Webreakstuff blog

On the iPhone as a closed platform

Got quite a lot of feedback on yesterday’s post about the iPhone App Store, so this one comes as a bit of an addendum. I typically don’t create a new post just to link somewhere else, but Gizmodo has a great new article with a few thoughts on the iPhone SDK that developers – and those of you interested on mobile platforms as a whole – should read. Click here for the full article.

From Gizmodo: There are no less than five apps to turn my iPhone into a flashlight, yet I can’t turn it into a 3G-powered Wi-Fi hotspot. Why? Because the SDK has more restrictions than Guantanamo—devs can’t integrate with the OS and have to steer way, way clear of copyright and trademark issues—so the most innovative, game-changing apps might not ever make it to your squeaky clean iPhone. That’s why we need more than Apple’s official app store—we still need jailbreaking, Installer.app (now Cydia) and the best unauthorized third-party apps to make the iPhone an ultra-powerful open platform we really want.

In all truth, I never expected Apple to revamp the iPhone as a fully open platform. I hinted at that a while ago in a previous post. But truth is I don’t think Steve and Co realize the potential of loosening the chains they have on developers. True, they don’t want third party applications to damage the iPhone experience (by, say, bogging down the operating system or creating potential security issues for iPhone users). But by not allowing full (read as more) access to the device’s capabilities, they’re encouraging users – at least the most adventurous – to hack away at the machine, and going rogue on them.

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