People keep going back and forth on whether we’ll be able to write our own applications for the iPhone. Since it runs a version of OSX on an ARM processor, there should be a rich set of APIs for graphics, file system IO, net applications, and UI. We know that Apple’s OSX Quartz API was recently modified to allow resolutions differing from 72dpi by introducing the notion of “scale.” Their software is ripe for 3rd party applications on the iPhone, and we know from their Yahoo / Google partnerships that non-apple software will already be running on the iPhone.
Apple Gazette theorizes that Cingular doesn’t want developers writing replacements for their for-fee services. He quotes Steve Jobs’ lame excuse for restricted application access:
“These are devices that need to work, and you can’t do that if you load any software on them,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.”
Probably Cingular and Apple are worried about a few things:
- A security hole is found and a virus can spread through iPhones at a lightening pace
- 3rd party applications reduce Cingular’s for-pay applications’ appeal
- 3rd party applications mean Apple can’t control their branded UI
- A very good 3rd party application could make the iPhone more popular for that application that for the device itself, leading to a watering down of the Apple brand recognition
Worst case scenario: Apple releases the iPhone SDK and immediately Microsoft IE 7 is ported to the iPhone.
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