news for the few dozen native iPhone applications already in existence, and the countless others that are sure to crop up following Joswiak's comments. It may also boost interest in the company's upcoming iPod touch player, which -- as Joswiak also confirmed -- runs the same Mac OS X-based software platform (and the same hardware) as the iPhone. Therefore, most applications written for the iPhone should also function the same way on the new iPod.



In speaking to PC Magazine, Joswiak also dispelled rumors that Bluetooth functionality was yanked from the iPod touch at the last minute. Any images on the internet that may have implied as such were errors, he said. Similarly, he added, there are no immediate plans to bring games to the iPod touch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    I wish they would make games a top priority. It would be a good market for them to jump in on.



    i wouldnt mind playing a few cool games on my iphone.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    i have iBlackjack, LightsOff (from delicious monster) and FiveDice on my iPhone. All are pretty decent games, but I really want a touch version of Texas Hold'em. ---and not just on the iPhone, but Apple TV.



    however, over Edge, Scenario Poker works amazingly well (better on wi-fi, of course), once it loads. try it out:



    http://iphone.scenario.com/
  • Reply 3 of 53
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,345member
    Ok, this article is good news. It's what developers need to hear.



    Even though no promises have been made toward the future, right now, there seems to be a blanket approval for the unofficial SDK and installer that's out.



    Of course, there could be a problem if third party tools permit things that are banned, such as these ringer utilities are reported to do.



    If Apple finds that they must prevent them from functioning, and the only way they can do so it to shut down the entire development process, they may decide to do so.



    We can only hope that is not the case.



    There is still the possibility that Apple itself is planning its own software for development. With Jobs's remarks earlier this year, I still have hope for that by MacWorld.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    Apple is insane to not provide the SDK for the iPhone. Oh, well... just another roadblock Apple has set up to slow adoption of their latest and greatest.
  • Reply 5 of 53
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,345member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Apple is insane to not provide the SDK for the iPhone. Oh, well... just another roadblock Apple has set up to slow adoption of their latest and greatest.



    My thoughts are about the same.



    I've thought that as long as it were possible to write an independent SDK and installer, someone would do it, and they have.



    This is all fine, and in the long run, may work out well.



    But, the problem is that by allowing the possibility for this, Apple has destroyed their own argument for why THEY don't provide one. If it is destabilizing, and dangerous for the network as well (I'n not saying I buy into that, but it is Jobs's argument), why would Apple allow it at all? It makes no sense.



    If, as I believe, Apple will be coming out with their own software for this, why not just come out and say so directly, instead of hinting?



    The problem here for Apple is that if they do come out with an SDK and installer, the Genie may already be out of the bottle, and Apple may have lost control of the process, esp. if their own software doesn't allow things that the independent versions do. That likely would not have happened if Apple were there first, as the incentive to anything else would have been significantly lessened.



    If Apple hopes to derail this independence, they had better not wait too long.



    But, after saying that, I believe that the bigger developers will be very wary of using something that is not officially endorsed by Apple, and that might be blocked in the future.



    So, while this is pretty good, it's not perfect.
  • Reply 6 of 53
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Games would be GREAT--with multitouch and the very-precise tilt sensor, you could so some unique things that no other device can do.



    As for 3rd party stuff, I think it makes sense to let the platform "settle"--allow software updates to do what they need to do without worrying about 3rd parties--and then LATER offer official tools and open the platform up formally.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,345member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    As for 3rd party stuff, I think it makes sense to let the platform "settle"--allow software updates to do what they need to do without worrying about 3rd parties--and then LATER offer official tools and open the platform up formally.



    I'm not so sure. we don't want two incompatable systems for creating this stuff.



    And remember, Apple is not promising that something they do in the future won't disable this.
  • Reply 8 of 53
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Geez, ya know you would think with OSX on these devices that native applications wouldn't be a big issue. Regarding stability, OSX should allow the application to crash without crashing the entire system and restarting the phone. Regarding security, again OSX is supposedly a very secure OS - what's the problem?
  • Reply 9 of 53
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,345member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    Geez, ya know you would think with OSX on these devices that native applications wouldn't be a big issue. Regarding stability, OSX should allow the application to crash without crashing the entire system and restarting the phone. Regarding security, again OSX is supposedly a very secure OS - what's the problem?



    Jobs doesn't want the phone to crash, so he says.



    Security is never perfect. He doesn't want the virus's that have been popping up on smartphones the past few years either. He's also said that he doesn't want the phone to crash the cell network from some malicious software.



    I don't agree that these are serious worries, but they are ones he stated, so you should e-mail him. Sometimes he actually answers.
  • Reply 10 of 53
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Jobs doesn't want the phone to crash, so he says.



    Security is never perfect. He doesn't want the virus's that have been popping up on smartphones the past few years either. He's also said that he doesn't want the phone to crash the cell network from some malicious software.



    I don't agree that these are serious worries, but they are ones he stated, so you should e-mail him. Sometimes he actually answers.





    The phones are crashing anyway. Safari is buggy from all the reports I've read.



    Has a virus ever made it into the wild and spread natively on OSX?



    What's his Apple email address? His Pixar one was sj@pixar.com.
  • Reply 11 of 53
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,345member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    The phones are crashing anyway. Safari is buggy from all the reports I've read.



    It's still new. Third party apps could cause problems of their own that Apple can't control.



    Quote:

    Has a virus ever made it into the wild and spread natively on OSX?



    Not yet. But, this is a phone. Is there a firewall? I don't know. Is there a router with NAT? No. If Apple sells tens of millions of these, they will become a target.



    Quote:

    What's his Apple email address? His Pixar one was sj@pixar.com.



    I saw it in an interview lately, but I don't remember it. It's out there though.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Games would be GREAT--with multitouch and the very-precise tilt sensor, you could so some unique things that no other device can do.



    I hope someone is looking at doing a SCUMM VM port. I've loads of those games on my SE P910i and it works great with a touch screen already. They're one of the few styles of games that work really well on touch screen phones that have no buttons.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    As for 3rd party stuff, I think it makes sense to let the platform "settle"--allow software updates to do what they need to do without worrying about 3rd parties--and then LATER offer official tools and open the platform up formally.



    My thoughts too. They want to be able to make changes without upsetting developers. When they've sorted their base classes we'll see an SDK then.
  • Reply 13 of 53
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Not yet. But, this is a phone. Is there a firewall? I don't know. Is there a router with NAT? No. If Apple sells tens of millions of these, they will become a target.



    It really needs a router built into the iPhone. The HTC phones (AT&T 8525s) here at my employer can act as wireless routers, which is nice if you're toting a laptop too. Although, that's over a 3G network.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    But, the problem is that by allowing the possibility for this, Apple has destroyed their own argument for why THEY don't provide one. If it is destabilizing, and dangerous for the network as well (I'n not saying I buy into that, but it is Jobs's argument), why would Apple allow it at all? It makes no sense.



    Actually, no they haven't. 3rd party apps built with an unofficial SDK is caveat emptor. Apple is not responsible for instability if you put something on your phone that isn't blessed by Apple.



    More importantly, when someone developes a VOIP package Apple can shrug at AT&T.



    As to why it would allow it...it doesn't hurt Apple to have new widgets on the iPhone.



    Quote:

    The problem here for Apple is that if they do come out with an SDK and installer, the Genie may already be out of the bottle, and Apple may have lost control of the process, esp. if their own software doesn't allow things that the independent versions do. That likely would not have happened if Apple were there first, as the incentive to anything else would have been significantly lessened.



    If Apple releases an official SDK then that's the one most folks will migrate to because it will offer full development support. They can't actually lose control of their own platform because they can simply modify OSX to break other SDKs by requiring a digitital signature to run. After that any hacking by 3rd party SDKs runs afoul DMCA. At least in the US.



    Something a hacker might do for fun but not a company selling widgets and can get sued.



    Personally, I don't think they have the security features they want done yet for either OSX or the SDK. This is probably an area that Symbian is a bit ahead of OSX.
  • Reply 15 of 53
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    Geez, ya know you would think with OSX on these devices that native applications wouldn't be a big issue. Regarding stability, OSX should allow the application to crash without crashing the entire system and restarting the phone. Regarding security, again OSX is supposedly a very secure OS - what's the problem?



    Depends on the level of hardware memory protection. VmWare supports this on ARMs but the MMU is optional. Hmm...something to look into.



    But anyway, if the iPhone lacks this then a misbehaving app can cause all sorts of mayhem.



    ---



    Looks like the iPhone CPU is a Samsung S3C6400 so it does have a MMU. Samsung site was a tad sketchy. Haven't done any embedded work in 5 years and we were using PPCs rather than ARMs. The S3C6400 seems nice tho'. Also has TrustZone which I presume would be used in the official SDK.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    Maybe we haven't seen anything from Apple because some of the APIs are based on Leopard? Not until 10.5 is out the door can they release tools for the 10.5 derived OS X on the iPhone/Touch.



    It's a theory.



    - Jasen.
  • Reply 17 of 53
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Looking at the ARM docs I'm guessing this (TrustZone) is why the iPhone doesn't have a official native SDK yet. To make it work with a released in the wild SDK requires a bit of work to build a sandbox that isn't HOA (Hacked On Arrival).



    If they were running late on the iPhone because of software issues then punting this aspect was a no brainer to try to get to launch. Too many nitpicky details will bite you on the ass if you try to rush this.



    Probably all the apps are running with the Non-Secure bit set and all the peripherals are also not protected...although looking at the "docs"* seems to indicate this level of protection is pretty easy if coding in a simpler RTOS. If it works as stated. Which it might not. And OSX might not be playing well with it for whatever reason.



    Plus, Apple would want an abstraction layer over the ARM security stuff. That might not be complete yet either and I don't believe that OSX was built with Trusted Computing in mind...a good security abstracyion model that would play well both on the desktop and mobile from different h/w vendors.



    V



    * the "docs" are a series of PP slides from ARM. Not dev docs.
  • Reply 18 of 53
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    Apple is insane to not provide the SDK for the iPhone. Oh, well... just another roadblock Apple has set up to slow adoption of their latest and greatest.



    I don't think that's necessarily so. I've seen it in several articles that state most of the third party apps used on most phones already come with the iPhone. The only other app I really need on the iPhone is instant messaging, after that everything else is extra.



    Quote:

    The problem here for Apple is that if they do come out with an SDK and installer, the Genie may already be out of the bottle, and Apple may have lost control of the process, esp. if their own software doesn't allow things that the independent versions do.



    I would believe that less than 1% of iPhone users are using any of these hacks. The far majority of users will go with whatever Apple officially supports.



    I'm sure I'm technically inclined enough to use the hacks but I don't want to bother with it.
  • Reply 19 of 53
    I wonder if music copyrights might be an issue of concern regarding an official Apple SDK. I imagine that licensing is probably why we have to pay for ringtones, and I bet that a case could be argued that by providing an SDK, and thereby facilitating access to the iPhone's inner workings, Apple would be compromising their DRM schemes. Someone mentioned it above, and I bet they're right that it would open the door to Skype too, bringing up trouble with AT&T. Unless Apple had that in mind when the contracts were done up, that is.



    At any rate, I want my Hello World iPhone tutorial! Anyone seen one floating about?
  • Reply 20 of 53
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post


    Maybe we haven't seen anything from Apple because some of the APIs are based on Leopard? Not until 10.5 is out the door can they release tools for the 10.5 derived OS X on the iPhone/Touch.



    It's a theory.



    - Jasen.



    Good point.



    I think we will see an official SDK at WWDC 2008 as part of Xcode 3.5



    As of now there is no way to get official third party apps on the phone...obviously Apple will need to provide this method.



    I think the best way for Apple to handle this is have a strict set of guidelines and have a dedicated team that will test the apps, and then approve them and then have them on board iTunes.



    I have this feeling if Apple opened up the device with out such a practice, everyone and their mother would write apps and the iPhone and iPod Touch would not only become unstable but would also muddy up the device.
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