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iPhone SDK Rules Block Skype, Firefox, Java ... 800

An anonymous reader writes "Apple's iPhone software development kit is already drawing complaints due to the strict terms of service. Voice over IP apps like Skype that attempt to use the cellular data connection will be blocked. Competing web browsers Firefox and Opera are forbidden. Even Sun is now backpedaling on its recent announcement of a java port, noting that there are some legal issues. Critics are already comparing Apple's methods to Comcast's anti-net neutrality filtering, and Microsoft's Netscape-killing antitrust tactics. Could Apple face government regulators?"
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iPhone SDK Rules Block Skype, Firefox, Java ...

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  • by downix ( 84795 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:26AM (#22715794) Homepage
    The SDK made the iPhone interesting and attractive to new developers. Sun adding java added to that. But now Apple slamming the door on innovation will only drive those that wish for such a product to go elsewhere, such as to Googles Android or the OpenMoko, for examples.
  • It is their phone (Score:1, Insightful)

    by T-Bone-T ( 1048702 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:27AM (#22715820)
    Why can't Apple dictate what gets put on their device? After all, if you don't like it, there are plenty of other phones on the market.
  • by hypergreatthing ( 254983 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:28AM (#22715842)
    And don't buy it. It's that simple.

    It's not like comcast which is a monopoly in certain areas. There are hundreds of other cell phones to buy. Whoever wrote the summary is an idiot.
  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:29AM (#22715854) Journal

    Could Apple face government regulators?"
    If possible regulation is the result, Apple would be better off saying "fuck it, opening up was a mistake, we are not going to do it, sorry."

    What other cell phone company might be facing government regulators over their extremely locked down software choices?

  • It's their party (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Badbone ( 1159483 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:29AM (#22715872)
    How is this an issue for regulators? If Apple if determined to make their product not work, its not the regulators job to change their mind. If Apple decides they want no Opera and no Java and nothing else, its their decision. Let them make it and face the consequences.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:30AM (#22715882) Homepage Journal
    It's not their phone. It's MY phone, bought and paid for. (Assuming I had one, of course. :P) As a consumer, it's not up to Apple to decide what programs I can and can't run. Keeping software from the app store is one thing. Restricting use of the cellular network is also understandable. (Why would you want to run Skype over GSM/EDGE rather than WiFi anyway?) But keeping users from running Java or an alternate browser by way of licensing? Sorry, that's not going to fly.

    My device, my decision. Apple should control only their store, not license away the competition.
  • by neonmonk ( 467567 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:30AM (#22715888)
    Could Apple face regulators for restricting third party development on THEIR SOFTWARE which is on THEIR HARDWARE which does not in any sense of the word have a monopoly.

    Somehow.. I doubt it.

    People seem to forget that Apple don't need to make it easy for people to develop for the iPhone. They don't have to assist at all. At. All.

    Whilst I may disagree with their tactics, I'm certainly not going to tell them how to run their business. And whilst the Microsoft comparisons will be coming out of the woodwork like hungry mutant termites, it's simply not the same. Windows & Office locks people into a platform by being an established monopoly, it also uses this established monopoly to lock people into their other products. What this is, is simply Apple giving people a piece of cake and not letting them eat it. Sure it sucks, but you know what - don't like it; don't develop for it. Simple.
  • Er wha? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMkeirstead.org> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:31AM (#22715900) Homepage

    Could Apple face government regulators?

    For what reason? Last I heard Apple did not have a monopoly on cell phones, or even on smart phones. The only thing they seem to have a monopoly on is fanboys.

    Don't like the iPhone's rules, don't buy the phone. There are a multitude of alternatives. The FCC does not regulate what US providers can and can not restrict on their cell phone networks currently in any way.

  • Complicated Issue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by keirre23hu ( 638913 ) <j2k4real@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:31AM (#22715910) Homepage
    On one hand, this reeks of the same type of behaviour microsoft have engaged in for the past two decades, and was rightfully sued over and over and over again about. At the same time, how is Apple's behaviour different from retarded mess that Verizon puts on its cellular phones to lock out developers and cripple the functionality. Noone goes after the cellular carriers and their enablers (handset makers). Also, where is the Zune SDK (not that Zune == IPod Touch/IPhone, but still)?
  • by Sweeces ( 1246764 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:32AM (#22715950)
    Why can't *Microsoft* dictate what gets put on their *operating system*? After all, if you don't like it, there are plenty of other *computers* on the market.
  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:32AM (#22715954) Homepage
    "Why can't Apple dictate what gets put on their device?"

    It's "their" device right until I pay for it. Then it's "my" device.

    Let me turn the question around. Why can't I dictate why software gets loaded on "my" device?
  • Regulators? No. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:34AM (#22715986)
    The iPhone is a niche product that one must go out of their way to pay a premium for. The people who buy it are buying it because they want what is being offered and they know what they are getting. The majority of Apple customers are going to use iChat, not GAIM, Safari, not Firefox, iWorks or MS Office (but only if they really must), not OpenOffice, etc.

    This is a far cry from Microsoft forcing hardware manufacturers to install Windows on EVERYTHING or NOTHING, then using that penetration to foist IE, WMP, etc.

    Apple users made a conscious decision for the whole kaboodle. Slashdot readers are not the norm for anything but obsessive Linux users. Say whatever it is that you want, but only Slashdot readers are going to be upset about this. The majority of iPhone purchasers and Apple users in general will hardly notice, if they even know what an SDK is.
  • by llamalad ( 12917 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:38AM (#22716034)
    You've got it exactly right.

    I've been planning on snagging an iPhone as soon as the next model is released.

    Unless a) this situation plays out differently than currently seems likely or b) I come to decide that a phone is just an appliance and I can live with Apple's constraints... I will not be buying an iPhone after all.
  • by T-Bone-T ( 1048702 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:38AM (#22716046)
    "Why can't I dictate why software gets loaded on "my" device?"

    That is the question I should have asked. When you buy the phone, you own the physical hardware, but only a license to use the software. Why can't Apple dictate how their software is used? They aren't Microsoft with a 90% market share, they are in a market with massive competition.
  • by Ultra64 ( 318705 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:38AM (#22716054)

    "how dare Apple tell their customers they can't run the apps they want on the phones that they *OWN*,"
    is more like it
  • Java isn't exactly dead. But either way this slams the door on ALL web applications and applets that don't run on the existing iPhone browser.
  • by InfraredAD ( 904482 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:39AM (#22716072)
    1) "Voice over IP apps like Skype that attempt to use the cellular data connection will be blocked." Yeah they're going to be blocked over the cellular network, not over WiFi, this is NOT NEWS. 2) The article that the "are forbidden" link goes to talks about the possible lack of Photoshop (among other apps) on the iPhone. Photoshop, come on. There is no way I'm going to take an article seriously that talks about the lack of Photoshop ON A PHONE. If you wanna use Photoshop get your own lappy 486 or Desktop. 3) Sun Java VM - Where the heck is the back peddling? This whole thing was announced less than a week ago, the article even states "if our crack engineers are able to build it" let alone where they mention the licensing in less than one full sentence... Get real. This is a Doom n' Gloom / FUD post.
  • by b96miata ( 620163 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:42AM (#22716134)
    ....available to all
    (all who already have or can afford to buy an intel mac with leopard)
    , and easy to program
    (to anyone who knows objective C)
    and port apps
    (so long as they don't do anything apple doesn't like, since they control the sole distribution channel)
    without using java which is all but a dead language
    (that happens to run on the majority of cell phones sold today, as opposed to ObjC which is apple's baby just as much as java is Sun's)
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:43AM (#22716150)
    You are perfectly within your rights to rip your iPhone apart in any way imaginable and bend it to your will as you wish - solder new parts onto the motherboard, change the firmware, add new applications, Apple isn't stopping you doing any of those things.

    They just won't support you doing it through their framework. And why should they?
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:44AM (#22716170) Homepage
    I can see the No Skype on Cell-data restriction. VoIP is really very poorly suited for being carried over the wireless anyway, and the overhead is significantly more than just voice calls. Not to mention, voice on the cellphone network is pretty cheap already.

    The "No Competing Browsers" I understand as well. You see, on the iPhone, the browser really isn't ordinary, but the keys to the kingdom of usability and utility. Apple wanting to protect that makes sense.

    What is probably the MOST annoying is "No GPLv3": Apple won't distribute GPLv3 code because it means giving aways the signing key for that app (the anti-TiVoization clause), and since all distribution is through apple, GPLv3 is out.

    However, for all the griping, this is actually an AMAZINGLY flexible and unrestricted platform, compared with say game consoles or other PDAs. And for $100 to get a developer key (which allows you to directly run on your own devices), who cares about the distribution restrictions if you are some l33t haxor type who just HAS to run firefox on his iPhone.
  • by mother_reincarnated ( 1099781 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:45AM (#22716196)
    I agree.

    I think apple is being stupid and short-sighted to a degree that is only surpassed by the anonymous posters musings about possible regulation.

    Jobs must not understand the millions of Blackberry and WM smartphones that would happily be tossed in the garbage...
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:46AM (#22716218) Homepage Journal

    They just won't support you doing it through their framework.

    There's a difference between not providing support and using legal means to restrict the usage. Apple isn't just not supporting the SDK (which would be fine), they're saying that you LEGALLY cannot do this with your phone and the SDK.
  • by DarkDust ( 239124 ) <marc@darkdust.net> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:46AM (#22716220) Homepage
    I've taken a look at the documentation, and as always it's excellent. Lot's of examples and stuff, so the SDK itself seems to be really good. And I personally think that their distribution system is a good idea (they NEED control for various reasons). I also have no problem with the fact that they don't allow voice services over the cellular network, only via WLAN (they have to, the providers would kick Apple in the nuts if they'd allow that).

    But the limitation that instantly kills a ton of useful potential apps is the fact that you can't run an app in the background. If you switch away from your app (say, accept a phone call), your application quits. Bye bye instant messaging and every other application that needs to run for a long time/wait for events.
  • It's funny... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wheatin ( 982347 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:48AM (#22716276)
    Game development is a hobby of mine. I was considering either doing some stuff in Microsoft's XNA Studio for the XBox or the IPhone SDK. It's funny that I'll be using a Microsoft product because it's more open.
  • by Jaywalk ( 94910 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:49AM (#22716280) Homepage

    Critics are already comparing Apple's methods to Comcast's anti-net neutrality filtering, and Microsoft's Netscape-killing antitrust tactics. Could Apple face government regulators?
    Now that's just silly. In order to be subject to the antimonopoly laws, you need to have a monopoly in the relevant market. Just when did Apple corner the market on smart phones? Despite iPhone's current sales surge, Blackberry still has more phones out there than Apple. Add it Palm's Treo and the assortment of phones from companies like Nokia, and iPhone is practically a bit player.

    Antitrust laws are a last resort for when the market can't correct itself. If Apple keeps up with this crap they risk the more dire consequence of consumers simply abandoning their platform. Can you say, Apple Lisa [wikipedia.org]?
  • Honestly though... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darundal ( 891860 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:49AM (#22716282) Journal
    ...who didn't expect this? Honestly, this is completely in line with how they have been acting with the iPhone/iPod Touch product lines. Commence Jailbreaking in 5, 4...
  • by skeletor935 ( 790212 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:50AM (#22716302) Journal
    You aren't forced to buy an iPhone. They don't have to do shit for you. It could be like all other cell phones and not allow you to put anything on it.
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:53AM (#22716368)
    The rules change when you have a monopoly position in a market - there are many things one business can do while another can't do. It doesn't mean the action itself is inherently right or wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:54AM (#22716382)
    But without 3rd party software, the iPhone is just another phone, and not a very good one at that. They don't *have* to do shit, but they ought to. Well, who'd want to be an iSheep anyway?
  • by myspace-cn ( 1094627 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:55AM (#22716392)
    it's a device to communicate and it can't communicate?

    might as well buy a CB friggin radio!
  • by brad.lowe ( 565790 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:55AM (#22716394) Homepage
    Just wait.. the apps that get built for the iPhone are going to be freaking amazing. Boo hoo about 2% of the apps that can't be ported due to a license or design limitation. If you're a hacker, go ahead a try to port skype or mozilla or something--being "not blessed" by Apple will make it all the more appealing. For example, see how much attention jailbreaking the iPhone was. I'm a C/C++/Java programmer and I'm learning the nutty objective C syntax so I can write some apps... Its been a long while since I've been this excited about a new platform to write for. Sure, it's a pain that I can't use my existing J2ME code--but I have yet to see a single J2ME application that actually looked good and didn't crash my crappy RAZR. The end results will be compelling. There will be no equal in terms of a polished UI, market share, and devoted users and developers. This story gets it all wrong.. Should be about the 98% of the apps that can finally be available in a slick, beautiful, mobile package.
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:56AM (#22716412)
    So don't use their SDK - you haven't got an entitlement to use it, after all.
  • But without 3rd party software the iPhone would STILL be one of the best selling phones on the market. So your point is MOOT.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:57AM (#22716444)

    Gawd, nobody wants frigging Java anywhere near anything they have to actually use, much less *pay* to use. Has anybody, anywhere EVER had a positive user experience with a Java app?
    It depends. Swing based apps are awful, every single one of them I've used and the few I'm forced to use at work are awful. The slowness, ugliness*, lack of integration, bugginess, etc drive me insane. There's really only one Swing-based app I can tolerate: JAP [tu-dresden.de]. Other than that, Freenet, and one SWT-based app: Eclipse**. I've also had good experiences with webapps.

    * "Native" look and "feel" is a joke. The GTK+ emulation looks awful, nothing looks quite right. Select/combo boxes are nowhere even close to native. Nothing behaves properly, and there's still zero integration with the desktop. That pisses me off even more than the ugly purple theme so I just disable the "native" look when I can.

    ** Every other SWT-based app I've used gets on my nerves. Eclipse I can tolerate since I love it's editor and am addicted to several plugins. Nothing else out there is even half as nice. It's configuration, however, is an abomination.
  • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:58AM (#22716460) Homepage Journal
    using java which is all but a dead language.

    There are a LOT more Java developers out there than there are Objective-C developers, and a lot more people learning Java every year than are learning Objective-C. While the SDK is pretty reasonable, as someone who's coded on both platforms I have to say that not only is Java significantly nicer, but the IDE's are dramatically better than XCode.

    Mac developers love to poo-poo Java, but Objective-C will probably never be as popular as Java is. And if/when Java disappears, it'll probably be at the hands of C# combined with scripting languages or something akin to that instead of Objective-C.

    If Apple really wanted to open their platform up to innovation, they'd open it up to Java.
  • Re:here's one (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:59AM (#22716470)
    Azureus used to be nice, it has been changed into some godawful abomination, though.
  • Predictions? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:59AM (#22716476) Homepage
    Will Apple face government regulation?

    I seriously doubt it. The iPhone has not given anything and then taken it away. Nor have they made any promises they didn't keep. Further, the level of ubiquity of the iPhone platform is not high enough to be on any government regulatory radar. (Blackberry *might* be just to illustrate a point of reference.)

    As to whether or not a "next version iPhone" will grant developers and users the freedom and flexibility they crave? I find it to be HIGHLY unlikely. Apple has been very consistent in stating their attitude about who controls their products. Apple does -- at ALL times -- especially after purchase. They're pretty good at blurring the lines of who actually owns the products they sell.
  • by Durzel ( 137902 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:00AM (#22716498) Homepage
    It's only "AMAZINGLY flexible and unrestricted" if you've been living in a cave.

    Windows Mobile and Symbian have far more unrestrictive terms of use, in fact - simply being able to write an app in the relevant programming language is the only barrier to entry. There's no third-party enforcing distribution control, no ridiculous $99 sign-up fee - yet, ironically, some people justify the licence fee as "getting rid of the chaff". Unbelievable.

    I try to credit people with intelligent reasoning for the most part but it's tough to argue in favour of people who advocate draconian control the likes of which Apple is putting into effect with its SDK, when if it was Microsoft or some other less-favoured darling at the helm there would - justifiably - be outcry.

    Disclaimer: I own a Macbook Pro and an iPod.
  • by tylersoze ( 789256 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:01AM (#22716506)
    I'm guessing some of these limitations will or can only be enforced by not allowing these applications on the iTunes app store. However if you pony up the $99 to get a developer certificate presumably you'll be able to compile and run whatever the heck you want on your own iPhone subject to SDK limitations.
  • troll bait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by reversible physicist ( 799350 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:01AM (#22716518)
    Why is it that 99% of the developer reaction I've seen has been enthusiastically positive, and yet the spin here is so negative? Apple has dramatically exceeded people's expectations and are even allowing VOIP applications that use WiFi. When the competitive landscape in the cellphone world changes and the carriers just become dumb pipes, Apple will be the first to drop stupid restrictions, since their interests will be completely aligned with users: they make their money on hardware, not software. And why does every discussion like this devolve into AAPL=MSFT? Apple are winning here because they have good products, not because they are kneecapping their competitors to try to maintain a monopoly for mediocre products.
  • by Kelbear ( 870538 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:02AM (#22716524)
    The action is exactly the same.

    However, the conditions are not. Apple doesn't have a monopoly in the phone or smart phone market. Pretty much every phone on the market is closed in some form. The iphone in providing an sdk is considerably more open than it's competition.

    I have never owned an Apple product.

    If the demand for these apps is strong enough and the business model is profitable enough, perhaps a competing phone would like to offer what Apple isn't. (Android? It'd sure be nice, it'd cause me to buy my first phone.)
  • by b96miata ( 620163 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:04AM (#22716554)
    Which phones are you referring to?

    With the exception of Verizon, who does a similar lockdown deal with BREW, most phones have a J2ME VM on them and are quite capable of running just about anything.

    I've got Gmail/Gmaps/Opera mini among others running on my plain old (non-smart) phone. They were all free and the only way my carrier impeded my installing them right over the air was with a single warning screen about installing 3rd party apps.
  • by mlk ( 18543 ) <michael DOT lloy ... DOT org AT gmai> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:04AM (#22716568) Homepage Journal
    My windows mobile device?
    I'm sure any other smart phone could do it as well.
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:07AM (#22716612) Journal
    let me play snake on my microwave that I *OWN*!

    Nobody's stopping you from trying, and that's the point.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:09AM (#22716672) Homepage Journal
    Incidentally, you can load whatever you want on it, through the jailbreak system. If the device is screwed up because of what you did, then the device maker has no obligation to help you.

    You can choose not to buy it. A lot of devices are like that, consoles are a very popular example. If you don't like the limitations of the system, that's fine, don't buy it. The rules don't change just because someone buys it.
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:09AM (#22716678) Homepage Journal

    People seem to forget that Apple don't need to make it easy for people to develop for the iPhone. They don't have to assist at all. At. All.
    It's not just a matter of "making it easy". They have made it legally impossible for you to run Java, alternative browsers, and other applications on a product that you shelled out serious cash for.

    And whilst the Microsoft comparisons will be coming out of the woodwork like hungry mutant termites, it's simply not the same.
    No, it's not. It's worse. This is akin to Microsoft releasing a version of Windows, let's call it Windows Fist-up-your-ass edition, and then saying "Our EULA states you cannot install Firfox, Opera, or Java," while, at the same time, adding rules to the Win32 API that block out these applications.

    If Microsoft did this, you'd be screaming bloody murder.

    Because Apple's doing this, it's okay.

    Sorry, no dice.

    I said this is what would happen. Did anyone listen? No.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:11AM (#22716694)
    You mean like the X Box?

    Windows is open because that is what the market demands. Notice how even signed drivers become an issue for them. The phone market has the Windows Mobile, Palm, etc, platforms if you want open (or semi-open). The iPhone is among the ranks of thousands that is not completely open. If the market demanded open phones, Palm and Windows Mobile would dominate.

    Why do people get so bent out of shape? There are many, many phones on the market. It's hardly a shock that AT&T/Apple would lock out Skype when using the AT&T network! Sort of a business model threat, no? Apple has no monopoly on phones, smart phones, or even good phones. They make one nifty smart phone, and ways exist to run stuff on it outside the official SDK if you really want to.
  • by s.bots ( 1099921 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:11AM (#22716702)
    Your parent wasn't arguing that it wasn't a 'best-selling phone' (Which it isn't, the best selling in North America would be from RIM [roughlydrafted.com])

    What GP was trying to get at was that if Apple wanted the iPhone to be a truly competitive and flexible smart phone, the best way to accomplish that would be to open the interface completely to third party apps with the SDK.
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:13AM (#22716750) Homepage Journal

    how is this different from anyone else's SDK?

    I have never seen an SDK that so blatantly locks users out of common usage like this, have you? Maybe I've managed a decade and a half in this industry without noticing that it's normal practice to use legal force to ensure that an SDK is only used a particular way?

    (That was sarcasm, in case you didn't catch it. The worst I've ever seen is Sun's "do not use this in a nuclear reactor" bit, which wasn't written in a binding fashion. More like a "if you do this and frak it up, it's on your head, not ours.")
  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:13AM (#22716752) Journal
    Apple is not (yet) a monopoly here, so I'm not really sure why they should be legally compelled to do this. Compare to game consoles, where the situation is exactly the same, only often worse -- I'm guessing a real console SDK (and not just some arcade or virtualized crippleware) is going to cost a bit more.

    That's not to say it's alright. But it does seem like something they should be allowed to do, and something which was an obvious move, given that the thing started out locked-down. I really hope no one bought an iPhone based on the coming SDK...
  • Re:troll bait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:14AM (#22716772)
    because on the surface the SDK and new software is awesome. It is when people started reading the legal fine print and found out if you develop apps for the iPhone apple owns your soul and IP.

    Okay a slight stretch there but that is basically the point. I can make firefox for the iPhone but legally I can't install it. It isn't for technical(except for the skype over edge which is just a bad idea) reasons just legal.
  • by UseCase ( 939095 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:17AM (#22716834)
    This is no different than Nintendo/Sony limiting devkit distribution and not allowing some gaming subject matter or play mechanics to get through to the public. Whether its right or wrong isn't the question. The question is whether you as an individual will buy into there model and abide by there rules. Of course they are going to limit certain features, this is a cell phone. Anyway, they are a company generating revenue and have share holders to contend with. Also, i really don't think the lack of java support is that big of a deal. The cocoa/objective-c/xcode trifecta is more than adequate for development here and fits better into A$ way of doing things. If you have learned java and its libraries then learning objective-c (weird looking but cool) and cocoa (a really complete library) should pose no problem at all.
  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:22AM (#22716940) Journal
    > nazi-ish rules for the iPhone SDK

    Just to clarify a subtle point: Apple sets rules on developing apps for their proprietary consumer electronic product, nazis slaughter millions of innocent people in attempted genocide.

    Thought I'd help clear that up in case anyone wasn't clear on the difference.

  • The "No Competing Browsers" I understand as well. You see, on the iPhone, the browser really isn't ordinary, but the keys to the kingdom of usability and utility. Apple wanting to protect that makes sense.

    Actually, that makes no sense. If it's the most important thing to have work well, why wouldn't they welcome competition? If iPhone Firefox ended up being better than iPhone Safari, why wouldn't Apple be happy about this situation? Their customers get better utility out of the device, and Apple doesn't have to lift a finger.

    What is probably the MOST annoying is "No GPLv3": Apple won't distribute GPLv3 code because it means giving aways the signing key for that app (the anti-TiVoization clause), and since all distribution is through apple, GPLv3 is out.

    I guess this can be the first documented case of the GPLv3 actually working, and working well. I'm sorry, but a version of an app which you can't modify without paying $100 for a "developer key" is not free software.

    However, for all the griping, this is actually an AMAZINGLY flexible and unrestricted platform, compared with say game consoles or other PDAs.

    And amazingly locked down, compared with Android.

    And for $100 to get a developer key (which allows you to directly run on your own devices), who cares about the distribution restrictions if you are some l33t haxor type who just HAS to run firefox on his iPhone.

    In what way is this OK?

    If Microsoft wanted to charge you $100 to run Firefox on Windows, you would burn them at the stake. The only thing that makes Apple different is that they aren't a monopoly... yet.

  • Re:troll bait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:30AM (#22717098) Homepage Journal
    Maybe you've been reading mostly responses from fanboys?

    I'm a Mac owner (three Macs in the house), and I've developed Mac software. I'm totally underwhelmed by the iPhone. It's a very pretty UI on top of a phone that lacks functionality that was standard in the 90s. The SDK would allow those defects to be fixed, but Apple is intentionally crippling the phone by limiting what third parties can do. (No XMPP client, for example, which I consider an absolute must-have feature on any phone I buy.)
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:32AM (#22717144)
    > decide that a phone is just an appliance and I can live with Apple's constraints...

    Why the docile obedience? Just because it is Apple?

    You buy it, you do whatever the hell you want with it! Isn't that the mantra here at Slashdot? Except when it is Apple.

    I want to see someone port Iceweasel to the damned thing, post a torrent up on a server somewhere anonymously and watch Apple suffer the PR nightmare of trying to ban it. If we can't outright outlaw stupidity we can certainly make it painful.

    Adn if Sun actually had a pair of dangling between their legs they would port Java and double dog dare Steve to sue. Come on, they stared Microsoft down over their mistreatment of Java, why be scared of Apple when, again, this is a case they can't lose. Because it won't ever make it to a court of law, Apple would get their asses handed to them in the court of public opinion years before the wheels of justice could turn.
  • by hitmark ( 640295 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:36AM (#22717238) Journal
    symbian, "european". iphone, "american"...

    i keep finding myself thinking that the iphone is a creation of the US mobile market.

    in europe on the other hand its just another "smartphone".
  • by Yetihehe ( 971185 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:44AM (#22717412)

    Actually, I'd gladly accept a no-plugin firefox. No more bloated firefox.
    You can just not use plugins. But I would like to use them. So it is crippled.

    They haven't BLOCKED anything
    They legally have. I can not develop firefox with plugin on iphone, or use skype with edge.

    To go from the article (which is entirely positive on Apple), and turn it around to be negative is doing a disservice to the original author.
    But maybe some people don't like what author said? For a fanboi: Hurray, we have sdk!. For normal people: well, this sdk is way below our expectations.
  • by Internet Ronin ( 919897 ) <internet.ronin@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:45AM (#22717418)
    Call me an Apple apologist, but this all pretty much seems like much ado about nothing...

    a.) Skype over GPRS isn't particularly compelling as it is. GPRS has limited bandwidth (particularly for VoIP apps) and latency issues. It transmits TCP/IP just fine, but UDP is better scaled to VoIP's requirements. VoIP, and Skype are allowed over WiFi, which is entirely technologically feasible. And a great idea. I realize there's plenty of cloak-and-dagger arguments about Apple trying to preserve their high-revenue margins on carrier exclusivity agreements, but there's no need to delve into it. GPRS uses time-division multiplexing, which means that timeslots are limited, and a UDP usage of the GPRS timeslots would pretty much screw other people who just wanted to use their phone to make a cellphone call, the very thing they are paying AT&T for. I realize there's a huge nerdgasm at the though of getting an iPhone that only puts limited cash in AT&T's pocket, but let's face it, it's called the iPod Touch. AT&T doesn't just *have* a GSM cellular network, they *PAY* for it, and so do their customers, and giving the power to iPhone users to monopolize the entire network is going to hurt both AT&T's and Apple's bottom-lines.

    b.) ZOMG no Java!! I don't know what to say to this, except that I find it absolutely absurd that people have been clamoring for Apple to open up their APIs, and they essentially did, busted the whole thing wide open, and when Java wasn't built in, now we want an extra API? Java doesn't, and has never, jived with Apple's goals and desires. Java on mobile devices, IMO, is kludgy to use, at best. I've also tended to notice that many Java apps run slow on all mobile platforms. You open a SonyEricsson cellphone, go to launch a game, wait for Java to start up, and then play the game. Using the iPhone native APIs will provide significant access to software writing without having to resort to Java. There have been cries aplenty from the Java people with the OS X debacle, and now the iPhone, but this is Apple's cry that Java is *irrelevant.* Whether you believe it or not, the people in Cupertino think they can do it better, and with the latest slate of software (including Boot Camp, Parallels, and VMWare) I'm hard pressed to argue with them. Someone has yet to give me a compelling reason why Java should be allowed other than the "freedom" argument which should extend to porn and malware as well (which is doesn't).

    c.) Firefox. I could see Firefox wanting to go there, but Apple hasn't made any statement on this one way or the other. If you'd like to assume that Firefox is disallowed on the iPhone, well, I'm curious how you can assume that when there is no Mobile Firefox for any platform. Firefox is a pretty hefty program, especially once you get it laden down with extensions, and there are probably more practical impediments to generating a successful Mobile Firefox before they can even start worrying about what Apple thinks.

    These are all HUGE non-starters, especially when everyone starts hailing the openness of Android, but quite frankly, Skype still isn't going to work (well) on GPRS, Firefox still isn't going to have a mobile device browser (even on Android), and if you actually do the research, Java isn't all that happy about Google's Java implementation on Android.

    Hence, FUD.
  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:47AM (#22717456) Homepage

    It's not a big deal unless Apple really wants all of that software ported over to iPhone very quickly without the developers putting in additional work. And why would they want that?

    Apple wants people to use their SDK so everything is using power efficiently, interacting with the OS properly, and has an interface that fits with OSX and other iPhone apps. They're not going to take a shoddy port of a crappy program written for another cell phone and put that up on their store anyway, so why would they bother making their SDK support it?

  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:47AM (#22717462) Homepage
    The dev. cert is free, and if you're only doing freeware that's the only thing you need.. anyone can sign an app for their own phone.

    $250 if you want the convenience of commercial pre-signed apps. And Nokia don't take 30% of your revenue for the privilege... so it's *still* cheaper than the apple solution.
  • by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:47AM (#22717464) Journal
    They would be leveled against Apple the same way they were leveled against Microsoft. Microsoft uses its legal monopoly in OSes to illegally create a monopoly in browsers. Apple uses its legal monopoly in portable music players and online music sales to extend that dominance into the phone market. And before you argue that iPod dominance and a content distribution network does not give them an advantage in the phone market, allow me to point out that /.'ers have been awarded +5 insightful [slashdot.org] to people for saying exactly that with positive Apple spin. I'm sure /. hypocrisy will see me modded down for point at cracks in Apple's armor though.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:49AM (#22717472) Journal
    This sounds rather like the petulant arguments you get from Redmond apologists when they're cornered.

    I wouldn't buy an iPhone now if I was paid to. Fuck Apple.
  • by godawful ( 84526 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:19PM (#22718036)
    I'm not sure where in the history of apple would lead people to believe something would be different this time. Apple has "their way" of doing products, mac os x only on apple computers (despite it working out other hardware), just to give an example. They've never been about "completely open", and this is going to put off a portion of potential customers (the actual number is arguable), but the vast majority won't care, in fact, the vast majority might not even mind, or actually _like_ apple's tight control over things.

    As an iPhone owner myself, I was really excited to see what was possible with the apps people were writing for jailbroken phones, and it was really cool.. some were quite buggy, but there was definitely potential, even in this unsanctioned way. Now there will be an official SDK and even better apps i am really excited. Now sure, these apps may already exist for winmobile or rim or palm even, but that is taking out the very most important factor, the interface and interaction with an iphone. some folks may not like it, or want one, but I've found it to be incredibly useful with myself using for more features on it then i did on any previous phone.
  • by mr_matticus ( 928346 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:24PM (#22718076)
    Actually, according to your own link, the iPhone *is* the best-selling phone in North America.

    There's more than one Blackberry (four, last time I checked). There's only one iPhone.

    You also seem to be mistaking "truly competitive and flexible" for what you would like companies to compete for. My bet is that the iPhone SDK will do just fine. The posturing here is completely fabricated. Mobile browsers using desktop plugins? Doubtful. Plugins of any kind aren't that common for mobile browsers. VOIP over EDGE? Worthless. Apps that run in the background, ignoring calls to quit by the OS memory manager? There's a stability problem just waiting to happen.

    It's not that you can't multitask, it's that they want to encourage coding practices that don't rely on background services, and applications that save state when they're not active so that the user doesn't lose any data, and that returning to the app is as seamless as possible. With the exception of things like IM and file downloads, you don't need background processes sitting in RAM. Mobile applications should launch quickly and go away when they're told. Windows Mobile developers should take a clue on that, as a user.
  • Re:troll bait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timster ( 32400 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:32PM (#22718216)
    Your comment is a great example of the disconnect between some Slashdotters and real users about the iPhone. Your example must-have feature is an obscure technology that a small minority of people would ever use. You toss the iPhone a "very pretty UI" line, but how many of your "phones designed by checklist" have a 320x480 screen and a big enough battery to power it for hours? The N95, while much-praised by irrational Apple-haters*, is only 240x320. Doesn't everything we know about computing tell us that large, quality displays are critical for real-world end-user productivity? And you'd toss all that away with "very pretty but doesn't have XMPP/MMS/PEBKAC protocols that I, for one, use daily"? Why was Nokia wasting time on MMS so people could send each other pictures of themselves when they should have been figuring out how to put a decent screen on a device and have it still fit in your pocket?

    Now here we are, months away from the release of apps, and already people are already turning their guesses about how Apple will interpret the SDK ToS into news. But all we really have are guesses. Your assertion that Apple will block development of an XMPP client is completely unfounded; this speculation is based on a paragraph in the Human Interface Guidelines (of all things) that is really talking about making the application quitting/restarting transparent to the user. Apple allowed AOL to demo an AIM client, so the conspiracy theories about AT&T wanting more SMS revenue turned out to be completely unfounded; there will be IM on the iPhone as soon as developers release clients. Even the notion that Apple will "block Firefox" is based on the fact that Firefox includes a plugin architecture (which could be disabled) and a JavaScript interpreter (which may or may not be included in Apple's definition of an "interpreted language").

    * - normally it wouldn't be polite to imply that someone is irrational simply because they like or don't like a certain product, but it's become part of the way we discuss Apple stories on Slashdot, apparently.
  • by Poltras ( 680608 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:38PM (#22718322) Homepage
    Last I checked, you didn't have to agree to the SDK license to get your app on other cell phones (that was a Q&A, before you ask). You can still code your own software and distribute it outside of the iTunes store. The contract is binding to the iTunes App Store. Enough with FUD. It is their distribution model. Comply or work something else.
  • by blueZ3 ( 744446 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:47PM (#22718464) Homepage
    But not the one you're thinking of. It's a secret formula for Apple to remain profitable.

    Apple's restrictions on hardware significantly reduce the amount of development they do and the amount of support Apple has to provide. OSX doesn't have to have drivers for every crappy, made-in-China knockoff MoBo. They never have to take support calls where someone says "Hey, I tried installing OSX on this 286 DX-2 66 machine, and it runs like crap!" When you're Microsoft, you can afford to blow off consumers, since they pretty much don't understand what their options are and have become used to having an OS maker who says "FU!" if you have a WGA problem.

    It also ups Apple's profitability, since a lot of people (including yours truly) finally get tired of screwing around trying to get Windows to cooperate and decide to buy something that "just works" even if it costs a little more. I used to build my own boxes back in the day--but eventually I grew up, moved out of the basement (figuratively) and got a life. I want to take my wife to dinner and a movie and have a tea party with my daughter, not spend three hours diagnosing some obscure video card driver issue. I use Linux at work (and love it) but I'm not up for doing Linux support (for my wife and myself) at home.

    Apple's thing may not be for you, but it seems to be working out for them.
  • Re:troll bait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fangorious ( 1024903 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:48PM (#22718468)
    "I can make firefox for the iPhone but legally I can't install it"

    legally you can install it because you own the device. Apple just isn't providing you the means to distribute it via the SDK and App Store, and they aren't required to.

  • by MrMacman2u ( 831102 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:05PM (#22718742) Journal
    Is everyone on this forsaken dirt ball retarded?

    Even my best friend (a hardcore Linux user) is so upset about these "restrictions" that he's practically craping broken glass about the whole SDK!

    What the HELL is WRONG with you people?!!?

    I challenge ANY ONE OF YOU to explain, in clear and reasonable terms, WHY Apple imposing some restriction on the type and scope of applications that can be developed for the iPhone is a bad thing?!

    I mean HONESTLY, do you people WANT the same virus/spy/mal/adware ORGY that is the disaster we jokingly call Windows?!!!!???

    If Apple DIDN'T impose SOME restrictions such as limiting interpreters which can be used in malicious ways and are impossible to control, providing quality control to filter out the mountains of buggy crash inducing CRAP that people will spew out, etc.... and then that is EXACTLY what all the money grubbing scum suckers will DO. They WOULD make viruses, they WOULD crash you iPhone so much you're swear it was NASCAR on Ice, they WOULD find a way to hijack your phone and they WOULD make your life with an iPhone a living HELL...

    Surprise people, the iPhone is NOT a hacker platform! It's a CONSUMER platform and consumers want their devices to work. Every. Single. Time. No exceptions!

    I, personally, think it's a bloody BRILLIANT idea and a wonderful way to not only distribute apps but also provide marketing and availability that so many great apps never get and remain in obscurity as well as ensure that consumers get quality programs that don't bork their new $400-$500 toy!

    Hell, a GREAT analogy is to the console video game industry! In fact Apple's model is practically a photocopy of how Nintendo handles things except the Big N doesn't allow any Lee, Dick and Harry to program for the Wii!

    Yet no one is getting their butt hairs in a knot about Sony or Nintendo or Microsofts gaming division about how THEY handle their software!

    As for the little niggly stuff such as:

    "The SDK only runs on a Mac!" - Yes, that sucks and i don't like it any more than you do, but tough noogies. It's APPLE'S development platform, they didn't even have to MAKE it. in fact they said they WERE NOT GOING TO when the iPhone was launched.... So in my mind, we ALREADY got a bonus because it EXISTS. So, Mac only? Yeah that sucks.

    "They're restricting what us 'hackerz' can publish!" - To damn bad for you. Not only are you 1% of (exceptionally whiny) iPhone users BUT, (gasp!) the iPhone is not an open platform!!!

    Even with the new SDk, it is STILL not an open playground for you to do what you want, just like the Wii or the Xbox 360 or the PS3. Apple has placed REASONABLE restrictions on what you can do, JUST LIKE WITH THE WII, THE PS3 AND THE XBOX 360! Deal with it.

    Personally, the only thing I am wondering is if you can compile and install (via "debug" mode, etc...) your own personal application creations on your own iPhone... not to distribute, but for PERSONAL SINGLE USE on YOUR phone.... that would definitely placate the "I'll do whatever the hell I want with MY hardware" people...

    Either way, as I wrap up here, If you don't like the rules Apple has set on the playground then LEAVE. The door is right there, it's open and unlocked. Go buy a Blackberry or a Palm or a Windows mobile device and develop for them. I'm not stopping you, neither is Apple.

    I HONESTLY don't mind someone (Apple) keeping a casual and comparatively lax eye on the "children" when they are turned out to play. There is no law that says you should have the right to throw sand in everyone's face just because they want to use a copy of the toy you made. not every program is going to be made to better the iPhone people, there are a LOT of scum suckers out there.

    Apple has done a good thing to let everyone play nice and yet still have some degree of freedom, or would you prefer have millions of developers writing applications to PWN your iPhone and turn it into a battleground of slow, crashing and malware threats...
  • by alan_dershowitz ( 586542 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:06PM (#22718748)
    Apple DOESN'T have to support Java on the iPhone. Sun didn't ask for Apple to maintain a Java Cocoa bridge on the iPhone, they wanted to port Java and maintain it. But they had to back off because of Apple's restrictive licensing. So with regards to developer preference, had Java been ported that would have been Sun's problem so why would Apple even care? I'm also a full time Java developer and I have an Intel Mac, and I don't give two shits about Objective-C, I just think it would be cool to take my Java cellphone app and run it on the iPhone.
  • That's insightful? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:12PM (#22718868)
    There's no SDK for a microwave, not even a limited one.

    No one's stopping people from running whatever the hell they want on their iPhone either. Apple has not sued, attacked, harassed, or taken any legal action whatsoever against the jailbreak folks. Even the "bricking" software updates were announced ahead of time and could be refused by the owner. They haven't helped them--true. But neither has my microwave manufacturer.

    If you don't want the restrictions, don't use the official SDK. You will face no legal action whatsoever for doing whatever you want to the phone you own. But Apple is not legally obligated to help you do anything to the phone you own either. There is absolutely no legal duty for a company to make any electronics device a software platform. If you want to hack your phone, go right ahead, you have every right, but don't expect a helping hand. Can't have it both ways.
  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:18PM (#22718950)
    ...and Apple doesn't care one little bit about you because 99.99% of their market is people who are completely happy with iTunes and iPhone like they are.

    Something slashdotters need to get a grip on is you are a tiny, extremely hard to please, demographic. Most companies recognize it will cost them a lot in one form or another to satisfy you, and the revenue they get off you wont make up for it. The only impact you have in this particular arena is Apple apparently wants geeks to develop apps for their phone. But there are probably going to be about a million geeks doing that even with the restrictions in their terms of service.

    I like Linux and the myriad options it gives personally, but Apple wants to maintain a coherent and stable software ecosystem for their phone. They really don't need to have 5 different browsers, and a bazillion apps designed for geeks instead of polished standards conforming apps that fit in to their phone experience. The iPhone works pretty well the way it is now, if they can grow their software ecosystem some they will be happy. I'm pretty sure they don't want to turn it in to a confusing train wreck, kind of like the Linux desktop with 10 different window managers, a half dozen GUI toolkits, 20 different browsers, some awesome apps and a lot of brain dead broken ones, none of which adhere to the same set of UI guidelines.
  • Re:troll bait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Achromatic1978 ( 916097 ) <robert@chREDHATromablue.net minus distro> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:21PM (#22718978)
    Re the Nokia N-series. Nokia had "figured out how to put a decent screen on a device" way back in 2005 - The N90 [wikipedia.org] had two screens, an exterior 128x128 and an interior main screen of 352x416 resolution. That would seem to imply the lower resolution screen of the N95 was a deliberate choice. It's DPI that matters, really, more so than absolute pixel count.

    It's a little amusing that you throw out "wasting time on MMS" when I would view MMS as one of the least important apps on my N95 (and yes, I've used an iPhone, too). If you've not seen the latest [nokia.com] version of Nokia Maps [nokia.com] on an N95, you would be impressed. I agree with your assertion that XMPP is on the "must have" list of a fraction of a percent of users. But to suggest that there's something "irrational" about not being all gooey inside about the iPhone when my phone is smaller, is 3.5G, has a 5MP camera, has 8GB of internal storage, Bluetooth 2, Exchange Push email, GPS, etc. But I'll stop there, lest I be branded as an irrational Apple hater.

  • by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:27PM (#22719080)

    There's a difference between not providing support and using legal means to restrict the usage. Apple isn't just not supporting the SDK (which would be fine), they're saying that you LEGALLY cannot do this with your phone and the SDK.
    That is a meaningless distinction--any restriction must ultimately come down to a legal basis. I think the distinction you're looking for is the difference between legally limiting their SDK, and legally preventing you from doing any hacking on your phone whatsoever.

    What Apple is not doing, and have never done, is to legally go after people who hack the phone without using the official SDK. They have never even so much as sent a threatening letter to the jailbreak folks.

    There is no legal duty whatsoever to provide an SDK for an electronics device. Your legal rights to do whatever you want to your phone do not extend to forcing Apple to provide an official SDK to allow it. The law cuts both ways--you have the right to do what you want to your property, but you also have the sole responsibility for doing it.
  • Speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler ( 896305 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:34PM (#22719144)
    If Apple starts suing people who hack their own iPhone, I'll be at the front of the line complaining. I doubt they will though, because that is very shaky legal ground. Your property rights have nothing to do with Apple being "anticompetitive." They are based on common law principles that go back hundreds of years. But as I noted, those rights do not extend to forcing Apple to provide the SDK you want.
  • by ContractualObligatio ( 850987 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:48PM (#22719354)
    Two logical errors there:

    Microsoft's illegal abuse of its monopoly position is not from simply having a mere "advantage" in the browser market. A browser requires an OS - whoever controls the OS has strong control over the browser. The OS is itself the distribution mechanism for the new browser. Conversely, iPod owners do not suddenly find themselves in possession of a free iPhone. These are quite obviously completely different situations.

    Secondly, for a post to get +5 Insightful only requires a few moderators to mark it up. It does not mean the post is agreed to by the majority, or even makes a valid point. There's many a groupthink post that gets a +5 rating. It's actually kind of pathetic you think a point shouldn't be argued simply because of a +5 rating in another thread.

    "I'm sure /. hypocrisy will see me modded down for point at cracks in Apple's armor though."
      - The passive aggressive schtick is kind of lame, as well.
  • by R3d Jack ( 1107235 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:54PM (#22719460)
    Whether I agree with it or not, Apple's direction is to completely control their offerings. From what I see, they do this to maintain the best possible user experience they can deliver. If they allow their users, who tend to be non-technical, to download anything from anywhere, then they (feel that they) become responsible for any degradation in the user experience. Whether or not that is reasonable is a matter of opinion. Whether or not they have the right to do that is not.

    As far as Java goes, I'm yet another Java developer. I love Java apps. They need no installer; they bypass the corporate security monitor on my workstation. They would also bypass any controls Apple uses to protect the user experience on the iPhone.

    I don't own an iPhone, and I probably never will. It's not as if I don't have options.
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @02:07PM (#22719760)
    Don't like it? Don't buy an iPhone. It's that easy. Nobody is forcing you to get one. There are plenty of other phones and tiny computers on the market, running everything from Windows CE to Palm OS to Linux. It's not the same as the former M$ monopoly of years past. That monopoly existed because there was no other product on the market to fill that need, and M$ leveraged that control to push their other products. In Apple's case, there are plenty of other products on the market, and this one comes with agreements that Apple made with AT&T. If you like it, buy it. If you don't, don't.
  • Microsoft makes mobile development pretty damn easy. Though to use Visual studio you have to pony up for Professional (which many people got free at the last install fest). you can still do it the manual way by downloading the WM SDK's, the emulators and the .NET CF SDKs. Most of the development could be done in something like SharpDevelop. Just because it's .NET doesn't mean it's stuck to windows mobile either. Mono has been known to run on some symbian phones and openmoko. Probably no luck on Android since Google has that tightly packed with Java
  • by lnxpilot ( 453564 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @02:39PM (#22720282)
    Not to defend Apple, but the situation is quite different for the iPhone than for Microsoft:
    - Apple makes a complete, integrated product: hardware + software.
    - They have an image of "style" and "high quality" to maintain.
    - They are worried about "diluting" that image with potentially crappy 3rd party apps.
    - With Apple, people expect a self-contained product that "just works", so the tech support calls would end up going to Apple.
    - This is even more critical with a cell phone than a home PC. It can't crash when you need to make a 911 call!

    On the other hand:
    - Microsoft makes only the software and for cheap, commodity hardware. They don't make the whole product.
    - Many things come to mind for people when the name Microsoft is mentioned, but style and high quality are not among them.
    - 3rd party software vendors for Microsoft platforms are responsible for their own tech support.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @02:56PM (#22720598)
    Actually, the version of Nokia's S60 development tool, Carbide++, which is comparable with the iPhone SDK feature-wise, costs somewhere around $1300. Then, if you actually want to distribute your software at a price (they have some sort of separate signing process for freeware) you'll have to pony up with $200 for a publisher ID, and an additional $20 for signing your app (sold in bundles of 10, ie. you can signing your app 10 times for $200). Then, if your software is randomly selected for quality control, and fails one of Symbian's quality requirements, your next 3 (IIRC) signings will have to pass through a testing process costing somewhere in the thousands. Alternatively you can distribute your application as "self-signed", in which case you're severely limited in which of the phone's features you're allowed to use, and the user receives a warning about "untrusted" software upon installation. Some phones (Nokia's E-series at least) don't by default allow you to install self-signed software at all (this can be overridden by some obscure switch in the phone's settings, though).

    Not to mention that Apple's Cocoa seems a lot nicer than the obscure nonstandard C++-stuff you get with Symbian..
  • by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @03:20PM (#22720862)

    Apple uses its legal monopoly in portable music players and online music sales to extend that dominance into the phone market.

    If and when

    1. Apple engages in anti-competitive practices to force all portable music players to come bundled with iTunes software, forcing lots of existing music players and online music services into oblivion
    2. Apple gimmicks iPods so that they will only play music from iTunes (or so they need to be re-booted between playing iTunes and regular MP3s)
    3. The music industry finally throws in the towel on DRM - which is the main reason iTunes tunes won't play on non-Apple players, and why many of the competitors to iTunes won't play on iPods...

    then, maybe you can start to compare Apple's role in the music player market with Microsoft's role in the operating systems market.

    Meanwhile, I'll keep using my iPod Nano to play MP3s made from my own CDs (and, slowly, MP3s bought online as decent services such as Play.com start offering unencumbered legal downloads for sensible prices) with absolutely no compulsion to buy from iTunes and absolutely no compulsion to buy another iPod unless I happen to prefer Apple's design.

    What's more - I can buy a Symbian/Windows Mobile/Brand X phone and it still accepts incoming calls and texts from an iPhone! - so I can choose not to buy an iPhone too!

    So, please explain again how the Apple "monopoly" (which doesn't force anybody to buy an iPod and/or buy from iTunes unless they like the product) remotely resembles the MS operating system monopoly (which means that many Mac and Linux users are pretty much obliged to dual-boot or run emulation software - usually requiring us to buy a copy of windows & MS Office - in order to interoperate with the masses)?

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @03:40PM (#22721132) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, MS owns the computing world, so from that perspective, Apple failed.

    But if you look at what they rule, and how, you get a different perspective. It's not like windos is the #1 OS because it's so great, we all know that. The state of software is horrible, quality non-existent, interoperability weak - even on the same OS.

    What kind of "victory" is that? Yeah, it made Billy the richest man alive. It also made him one of the guys who can't wash his name clean even with billions of bucks poured into charity. He's also a criminal, in all senses but the pure legal one which for some reasons allows you to do illegal things legally as long as you don't do them as a private citizen but as the CEO of a large enough company. He also makes some of the worst powerpoint presentations I've ever seen. :-)

    Market share is cool, but quite honestly, I'd rather have a 10% share in any given market and be able to look at myself in the mirror each morning, than having the other 90% and know I'm a scumbag. And I'd rather buy a computer from the honest guy with the 10% share than from the scumbag. Which, incidently, means all the scumbag-lovers are somewhere else, which only makes my choice even more attractive.

    So, all you windos lovers: Please stay in your corner, we simply don't want you over here. Write your buggy software for your crashing piece of shit, hail Bill and make sure to buy the xbox720. Meanwhile, we guys over here will simply work on our Macs and use our iPhones and occasionaly wonder what the noise is all about.

    Because, you know, I didn't buy an iPhone because every idiot can write shitty software for it, I bought it because I liked what was in the package. And aside from the few dozen guys who bought it to prove the world they can hack it open, everyone else had pretty much the same reason. So the whole whining, crying and complaining over what exactly is or is not possible with the SDK - it's simply pointless. The people who care largely aren't the people who did or will buy an iPhone anyways.
  • Re:troll bait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eclectic4 ( 665330 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @03:47PM (#22721194)
    What no one is understanding... if the iPhone was ubiquitous, which it is not and isn't supposed to be, then there may be an issue. If you went to the store and only had iPhones to choose from for your cellular needs, then again, this might be a problem (like say, purchasing a computer for example).

    But that's not what the iPhone is.

    From Apple: "Firefox? Why? Safari is installed and working fine. Why fuck that up? Skype? This is a CELL PHONE. Why in the world would we allow Skype on the thing? You guys do realize that 95% of the cell phone/iPhone purchasers have no idea what you are talking about, and never will, right? Therefore, if you do not want an iPhone, then don't buy one. We sold 1 million of these in 74 days, and this just makes it better. We're sorry if the geeks are pissed, we don't care. Hack something else. One of the biggest reasons people buy our stuff is because we control what goes on it for the most pat. This keeps support costs, frustration and time lost to a minimum for most of our customers. Want something that you can install whatever you want on it, giving it more points of failure, be my guest."
  • Nice FUD, but: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by StarKruzr ( 74642 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:04PM (#22723130) Journal
    Apps that run in the background, ignoring calls to quit by the OS memory manager? There's a stability problem just waiting to happen.

    My iPhone has been running several applications in the background -- the RSS updater, MobileScrobbler, sshd, an ftp server, afpd, Samba -- for quite a while with absolutely no stability problems whatsoever. Plenty of others' have as well. Stop buying the Apple company line on everything.
  • Re:here's one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheoMurpse ( 729043 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @07:05PM (#22723142) Homepage
    uTorrent? You mean the closed source program now owned [wikipedia.org] by Bittorrent, Inc., the company that has partnerships [wikipedia.org] with Fox, MTV, Paramount, WB, and Comedy Central?

    Sure, you keep trusting that code to not be reporting what you're downloading to anyone in Big Media.
  • Re:Speculation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arminw ( 717974 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @09:35PM (#22724230)
    .....What would you say about a computer manufacturer that voided the warranty if you install Linux?....

    I'd say they'd be well within their rights to do that and you would be well within your rights not buy from them.

    You don't have to buy a given product. Vote with your wallet.
  • Re:here's one (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @09:52PM (#22724328)
    I'm not downloading anything illegal.
  • Re:here's one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheoMurpse ( 729043 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @10:11PM (#22724410) Homepage
    So you subscribe to the belief that if you've got nothing to hide, who cares? I've got nothing to hide, either, but I'm still aware of moneyed interests spying on what I'm actually doing.

    Beyond that, there are plenty of fair use things you could be downloading that could still get you sued. Whether you won or lost, the fight itself could ruin you financially.
  • Good Gravy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by His Shadow ( 689816 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:44PM (#22724960) Homepage Journal
    Can anymore hyperbole be stuffed into these pathetic excuses for journalism? "face government regulators"? Are you high? IT'S APPLE'S PHONE! It's THEIR OS! Like it or lump it. And don't even bother with bullshit about "monopolies". When the iPhone is 95% of the mobile phone market, we'll get back to you.
  • by trawg ( 308495 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @12:52AM (#22725304) Homepage
    Well, from my perspective - I have no idea how to put applications on my new (~6 months) symbian phone. When I got it I plugged it into my PC via the included USB cable (first time I've ever plugged a phone into my PC), and dicked around with the apps, but quickly got bored of all the different and complicated things.

    However with an iPhone I know that when the new update is released, I'll just be able to do everything through iTunes.

    I realise this isn't what you mean by 'more open', but to most users it WILL be more open, because everything is going to be heaps more accessible than any other platform - it'll have a unified, simple access system to expanding and improving your phone.

    Regular users won't give a shit that you can't do any of the stuff in this thread (run java, voip, develop on windows, etc) - they'll just be amazed they can download a solitaire game for free, or a new calendar application for $5, or something.
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2008 @08:40AM (#22726954) Homepage Journal
    Speaking as someone who knows all three worlds, I'll take "some clever industrial design" over the buggy hell that is windos or the ramshackle self-help set that is Linux any day. Really sorry to say that, just a few years ago I was as convinced a Linux fellow as they come.

    And hey, it's not as if MS could write an OS that supports all those third party hardware. Remember that the drivers ususally come from the manufacturers, and guess what MS blames all the crashes on? Answer c), 3rd party drivers, wins.

    XP's still a crashing piece of shit. Better than the predecessors, which were utter and total crappy pieces of crashing shit.

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