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Music functions off-limits to iPhone SDK developers

updated 12:05 pm EDT, Wed March 19, 2008

Music vs. iPhone SDK

Any functionality related to music playback is inaccessible by the iPhone SDK, a new report claims. While the SDK allows access to many other functions of iPhone and the iPod touch, such as dialing, the camera and Internet access, The Inquirer writes that any components connected to iTunes are off-limits, preventing developers from accessing one of the most popular features of the phone, next to web browsing and Google Maps.

Apple has not spoken about the restriction, but it is suggested that this may be a way of blocking third-party alternatives to the Wi-Fi Music Store, which would undermine Apple's music sales. This may have the unintended side-effect, however, of stopping the creation of enhancements to music functions, such as native versions of the iLike or Last.fm plug-ins.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. dogzilla

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -5

    For chrissakes...

    What is it with developers? Could they possibly start spending a little time on developing actual apps instead of bitching about the things that aren't accessible in the SDK? There are a *huge* number of things you *can* do with the SDK. It seems like all we ever hear about are the few things you *can't* do. Are developers really such whiny little unimaginative brats?

    I'm beginning to understand why Apple has such an ambivalent relationship with third-party developers.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    agree w/dogz

    The music and movie browsing UIs are Apple's brain-children, and one of the major functions of the phone. Apple doesn't want anyone edging them out of this niche. Media playback experience is one of the main reasons people buy iPods/iPhones. Besides, you wouldn't want some app to inadvertently destabilize this operational aspect of the device.

  1. grandlapin

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Legitimate request

    Game developers should be able to use the song library as background music. I much prefer listening to my own music when I play.

  1. Rezzz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    interesting..

    interesting to see how this plays out.. Monople$oft is in hot water b/c they did not expose all APIs to developers for certain windows functionality. as the iPhone is itself a platform, could this be construed as anit-competitive?

    certainly apple is exposing Core Audio for developers to utilize for sound needs. If it is itunes specific code, then apple would not be obligated to expose that since it non-OS code. But if it is part of the OS, that could be questionable to withhold. ie having an unfair advantage over other companies who want to sell a music player software but have no access to hidden APIs.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    background music

    Agreed with the background music example but its not easy to implement in the SDK. We don't want random music so the app needs some browsing capability's, save the music when the game quits for a incoming call, anticipate a constantly changing music database, extra music settings in the game, etc.

    Its just not worth the extra hassle at the moment and only complicates the user experience. Music can be played over the network and then bought and downloaded on the computer and imported in iTunes like Amazon is offering now.

    We don't need extra interfering with our iPod music database, we need creative developers that don't whine all the time.

  1. dogzilla

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: interesting..

    Not sure how this ties in to your argument, but I think it's important to note that the iPhone isn't sold as a general-purpose computing tool. I agree that it is a platform, but I'm not sure it falls into the exact same category as a desktop or laptop computer.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    @rezzz

    Nothing wrong with a monopoly, forcing your way into other markets via that monopoly is. Opening up there protocols (not API's) was a punishment by the EU.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: agree w/dogz

    The music and movie browsing UIs are Apple's brain-children, and one of the major functions of the phone. Apple doesn't want anyone edging them out of this niche.

    Niche? Since when is the iPod, or it's UI, a 'niche'? And do you really think (or is Apple so fearful of) some developer is going to create some kick-a** UI that everyone would end up using? Please. The whole complaint over MS Windows and IE/WMP was that they were installed by default, so people would just use them (because people are sheep, apparently). The same would hold true with iPods.

    Plus, why would Apple care that much? It isn't like they make money off the UI.

    Media playback experience is one of the main reasons people buy iPods/iPhones.

    Well, to me, the most surprising part of the article was that Google Maps ranks right up there. That is just sad.

    Besides, you wouldn't want some app to inadvertently destabilize this operational aspect of the device.

    OMG, not another lemming. The iPod Touch/iPhone use a version of OS X. OS X is supposed to be a really advanced operating system. It shouldn't be that hard to add APIs to hook into music playback without causing the entire OS to come crashing down upon itself.

    And that's what people are talking about. APIs. Just like on the Mac, where you can use AppleScript to communicate with iTunes. Amazing how they're able to do that without having iTunes completely stop working.

    (Oh, and if you have an app that breaks music playback, I would think most people would just delete the app, rather than say "OMG! The iPod is broken! Everytime I use x** I can't play music anymore!"

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    @testudo

    "(Oh, and if you have an app that breaks music playback, I would think most people would just delete the app, rather than say "OMG! The iPod is broken! Everytime I use x** I can't play music anymore!")"

    Then why do People keep using Windows?

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Whining?

    Erm, because the ones doing stuff will be happily doing it, and probably also accepting the terms of the NDA (you know, like Mac developers who wrote their Leopard apps).

    And yes, I find it ridiculous when someone says it is 'useless' because you can't write a Twitter client. I'll tell you one thing, I am 6000% more likely to pay for Super Monkey Ball or Archer McClean's Mercury or Tempest 2007 than a Twitter client. I'd even buy Tetris.

    And as someone else pointed out - this is BETA V.1. I also suspect that multi-million dollar firms like last.fm may have a bit more sway in negotiations than a shareware developer.

    >interesting to see how this plays out.. >Monople$oft is in hot water b/c they did >not expose all APIs to developers for >certain windows functionality. as the >iPhone is itself a platform, could this >be construed as anit-competitive?

    The issue with MS is that by doing this they were able to make existing third-party software seem less effective. Given the lack of existing third party software, it would be difficult.

    In addition, it is a closed device (like a games console). Case law suggests that if you can work around the vendors protection, you can sell what you like, but otherwise you are operating on a closed system within the rules defined by Apple (or Sony or Nintendo).

    That's very different from Windows (or indeed desktop Macs) where the platform is open. You need no agreement from MS to develop software on Windows, and it is sold in that way.

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