Under The Microscope

The iPhone, Apple, And Third Party Developers

Panic’s own StevenF posted some thoughts on the iPhone that are interesting. For those that don’t know, Steven still uses a Newton, so he seems an ideal candidate for an iPhone.

The whole post is good, but two different quotes caught my eye:

“A thought occurred to me the other day that for as desirable as the iPhone seems to be, very few people have actually used one. It does demo amazingly well, but then so does Spotlight.”

Hopefully that’s comparison won’t hold true. He’s certainly right, however, as Spotlight demos great, and performs terribly.

The other quote is something I’ve found myself saying less concisely several times of late:

“You ever get the feeling that if Apple released the Mac today, rather than 23 years ago, that it would come with iLife, iWork, and that would be that? You wouldn’t be able to install other apps? You could buy Aperture and Final Cut from the iTunes store maybe.”

In all the hoopla about the iPhone, Steve Jobs has been very cagey about support for third-party software. Quentin has stated, correctly, that Apple should simply say that it won’t be possible at launch, but they’re considering it for the future.

Instead, Jobs has promoted FUD about making “Cingular’s West Coast network go down” and so on1. In so doing, he’s also shown a glimpse of an attitude I believe is somewhat reflective of not just the iPhone, but Apple in general: “Apple creates everything you need.”

As a third-party software developer for Mac OS X, I’m hopeful this attitude isn’t gaining root within the company.

Footnotes:
1. The other part of that quote is “You need it to work when you need it to work”, in reference to the cell phone. To me, that sounds like a far better argument for allowing the battery to be swapped than for preventing third-party developers from making software.

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