Apple, Openness, and the iPhone

Yesterday, Apple released potentially one of the most interesting devices in computing history. The combination of mobility, relatively good power, rich OSX APIs, and multiple types of connectivity and sensors (phone, bluetooth, wifi, proximity, location, visual, audio, and orientation) could result in some truly spectacular new classes of applications. Unfortunately, it appears that they’re making their most classic blunder once again: locking out third parties. We have the opportunity to make ourselves heard, and request that Apple open the iPhone to third party developers. The only avenue of communication Apple leaves open to developers is Radar, their bug tracking system.

Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzch has filed an initial bug report on the topic, which he describes here. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in open application development on the iPhone (or being able to use third party applications on the iPhone) follow his lead and file additional requests at (Please be polite though; ticket techs are people too!).

A sample bug report (filed by our own Augie Fackler) is below:

You can’t do any development for the iPhone.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Write a cool app
2. Try to compile for iPhone

Expected Results:
A binary that should work in the spiffy iPhone.

Actual Results:
No way to compile for the iPhone exists, so no binary is produced

None known.

This is the same as Rentzsch’s bug rdar://problem/4917169 to make your life easier when you flag this as a duplicate.

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