iPhone: Gentlemen, Start Your Bitching


Okay, the word is official now, iPhone SDK coming in February. For anyone who’s interested, I’ll be taking bets on what the next epicenter of iPhone criticism will be.

That Apple has already killed off all imaginable goodwill and trust regarding the iPhone, and the jury’s out on whether the SDK will be enough to allow the iPhone to recover? That the SDK may or may not allow third party developers to [X] and it is therefore (perhaps) yet more evidence that Apple actually hates its customers? That Steve should have packed a few more glittering adjectives into the sentence “[W]ith our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers?” Your guess is as good as mine…

Third Party Applications on the iPhone

Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once—provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones—this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than “totally open,” we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone’s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.


P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch. [Oct 17, 2007]

Apple, iPhone, Branding


Another object lesson for Elinor Mills—and anyone else who actually believes that companies “own” their brands these days. Apple didn’t “give” internet users a way to interact with their brand, offering an explicit conversation; instead, an internet user saw an apt parallel between Apple’s branding and their unfortunate actions regarding the iPhone and 3rd party applications. With some cheap video editing software and YouTube, that person’s take on Apple’s brand is now part of the discussion. To the tune of 54,000 views in less than 24 hours…

Note: for a really interesting effect, start the bottom movie at about the time that you see the list of iPhone apps start scrolling in the top movie.