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Jobs: third-party iPhone apps coming in Feb

updated 11:40 am EDT, Wed October 17, 2007

Jobs embraces iPhone apps

Apple boss Steve Jobs today offered his official blessing of third-party iPhone and iPod touch applications in an open letter to the public, and has promised to bring a software development kit (SDK) to interested developers by February of next year. The word comes after numerous hackers leaped at the chance to run their own software on the cellular handset following its launch in late June. Some hackers simply created 'jailbreak' methods to gain read and write access to the filesystem of the iPhone, while others took their efforts to another level by unlocking the device and enabling it to work with cellular carriers other than Apple's exclusive partner -- AT&T. [updated]

"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," Jobs wrote in his most recent open letter. "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."

Apple's CEO says the SDK's planned release in February is a result of the company's aspiration to provide an advanced and open platform to developers while also protecting iPhone users from viruses, malware, and privacy attacks.

"This is no easy task," Jobs explained. "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."

The executive points to Nokia as an example of current anti-virus concerns on mobile phones, citing the fact that Nokia is not allowing users to load any applications onto some of its 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," Jobs concluded.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Can I gloat now?

    Testudo, Is it ok for me to gloat now? I called this the day the first iPhone was hacked.

  1. gambit23

    Joined: Dec 1969




    But, really, this was only a matter of time. The crying did nothing but make Apple announce the SDK earlier.

    Either way, sweet.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yes, I'm allowing you to gloat now.

    But, you know, wouldn't things have been so much easier/better if Apple just announced this back in June, rather then have people guess, hack, slash, and perform all sorts of ranting on this? Just say "And in 6-12 months, we'll be releasing the SDK and allowing third-party apps! For the time being, its Web 2.0 people!".

    That would have gone over 1000 times better then "We're allowing third-party apps! They're called Web Apps!"

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: roehlstation

    They probably haven't decided they would do that back then, either that or pre-announcing would have inundated them with developer requests for information that they weren't ready to provide at that time.

  1. JohnnyFive

    Joined: Dec 1969


    testudo needs his ritalin

    i know you were dropped as a baby but geez move on. there's nothing apple or anyone here can do to make you happy. this isn't your happy spot. go take your medication, i think you forgot to take it today.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nokia was mentioned as a company which made "a step in the right direction" because it allows only signed applications on its phones. What Apple will offer? There are only two ways: limit application capabilities (and ultimately you'll get web SDK) or allow only registered developers on iPhone. Also, what distribution model for applications Apple will offer? Can I just download and copy it on my iPhone or will I have to buy it in iTunes store?

    Right now there are more questions than answers, but I cannot say that I'm not excited.

  1. Chris Paveglio

    Joined: Dec 1969


    now we can buy

    all the 'waiters' like me can now buy an iPhone knowing we can (probably) fully replace our old Palm/Treo/Blackberry/etc with a unit that can do it all!

  1. cebritt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Public companies can't

    Publicly held companies can't announce products in advance without opening themselves up to stupid shareholders' lawsuits. If they announce something and the stock price dips, WHAM, they get hit with a lawsuit. That's why they're so tight lipped until product releases.

    Privately held companies on the other hand, can say whatever they want whenever they want.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Testudo right on

    I think Testudo is spot-on. If it had been formally announced, a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth could have been saved, plus plenty of negative publicity.

    Especially trying to spin Web apps as being 'as good' as native to a crowd of OS X developers. At a consumer show, maybe. It's things like that which give Jobs his RDF reputation - which undermines what are often excellent products.

    Mind you . . . the hacking and cracking is doing a lot to iron out security flaws.

  1. OtisWild

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fun with SISX

    Digitally-signing apps is a pretty good idea IMO, but there still needs to be an 'out' for folks to run stuff that's self-signed.

    Putting in a warning when installing a self-signed app (or, better, having the option to display a signed app's provenance before installing) is a good way to do things. Presumably, Apple-signed stuff won't need extra warnings.

    BTW, is there a bluetooth radio in iPod Touch, dormant or otherwise? Because a Skype/Truphone iPod Touch would be the balls.

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