back to article Apple lifts iPhone code ban (for chosen few)

Steve Jobs has lifted his outright ban on iPhone interpreted code, allowing some developers to interpret, but not others. In the recently updated terms of service for the iPhone SDK, Apple says it will allow interpreted code — but only with its written permission. The move is yet another indication that Jobs is restricting …


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  2. 46Bit


    This really is no change whatsoever. Likely the only people allowed to use this will be big firms/etc, the same games-makers/etc which get to use Lua (if memory serves) at present in order to make them make games for the iDevices whilst anyone else would be rejected,

    1. Lou Gosselin

      Re: Fail

      Your probably right. I wonder if apple would agree in writing before an app's written, or if they expect the developer to write the app first, then submit it for approval.

      If it's the later, then nothing has changed.

  3. Hungry Sean

    interesting explanation from his Steveness

    As much as I disagree with how Apple lock down the iPhone in so many ways, I actually think Steve's explanation makes a lot of sense-- look at what happened with Sony and the PS3. They have undoubtedly the best hardware in the console market, but games that come out for both PS3 and xbox don't show off that hardware advantage. From a developer's perspective, delivering a mediocre product to a broad market may well be a better decision than an amazing product for a portion of the market. I think Steve's goal is to create more Objective-C/Cocoa developers (which will benefit Apple across all its markets) and use the app store as an enormous carrot. Flash apps for the iphone do nothing for the broader Apple ecosystem.

    I think Apple is looking long-term and making a very carefully reasoned strategic maneuver.

    1. Eradicate all BB entrants

      Is it the correct comparison to make?

      From the top down view (CEO) you may have the correct comparison, both Sony and Apple want complete control over not just their devices but the markets their devices are in.

      Sony have had a number of exclusive titles since launch that do utilise the full power of the console, such as God of War 3. Has this improved Sony position in the market? I doubt it seeing as 1 Xbox 360 title (Remember, a device with nowhere near the potential of the PS3) called Halo 3 has outsold all PS3 exclusives put together, also a number of cross platform titles on the PS3 have outsold PS3 exclusives individually too.

      Apple is running the app store in a similar fashion to Sony's gaming console cycle, at first have few restrictions, development open to all and as the platform improves/matures slowly lock down more and more. This has nothing to do with user experience, it has everything to do with balance sheets though.

      Its seems that developers have realised that the users want the same experience regardless of platform, this in turn saves them money on development allowing more features to be added to said app in the same development timescale. How long before Apple state that less powerful developers are not allowed to release the app on the iPhone if it is available on another platform or vice versa?

      Apple had a choice, ban translated code tools or work with them to improve how they translate the code to make it work better on their devices. They chose the former and I believe it is this decision proves they dont have a long term view at all, its just a short term land grab.

    2. Lou Gosselin

      Re: interesting explanation from his Steveness

      "Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features."


      "Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms."

      Hmm, the problem I have with this logic is that conversely, apple does accept an outcome where developers are blocked from the innovations and enhancements of others because apple doesn't control it.

    3. StooMonster

      O RLY?

      "They have undoubtedly the best hardware in the console market, but games that come out for both PS3 and xbox don't show off that hardware advantage."

      Could it be that the PS3 'hardware advantage' only exists in marketing hyperole rather than in reality, hence the problem you describe ... rather than it being down to cross-platform SDKs?

      1. Doshu

        It exists, but what does it mean, really...

        Since i have both platforms, i can tell you that there actually *is* a "hardware advantage" on the ps3 in that it is more powerful and allows for slightly improved graphics (shaders, etc.).

        That being said, to me it boils down to the game itself and that is the reason why i sport all this hardware -- some games will draw people in regardless of certain graphic considerations and in any case imo it's hard to compare because there are fantastic titles on both platforms.

    4. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      PS3 and xboxen

      What makes you think these platforms are not 'locked down'?

      Even if they weren't you do realize the only common thing they share is the in order ppc64 cores. They are vastly different beasts.

      If companies want to create code on one platform and do a half arsed port to another (PS3s seem to get shafted that way), that's not going to stop the same thing happening in iPhone like devices locked down or otherwise, imho.

      However, with Apple actually governing what apps look like now, those ports may never even materialize. Or even...

      Steve: "We don't like the look of your foo app ui's, Fuznub, the button shapes... the positioning and layout... Smells too much of M$"

      Fuznub: "But it's a direct port of my foo windoze program. Users expect it to look the same"

      Steve: "Change it, it's not like it's a big deal"

      ...weeks later

      Steve: "Err.. we don't like the ui of your shipping foo app, Fuznub, it's too simple... bit too much like our own bar App... Too Apple! Users may get confused and buy your foo product instead of our bar one. We get less money that way. You gotta change it..."

      Fuznub: "F"

      Fuznub: "U"

      Fuznub: "Steve"

    5. Piro Silver badge


      The PS3 may have a more interesting CPU, and a blu-ray drive, but I honestly don't think you can say the hardware overall is the best -- I'd start off by arguing that the Xbox 360 GPU is superior to the old nvidia GPU in the PS3. Then, I'd say that the most important thing is then that in the Xbox 360 the memory pool is a unified 512MB, as opposed to in the PS3, where the system RAM is 256MB, and the GPU has 256MB, and for the CPU to access the GPU RAM is very slow.

      This alone makes me think the 360 is a more elegant design, better suited to the console marketplace (where it's far better to design a "decent" but not cutting edge machine) so costs can be brought down quicker.

  4. DeRos

    Killer app?? lol

    Killer app? Give me a break, most of what comes from an open system is crap. Android is "open" and what killer apps does it have. In fact any app you find on both Android and iPhone, is always better on the iPhone. Looks better, works better, and sometimes with more features. I've tried, gave up my iPhone for Mot Droid and it was a frustrating experience. I let my geekness get the best of me. Decided to go with the smartphone with most megapixels, memory expansion, etc. Only to be let down.

    I realize that people that are only concerned with the numbers (megapixel, memory, screen size, etc..) miss the big picture. User experience is a major part of the puzzle and Apple has that hands down, 100%. Its interesting to me that a picture taken with my 3GS (3 megapixel) iPhone looks much better than my friends HTC Hero (5 megapixel) phone. QUALITY is also key. Use cheap parts (no matter how good the numbers look), you get cheap results. At least I know if I buy an iPhone, it will be quality all the way. As far as openness is concerned, it may breed more "creativity" but never anything of quality. Its good for standards but not so good if your trying to build quality. There has to be a balance of proprietary and openness, Apple is riding along those lines. Aside from hopeless geeks concerned with numbers, the normal majority loves Apple's system.

    1. ThomH

      Agree, with caveat

      I'm typing this on a Nexus One and it remains obvious to me that the iPhone is the better end-to-end experience. However, this article is essentially about hearts and minds of developers, and they do care about SDK restrictions and approval processes. Apple are walking a real tightrope in termsod long-term platform viability with their arbitrary and variably applied policies.

    2. Robert Hill
      Jobs Halo

      100% Agree

      Now, I started programming when we were taught Fortran IV and assembly. I've coded professionally in several assemblers, C, Turbo Pascal, and a bunch of higher level languages. I can and have coded in APL, sometimes for fun. I can out-geek most when pressed.

      And I think the iPhone STILL rocks, for all of the reasons DeRos says above. It's not about how open or closed it is, it is totally about user experience. Having recently worked for a mobile carrier and carried a toolbox of phones around every day (I had to check our portal experience and ad serving!), the iPhone is the only one that I actually wanted to carry (caveat: loved my BB Bold for email though).

      This talk of pixels, screens, software standards, etcetera misses the whole point: it isn't what goes into making it a phone that matters, it is what it DOES...or doesn't do. And it is hard to find any phone that DOES more than an iPhone.

      I feel sorry for those in the US, that can't get the iPhone on a decent carrier though...many of them DO have a legitimate reason for choosing an alternative...a second-rate phone on a good carrier may well be better than the best phone on a poor carrier in your area.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Robert Hill

        I have a similar Geek-profile to you, Bob, but I keep looking at friends' iPhones and wondering "what were you thinking?" Chief amongst my list of cons is that it's a really crap telephone.

        I hate getting calls from people using iPhones as the shitty microphone means it's hard to hear them. If the iPhone was free with a box of Frosties or something then fair enough, but for hard cash I really expect something better.

    3. Steen Hive

      Oh noes "The Normal Majority"

      "Aside from hopeless geeks concerned with numbers, the normal majority loves Apple's system."

      Ah that'll be the famous "Daily Mail" postulate - you know, the supposedly white, heterosexual "English" male that is always in the "normal majority" of "law-abiding citizens", while these criminal "Swan Roasting Albanians" get away with their rubbish living on benefits.

      No seriously - being a ...erm ... shall we say .. "devotee" of something as mundane as a piece of mass-produced circuitry made in China is rather lame.

    4. Steven Knox

      Killer apps not about open vs closed

      "Killer app? Give me a break, most of what comes from an open system is crap. "

      Yes, and most of what comes from closed systems is crap. The crap is not a side effect of the nature of the system; it's a side effect of the nature of development. Don't believe me? Go to Apple's app store, and go through all of the apps, and ask yourself how many of those you really want to pay for (or even how many of the free ones you want taking up space on your device). If your answer is over 1%, you're either lying, or you're insane.

      A killer app isn't about quality, or about tech numbers. A killer app is simply any application or feature of a device which entices large numbers of people to get that device. It's a marketing term, not a technical term. Steve Jobs isn't afraid of killer apps coming specifically from open systems; he's afraid of killer apps showing up anywhere other than on an Apple device, because that will take market share away from his company.

      1. Lou Gosselin

        @Steven Knox

        You got it right "Yes, and most of what comes from closed systems is crap."

        The poster made an unwarranted association between a closed platform and better quality, and between open platform and poor quality.

        Some of the best applications happen to be open sourced.

        I think the poster also missed the fact that "high quality" closed applications could be sold on an open platform, and that "low quality" open applications can be sold on the closed platform (assuming they get passed the apple censors).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Permission required for each interpreted code?

    "Unless otherwise approved by Apple in writing, no interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application". That's funny. It's not the interpreter or application that needs written approval, it's the interpreted code. Does one need to have written approval for each piece of interpreted code downloaded or used?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up

      Just write a compiler.

      Clause pwnt.

      Nothing interpreted in the implied sense of the word.

      Not difficult for something simple. Many done on the arm. Honestly, even a simple macro assembler would technically be outside this clause.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Forgive me....

    .....for being Captain Stupid but why does Microsoft get hung drawn and quartered for bundling intershit explorer with it's o/s and Apple get to do whatever the fuck they want to whomever they want?

    1. Franklin

      A title is required

      Microsoft was hung, drawn, and quartered because under US law, it is not illegal to be a monopoly, but it IS illegal to leverage a monopoly position in one market in order to dominate a different market.

      Many folks don't understand the law, and believe that a company is not allowed to have a monopoly position. That's not true; it only becomes a problem when the company seeks to exploit their monopoly status in different markets.

      For example, Standard Oil used to ship so much of their oil by rail that they were able to dictate to the rail shipping companies how much they could charge for shipping competitors' products, and even for shipping cargo that had nothing to do with oil at all. Since Standard Oil was by far the rail shipper's biggest company, they were able to leverage their near-monopoly in oil into a near-monopoly into real shipping as well. (At one point, they were even making a tariff on oil shipped by other companies.)

      Similarly, Internet Explorer's bundling with Windows was an attempt to extend a monopoly in one arena (desktop operating systems) into a monopoly in a different arena (Web browsing, and ultimately Web development, since people tend to code to the dominant browsers). That's why they got drawn and quartered.

      If Apple had a monopoly on cell phones, and then tried to extend that monopoly into, say, game console development, by somehow using their cell phone monopoly to, I don't know, force Sony to rewrite their terms for PS3 development, then they'd be doing something similar.

    2. Joe Ragosta

      Captain .....

      OK. I forgive you - you obviously can't help it. But you really shouldn't talk about yourself that way - even if it's true.

      If you really want to become educated, learn a little bit about antitrust laws. Apple, with 3% of the cell phone market and 20% of the smart phone market doesn't have a controlling market position. Microsoft, with 97% of the OS market, obviously did.

    3. Annihilator


      If you go and look up what a monopoly is and how one abuses it.

    4. Red Bren

      No forgiveness...

      because this question has been asked and answered so many times before. Microsoft have a near monopoly in the PC operating system market. Apple don't have anything like a monopoly anywhere.

      1. oddie

        not entirely true red bren...

        what is it that you call an ipod when it isn't made by apple again?

        1. The First Dave


          These days, Dyson probably sell more machines than anyone else, but we still call them 'Hoovers' - the iPod is clearly the brand leader, but nowhere near to being a monopoly.

          Call me weird, but I like things to just work, particularly when they are 'appliances' of one kind or another. As someone pointed out before, there are just as many useless apps available for iPhone as there are for Android, but at least I know that when I find something that looks usefull to me, it isn't going to kill my device, which is a very real possibility on open-access devices. If I want to do serious development of my own, then I will do it on a Linux box, but I can see no great reason for wanting to hack around on a phone.

  7. Gil Grissum

    Android will win

    The naysayers who are pooing on Android can have the iPhone. I'm never going to buy a closed platform Phone that restricts my choices on apps, limits where I can buy them from, and prevents me from having a "killer app" out of fear that it could be cross platform, ultimately dropped from the iPhone at some point, or that it could run better on another platform. iPhone had the market to itself until Android arrived. More important than all of this is the fact that new iPhone customers (= NON FANBOIS) will not get unlimited data plans because AT&T has done away with them. So the killer feature (unlimited data) that makes the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, worth having to deal with AT&T's service, is gone. Everyone else intends to maintain unlimited data plans. Guess what that means? iPhone/data cap, Android, unlimited data. You may not think that Android 2.2 doing Flash natively means anything, but we will see.

  8. Miek


    This stinks of a monoply, but that's why I bought an android device. Works just as well, if not better (for me). It definitely has more features including Flash, which works really well despite Job's "Claims".

    I can create whatever I want for my device and other's without having to purchase a developer license and without having to be shafted in the arse by the Picard-emulating Jobs. I don't have to worry that my legitimate business may be eradicated by the Apple police overnight over some childish inter-industry spat and not be able to challenge the reasoning at all.

    1. Matthew Barker

      I don't think that word means what you think it means...

      "This stinks of a monoply, but that's why I bought an android device."

      Monopoly: " a company or group having exclusive control over a commodity or service : areas where cable companies operate as monopolies."

      I have 3 sony-ericsson phones, a nokia and a motorola phone and most of my co-workers have android phones. At my previous company it was blackberrys. Maybe 1 out of 10 or more had iPhones.

      Google has stitched up most of the search market. Aren't you supporting a monopoly when you support Google's platform?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's spelled 'M-O-N-O-P-O-L-Y"...

      and what I think you mean is "anti-trust". Of course, you realise that technically, Google have a total monopoly over the Android OS and that with ~86% of all searches being conducted with Google, they have not only an effective monopoly over search but also an effective monopoly in the area of on-line advertising? What you are suggesting is that Apple are being anti-competitive WRT development on their *propriety* platform. As for the rest of your missive, well done. Here is a medal and a slice of cake.

      1. dolcraith

        title is required

        Ah, but Android OS is opensource and free, so while google controls android os trunk, anyone can spinoff their own version of android for free, without approval. iOS? completely closed.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          How does an OS being free (it's not really, BTW) and opensource make a difference Einstein?! Forking OSS has *nothing* to do with monopoly.

    3. Red Bren

      Do you know what a monopoly is?

      "This stinks of a monoply, but that's why I bought an android device."

      If it was monopoly, Android wouldn't be a choice.

      1. Alex 19
        Thumb Up


        You sir, have summarised competition law (or at least one aspect of it) beautifully. I tip my hat to you.

  9. Volker Hett

    Funny thing

    Apple introduced a way for Adobe to use h.264 hardwaresupport frame by frame in OS X 10.6.3, they sent their Safari team to Adobe to help Adobe with XCode compiler options and OS X APIs.

    And guess what? Flash Player 10.1 does not use h.264 hardwaresupport on OS X!

    From a developers point of view, yes a restricted device is somewhat annoying, but did we complain that we couldn't use Flash on Solaris/Sparc or AIX or HP-UX? Or that this nice piece of TurboBasic Code wouldn't run on MPE V on a HP 3000 Micro XE?

    The problem with the idevices is, they are wider deployed as most other devices.

    So there is a big potential to market ones program if one could port it to these idevices, but one can't.

    Like that piece of cr..., sorry, fine program I put together in TurboBasic on my 286 then and had to learn Cobol to do it again on MPE V :-)

    Beer, although coffee would be better for a long porting session


      vdpau and the Jobs RDB

      > Apple introduced a way for Adobe to use h.264 hardwaresupport frame by frame in OS X

      > 10.6.3, they sent their Safari team to Adobe to help Adobe with XCode compiler options and OS

      > X APIs.


      > And guess what? Flash Player 10.1 does not use h.264 hardwaresupport on OS X!

      Yes. That's because Apple pretty much literally just last week released the sort of API that Linux has had for YEARS. Apple is even behind the "freetards".

      This is what platform tyranny gets you. You are bested by a bunch of "hobbyists".

      Adobe rightfully gets crap for not supporting Windows in a timely manner or supporting Linux at all. If Adobe doesn't have good acceleration support for MacOS, that's all on Apple.

      A multi-platform vendor standard sucks. A single platform vendor standard sucks even more.

      1. Volker Hett

        OSX Programs can use h.264 acceleration for quite some time now

        even Applescript can. But by passing the steam to QTKit and not frame by frame so you can insert personalized ads anywhere in the video.

        And where does Flash Player 10.1 use h.264 acceleration? 32bit IE7 on Windows 7 with a small selection of graphics cards, none of which I own :(

        My Windows 7 Ultimate box has an ATI 3870, no hardware acceleration short of buying a 4xxxx card, my Linux Box has a NVidia 8500GT, no need to buy a newer card since we won't get any hardware acceleration.

        Don't get me started on 64bit support.

    2. dolcraith


      I could've sworn that those OS X apis weren't "public" at the time of testing so they (adobe) couldn't release the support for them: . Seems like they held it off a bit so they could maybe do some more testing? You know, putting out a quality product and all.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    what a wanker!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    How is this "yet another indication that Jobs is restricting iPhone development not so much to control security and performance, but to keep particular applications from particular companies off Apple handhelds"? I agree it MAY be an indication of the above, but nothing in this move actually contradicts His Steveness' earlier statements on security and performance. If Apple has to rubber stamp every use of such code, then surely they'll claim

    to screen strictly for performance and security. Regardless of whether this is true, the move reported here doesn't really stand as enough proof, to my mind, that it isn't true. We need a few dots between the two points, methinks. Come on Reg, let's have a bit more reason and even-handedness. Otherwise you just look like idiots for mocking other people for behaving like cultists while yourself displaying all of the zealotry and lack of reasoned judgement of a cultist.

  12. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Why do end users care?

    Honestly, why would end users care about this? the only people whining are lazy developers!

    When you look at the quantity of software on the Mac it is generally better than Windows, less annoyances and more thought has been put into it.

    Windows has quantity, but not quality. I think I'd sooner have quality on the iPhone.

    1. Matthew Barker

      Steam author seems to agree

      While Windows has better gfx performance than the Mac, according to Valve, they said the following about stability:

      "Also, said Newell, 'what's sort of surprising is how much more stable our games are on the Mac.' Looking at the early data available from the Steam client, 'the Mac is five times more stable than Windows' when using the metric of minutes played versus number of crashes."

      1. Shakje

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        Doesn't seem surprising to me at all considering the lack of variation in Mac hardware. It would be far more interesting to see proper metrics on the crashes to see what it was that was causing the crashes, but I'm guessing it's more likely to be graphics drivers than anything else, and this is the price of speed. I also wouldn't agree with Gabe, graphics intensive games are still appearing on a regular basis (maybe not quite as much as 13 years ago, but hey..) and if you look at the games available on the Mac via Steam, I still wouldn't say it's anywhere near a good gaming platform. While there's now Steam support, it's still going to take a long, long time, and a lot of persuasion that it's a profitable platform to develop for (is there really a big enough market share of gamers to justify spending money on porting it? Especially if Direct3D is still a pretty favoured platform? Even moreso since Macs don't support OpenGL 3, you get the picture..).

  13. nsld
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe its just me

    but I cannot get on with apple products, god knows I have tried, but the mouse with no buttons is a non starter along with the GUI on Macs which is just odd.

    As for the iPhone/Touch I cannot get to grips with it either whereas my HTC Hero was out of the box simple. I am no techy either and have managed to stick Ubuntu on mine and my kids netbooks with no hassle either, it just works.

    That aside I think the walled garden is ultimately bad for Apples long term future, especially if it spreads to the OSX platform as there are simply not enough units out in the world for developers to take it seriously as a stand alone development once your into the general computer marketplace.

    Add to that the rapid growth of SaaS and pretty soon the only thing that will really matter outside of niche items will be the way the box connects to the interwebs and which browser it runs and if your walled garden means the browser doesnt cut the mustard then your stuffed.

    I also question the ethics of a dev system that allows certain key players who generate a lot of revenue for Apple via the itunes store to effectively circumvent the SDK licence. We cant wobble boobs or club seals but we can hijack cars, murder people and visit hookers on something like GTA. But then free boob wobbling and seal clubbing dont make any money for the cult.

    Paris, she probably cant work a mac either

    1. Joe Ragosta



      "but I cannot get on with apple products, god knows I have tried, but the mouse with no buttons is a non starter along with the GUI on Macs which is just odd."

      So the fact that you're uninformed is Apple's problem?

      As for the mouse, the standard Apple mice all have at least 2 buttons - they're just not physical. You click differently. But if you're really stuck on having a mouse with 10 buttons, you can use almost all of them on Macs. So your reasoning doesn't make sense.

      As for an 'odd' GUI, that's a really bizarre statement since the GUI of every modern computer system has almost all of the same features as the Mac's GUI (I'm not going to get into who is copying whom at this point). The Mac's is less cluttered and more usable than the others, but there's not enough difference to pull one out and call it 'odd'.

      1. Captain Underpants

        Well, yes actually

        Joe - I'd agree with you completely, only for the overlooked fact that Apple bang on incessantly about how their stuff "just works". (Or, in the case of the iPad, "you already know how to use it").

        If they say things like "it just works" and "it's intuitive" and "you already know how to use it" when selling the product, and then someone buys the product and finds that actually it's *not* something intuitive, it doesn't just work and they don't know how to use it, then yes it is Apple's problem.

        As with anyone working in IT who gets the dubious honour of being the Extended Family IT Support Droid, I dislike the Magic Box approach to computers. Apple are trying quite hard to outdo Microsoft in that arena, and deserve any grief they get over it.

  14. John Hoar
    Thumb Down

    For Unity, etc

    Unity uses Javascript for game logic; since iPhones and iPads are a key target for Unity devs this is great.

    So this is serving the interests of Apple in promoting their mobile devices as a gaming platform.

    Apple: open when it makes them money.

    1. StooMonster
      Thumb Up


      Unity uses Javascript, C# or Boo as choices for programming language.

      For my business's iOS development we use Unity and C# -- so I'm very glad that Apple has eased up on their TOS. This approach also enables development on Android, and we'll use these cross-platform tools to get our software working on those devices too at some point.

  15. Richard Jones 1

    Just Make the applications reliable

    My disabled daughter is fed up getting applications from the iCrap store using them for a short while, being told there is an 'update' only to find that the applications no longer work. They are still advertised for the ipod touch so have not been withdrawn but she cannot use them. so that is a big no 'Thank you' to paranoid failure steve job.

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Um.... is it relevant here that your daughter is disabled? Sorry, that jarred for me, a bit.


      1. Joe Ragosta


        Obviously because he doesn't have a strong argument, so he's going for sympathy points.

  16. Andy 4

    Sort of

    I've been using a 3GS now for nearly a year - had the chance to play with a HTC Desire for a couple of days and frankly I think I prefer the HTC. Although the 3GS is slick in its operation, for me the better experience was on the HTC ... so I'm jumping ship, partly because I'm fed up of being treated like a naughty child by Apple but also partly because the UI and better feature set on the HTC suits me perfectly.

  17. DZ-Jay

    Re: Agree, with caveat

    That is only a relevant caveat if Apple is aiming at being the only game in town, like Google and Microsoft have tried in the past. Apple, so far, has shown that they are perfectly happy being a premium boutique outfit, with a minor share of the market.

    You may think that preventing competitors from taking over their platform is tantamount to taking over a market, but think again about what they are restricting: access to *their* platform, which is hardly a majority share in the "Market for Mobile Smart-Phones". They are only restricting access to the "Market for iOS Applications", which is a very narrow definition, and defined by themselves.

    Also, regarding your point about "hearts and minds of developers," you are right in that that is the essence of the article, but that misses the point because that is not the goal of Apple--and it has never been. Their goal, as suggested by DeRoss above, is to enrich the end-user experience (their *real* customer). They believe that if many people purchase the iPhone for the sake of its quality and features, the developers will follow naturally. This further enriches the platform and attracts more users (and, thus, more developers).

    And guess what? It has worked so far. Most people buy iPhones and iPads for the what they are and what they do, not necessarily for the fact that it has a bizillion fart apps available. (Recall also that when the iPhone came out, it had no App Store and no third-party developers at all, yet it sold like gang busters.)

    So, in conclusion, you and the article have a very good point--except for the fact that it is the wrong one regarding Apple.


  18. Lewis Mettler 1

    support Android

    The idiots at Apple give the best reasons in the world to drop Apple completely and go with Android.

    They have no interest in acting in the best interest of their customers.

    1. Volker Hett

      Yes, but

      Do LG, Samsung, Motorola, HTC and the like have any interest in my best? Imagine you had lots of software developed for Win Mobile 6.5 and there'll never be an update to that :(

    2. Anonymous Coward

      @Lewis Mettler 1

      You see the world backwards is all I can assume where good is bad and bad is good, because that statement you made couldn't be more wrong. Apple's ethos is all about user experience. They have never strayed from that, though they could have done the commodity route with larger volumes, they stayed in the user experience camp and actually have something more than cost to differentiate themselves on.

  19. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    of think the whole argument of the article is wrong.

    If there is such a thing as a killer mobile app, why would anyone possibly try to keep it off their platform? That simply makes no sense.

    If you want to avoid being held to ransom, all you need do is copy that killer app. Apple have put functionality from existing apps into the iPhone OS before, and I'm sure they'll do so again.

    Apple ave certainly control freaks, but they're not complete idiots! There are sound business reasons for the control-freakery, even if you think that they're short-sighted ones that will harm the future prospects of the platform.

  20. Andus McCoatover

    Forgive me, folks, but I need a bit of help..

    Why does it seem the only place *in the world* - Apple's appstore - that you can get applications for your Jesus phone or Jobsworth iPad?

    Why, oh why can't anyone else create another download site (first app, freely available, disable 'callback' to Apple) where anyone can stick what they want, and users get a choice?

    If I want to run a frikking interpreted program in (heaven forbid) BASIC, and I've a reason to do so, I will. Does the excellent G-Mail notifier, written in Python - another interpreted language - get forbidden?

    I just simply don't get the 'lockdown'. It seems by the volume of sales it's by customer consent. Makes me think of lemmings and a cliff, somehow. Dunno why.

    Someone explain, please...

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Because Apple say so

      It's their platform - they can decide what is run on it.

    2. Joe Ragosta



      "I just simply don't get the 'lockdown'."

      Maybe you should read a little bit about the topic. Apple's 'lockdown' is to ensure quality of user experience. It has nothing to do with volume of sales or your desire to run interpreted Basic. It's all about delivering a quality experience. The fact that they're now allowing small amounts of interpreted code is evidence of that. If you can demonstrate that your app meets the quality standards in spite of having some interpreted code, you can get it listed.

      As for the rest, you're once again misinformed. If you want to run non-approved apps on your iphone, you can do so. Jailbreak your phone if you wish and you can run all the garbage you want. Just don't whine when the crappy apps that fail Apple's review process don't work well.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Nope, still aint got it.

        If I'm a complete and utter twat (some might argue "if" is redundant) and I want to download pr0n and get all sorts of nasty scripts that Apple hasn't 'approved', that's my fuc*king problem, not Apple's. I don't need a wet-nurse. I'm big enough and ugly enough to decide what apps. I want to 'improve my experience' (bangs head on desk. Godawful Redmond marketing phrase) .

        Oh, I don't take umbrage at the "As for the rest, you're once again misinformed" bit.

        That's why I asked for an explanation. Gorrit? Yours, I'm sorry to say, wasn't in the top ten. Silence is a tad higher.

        1. Joe Ragosta



          Yes, I would agree that 'if' is redundant - based solely on your posts here.

          You want to spend your time buying porn apps? Buy a different phone. Apple has chosen to not sell porn apps as part of their effort to defend their brand image - much as Walmart refuses to sell porn magazines. You don't like that? Don't shop at Walmart or buy an iPhone.

          If you really must have your porn, you can still use a browser to get it even on an iPhone. Apple is simply not going to facilitate it for you.

          As for the rest, I gave you an explanation. The fact that you didn't like it doesn't make it any less valid.

    3. Alex 19


      Looks like a long rhetorical question. You've mad your mind up obviously...It is what it is. Don;t like it? Go with an Android phone, a Symbian device or even, if you can wait that long, a Window Mobile 7 (or whatever MS call it these days) device.

  21. Jeff 11

    Killer app nonsense

    The iPhone is a phone first and an app platform second. Even if this killer app does appear (it hasn't in the last 8 years) will it be more useful than calling other people? Don't forget, when the iPhone 1 came out it had 0 apps, and while it was a lot more swish than its contemporaries, it had nothing built into iOS that was more than a gimmick. And yet people bought it - probably for the same reasons people buy Macs instead of PCs. They're different, and the form factor and UI suited the image-conscious. And they worked, mostly, with the guarantee that helpful geeks would fix any problems at the store instead of passing you off to clueless Indian drones.

    So no, I don't think Apple fears some third party killer app, because most consumers buy them for completely different reasons. I'm more inclined to believe Apple makes these changes to cause media furore, and get a lot of free advertising out it. Who doesn't love a bit of harmless controversy, after all?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      It's clearly an applications platform first.

      Have you ever seen an advert for the iPhone that mentions call quality or indeed anything about how it makes or receives telephone calls?

      What's the tagline on the adverts? "There's an app for that"

      The first versions even messed up text messaging, which is a well known (albeit originally surprising) 'killer app' for mobile telephony devices.

      The iPhone family now contains three devices - iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

      Only one of them has the ability to make phone calls, and only one of them even has cellular radio as standard.

      So it's obvious that Apple don't see this platform's core feature to be the phone.


      Throwing the baby out with the bath water.

      Apple fears that a killer app that arises on the iPhone won't stay there.

      They want a repeat of Lotus and MS Office but with Jobs playing the role of Bill Gates.

      The tech landscape is a lot different now than it was then. There are more cross platform frameworks available to deploy effective multi-platform applications. A new app is less likely to be restricted to a single vendor and used as a means to attract and trap end users. This seems to disturb Steve Jobs greatly.

      Apple is relenting because of the absurdity of their rules from a purely technical perspective.

  22. morphoyle


    Wow, it's like Jobs learned nothing from his desktop computer fiasco with IBM. Is he actively trying to lose market share by locking down the platform? If he would have played ball with the rest of the industry 25 years ago, most of us would be using Macintosh now.

  23. Simon Redding
    Jobs Horns

    HTML5 & Javascript

    So cross-platform scripting is fine as long as you have implemented all of the interpreter and are an evangelist for the cross-platform scripting languages? At least be consistent, Steve!

    1. ThomH

      Vaguely related observation

      The availability of Javascript on the iPhone technically means that you can use it for all your scripting. But unlike on the desktop where Apple provide a direct path to the interpreter, you're stuck communicating by proxy through a web view (whether visible or not), which produces a great deal of performance problems and makes debugging almost impossible.

  24. BKinSF

    "plain text only, no HTML"...of irony and hypocrisy

    Interesting position of this article given the above imposed limitation on posting comments on the Register's own site. One might ask..."Why are you curtailing my freedoms to express myself in any manner I see fit? Does this not go against the tenets of what commenting is all about ...allowing for the participation of readers and the diversity of how we may chose to express themselves?"

    The truth is that I can think of a number of reasons to impose this limitation (inappropriate self-promotion, links to malicious sites, etc.)

    Personally, I think it's probably a combination two things...first, a 'walling off' or a cleaning up of the comment system to maintain what is deemed more desirable reading and second, to eliminate hyperlinks that would take you out of the Register site.

    IMO, both of these reasons make sense....but given the logic/subject of the article should this not be considered a "Register, you fail!" moment with regards to freedom of expression? I don't...though it does seem hypocritical.

    1. Matt Bradley

      You've not been here long have you

      "and second, to eliminate hyperlinks that would take you out of the Register site."

      If you had read reasonable amount of comments (and indeed articles) on The Register, you would have noticed that there are LOTS of external links in both.

      The only time articles get pulled is when they are seriously abusive / libellous / illegal.

      You can see the posting rules here:

      Now, maybe if Apple had a similarly clear policy which they stuck to, there wouldn't be a beef. As it is, they continually enforce the written T&Cs selectively (allowing big money firms to get away with stuff that is forbidden in their terms), move the goalposts, change the developer terms, and arbitraily ban apps which appear to threaten their business model,

  25. James Woods

    I agree with Mr Jobs

    I agree with Steve.

    He is simply protecting his investment.

    A prime example of this comes from something Microsofts tech support told me (when they had American tech support). My sarcasm indicates how long ago this actually was.

    I was told a windows machine will not crash until you install applications on it. The tech support was correct on a number of levels. My aunt for whom I would share her computer with would install these cheap games she'd get from the computer stores.

    Now when your picking up a cheap game your probably in turn getting cheap code. Sometimes with or without other rogue software also being installed. Once you start to install these types of applications your computer starts to develop a reputation for being a piece of crap for always locking up or crashing. It wasn't the computers fault or windows, it was this code.

    The reason for the code causing problems could be seen as the developers inability to get access to crucial information from Microsoft to make the code work better with the system. However as with Mr Jobs you can understand that Flash is an incredibly big piece of crap and I don't want it on anything I use.

    If it's time to start bashing "monopolies" one doesn't have to look very far. We can look at Comcast, Cox <- what doesn't this company have their hands in, Fox, and other companies.

    Far as I know apple only does computer and computer related devices. And Al Gore sits on the board of directors. Do you really think anything is going to happen to them?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple already have their killer app

    It's called the App store. The apps you get from it are 99.99% of the time much superior to anything on any other smartphone platform, there are ten times more choices for any type of app you can think of and, unlike e.g. Android where you either get only one or none, many of them in each category range in quality from the very good to the excellent. Hell, even the pick of the fart apps you get on the iPhone are excellently made for what they do.

    From a developer's perspective, the pros of the store outweigh the cons of the Byzantine approval process. It is this killer app that Apple are protecting from the likes of Adobe's continuing push for bland mediocrity.

    In comparison with very rare exceptions, Android apps never rise above the merely good, their marketplace is a fricking sick joke on both user and developer and Google continue to evolve into being the Microsoft of mobile platforms with each new version of their OS being a beta offering features that barely work just to get the buzzwords in the marketing, and one that suffers from a frustrating lack of attention to any detail or polish. Palm and MS aren't even in the game anymore (and I seriously doubt WP7 will get them back either - it's shaping up to be the next Zune of theirs).

    Hate Apple all you like, hate what they are doing and the way that they are doing it, but they have already got their killer app and they've got it precisely because of the way they've being operating.

  27. h 6

    Short comment

    Try writing a game in Flash and see if you can get it on a PS3 or Xbox or Wii. Let me know how that goes for you.

    1. Nicholas Smith
      Thumb Up

      A Shorter Reply

      Ain't that the truth.

    2. Joe Ragosta


      @h 6

      "Try writing a game in Flash and see if you can get it on a PS3 or Xbox or Wii. Let me know how that goes for you."

      Or Windows Mobile or Symbian or WebOS or any Android system except the very tiny percentage running v. 2.2 on an 800 MHz or faster processor.

  28. nsld
    Paris Hilton

    @Joe Ragosta

    "So the fact that you're uninformed is Apple's problem?"

    Well, thats clearly it then Joe, thanks for the insight on why I dont like the Apple interface, clearly its my fault that I cant get on with it and nothing to do with the general oddities of Macs.

    What would you suggest? Perhaps there is a jobsian re education camp I can attend so that I can be informed in the ways of the cult.

    Its been suggested that the reason I cant get on with Macs is that I am not in touch with my feminine side, given the choice I think I will stay manly and uniformed and leave all you low testosterone metrosexuals to it ;)

    Paris clearly more manly than the average fanboi!

  29. martin gorner
    Jobs Halo

    Agree with Jobs

    I agree with Jobs on this topic. His first and foremost interest is to guarantee a minimum level of quality in the App store. That is what he needs the "control" for. Apparently, he cannot do subjective quality check, like the app submission people rejecting an app "because it is just too lame", but he does focus on objective quality assurance points. The app being a native port using iPhone native controls (widgets and so on) is one of those points. A valid one for me. The iPhone SDK provides great native controls with animation affects. Other run-times are nowhere that advanced and even if they were, they would provide a different kind of user experience which does not good to the unity of a platform. For comparison, try an X app on MacOS. They work, but what a UI nightmare!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    On a somewhat related note...

    On a somewhat related note, the iPad is being marketed in Australia as "ALL of the worlds websites in your hand!" (quote from their TV advert).

    I think there might be more than a few people that have cause to complain about that little lie.

  31. andy 45

    I think...

    ...the iPhone is becoming more like the Bejesus Phone...

  32. Andy Watt

    Killer app? Oh yeah, I remember that myth...

    Dear god, is there still anyone peddling that claptrap (albeit as part of a different argument)?

    When 3G came along everybody kept trying to work out what the "killer app" was for the bandwidth. Mobile networks formed (and are still forming) crap alliances trying to find it: handset manufacturers put more and more shoddy crammed in features trying to define it: all failed pretty dismally really.

    Ultimately the killer app for all that bandwidth turned out to be form factor and usability - finally getting handhelds together with a good working set of UI interactions, and the speed of processor with battery life which allowed 3G to be useful.

    This "killer app" discussion is no better. There is no killer app, only killer devices. And it would appear that Apple have one...

    All this sounds like so much geek frothing at the mouth, as usual.

  33. Graham Bartlett

    Cross-platform bad?!?!

    Sure, a cross-platform dev system might only support a common-denominator group of features. But equally it might add its own implementation of software features which aren't supported by a particular platform (e.g. widget sets providing "missing" widgets), or it might add ways of simulating missing hardware features from other platforms (e.g. the left-and-right-button-together emulation of the X-Windows middle mouse button).

    Now if he was honest, he would have said straight out: "We require anyone coding for the iPhone to tightly tie their code to the iPhone API, so that porting to any other platform takes impractical amounts of effort." This might not be a popular statement, but it'd be true, and I think it'd accurately reflect their strategy.

    There's a great historical precedent for this. The survival of Apple in the late 80s and early 90s can be summed up in three words: PageMaker, PhotoShop and Quark. The sole reason for using an Apple back then was DTP - a tiny minority of home users whose day-job was DTP also used Apples, but the vast majority of Macs were sold to DTP places. If any of those DTP packages had been successfully ported to Windows, Apple would have dried up and blown away like all the other dead platforms of the time (Acorn Archimedes, for example) which had their lunch eaten by Wintel. But porting software was hard enough that it was another 10 years before any of those made a half-decent move to Windows, and by that time Apple had their feet firmly under the table.

    So far, it doesn't look like there's a killer app for the iPhone and iPad. There's a number of things it does fairly well, but nothing that really sets it aside from any other smartphone, and frankly I don't really see it happening. But my guess is that Jobs is thinking if a killer app *does* turn up, achieving some kind of lock-in for that killer app on his platform will let him completely stomp the opposition. As it stands the iPhone has first-mover advantage, but this doesn't necessarily give it the leverage to force everyone else out.

    The downside of this is that by having a monopoly on who gets to sell their apps on your platform, you're leaving yourself very vulnerable legally. Sure MS only got a legal slap on the wrist with MS vs. Netscape, but it cost them a fortune in lawyers and some fairly hefty fines (particularly from the EU, which isn't politically dependent on a US company). And MS's downfall was failure to release details of secret Windows hooks that improved performance - they didn't completely block Windows PCs from installing Netscape, which is an extreme case of restriction of trade. Sooner or later Apple are going to piss off someone with sufficiently deep pockets (Google springs immediately to mind, but Adobe could equally well be it), or a smaller someone with sufficiently good political connections, who'll drag them all the way through the courts. If the MS vs. Netscape case is anything to go by, this won't have a massive effect on profits, but it'll do very serious damage indeed to the company's image.

    1. Tom Thomson

      (Ancient) History @Graham Bartlett

      There's some profound lack of knowledge about Apple's history displayed in your post.

      QuarkXpress was was available on Windows in 1992 (version 3.1); Photoshop 2.5 was on Windows in 1993; PageMaker for Windows 1.0.1 was released in 1986 and it was available on MS-Dos from first release of Windows 1.0.2 in 1987. None of these packages remained unavailable on Windows for another 10 years after the ealy 90s, as you suggest - they were all available on Windows long before that.

      The availability of these three DTP packages was not enough on its own to ensure Apple's survival through the early 90s. Apple fell apart quite badly in the early 90s. Profits had been good under Sculley for the first few years after he ousted Jobs, despite his fragmentation of the product line (too many products all competing with each-other), his decision to compete in the general purpose computer market instead of in niches, his screwing up of the relationship with MS, and the occassional disaster like Lisa (where maketeering had been substituted for technical direction )and the MacIntosh Portable (where the technical facts of life were no permitted to get in the way of marketing's desire for the moon). But by the end of 1991 revenues and profits were heading rapidly downwards (only the PowerBook, introduced in 1991, was contributing any significant profit) and by 1993 the board had had enough and Sculley was replaced by Spindler, who proved to be expert at making matters worse. Apple would probably have gone bust if Amelio (who replaced Spindler in 1996) hadn't introduced massive lay-offs and killed off the failing MAC OS research, buying out Next and Nextstep (which was the basis for Mac OS X) to replace it and bringing back Jobs (I guess he was an essential part of teh Next package) as an advisor. In 1997 Amelio was ousted by the board (who wanted an end to crippling financiallosses) and Jobs became interim CEO. he immediately negotiated a deal with MS ($150 million capital injection from MS; joint development to release MS Office on MacIntosh computers) and this together with his switch from "build for stock" manufacturing to "build to order" on the introduction of the Apple Store kept the company going until it was restored to profitability by the success of the iMac (released Aug 1998).

      So the history from 1991 onwards is quite different from what you suggest - the DTP packages were not much help when the company was making massive losses trying (and failing) to compete directly with IBM, Sun and other unix-based hardware suppliers, and WIndows, with it's product range so subdivided and complex that it was a complete nightmare to get a single software system to support all of it.

      Trouble is that Jobs now seems to be suffering from the sort of arrogance that affected Sculley - he wants to take on and quarrel with the whole world. So will he now wreck the company he first built, and then lost, and then rebuit after Sculley and Spindler had wrecked it?

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