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Steve Jobs Announces iPhone SDK

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the independent-thought-coming-soon-to-a-phone-near-you dept.

Handhelds 467

An anonymous reader writes "It finally happened. Steve Jobs announced an iPhone SDK today. The plan is to release it in February, and the suggestion is that apps will need to be digitally signed (not unlike digital signing in Leopard). Here's hoping that developing for the iPhone/Touch will be cheap (or free) enough to allow the folks who have been writing apps to continue doing so. Says Jobs: 'It will take until February to release an SDK because we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once--provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task.'"

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Finally! (0, Redundant)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012461)

Can anyone say "long overdue?"

Re:Finally! (2, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012479)

Can anyone say "long overdue?"
You just did.

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

imamac (1083405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012487)

Better to be done right the first time a little late than cause serious security issues. Better press this way...

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21012489)

you just did

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012599)

I think you should spell "surrender" instead.

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012741)

Wrong.

I love all the people who are now going to say that Apple is only doing an SDK because the brave, innovative hackers who just want us all to be able to free our hardware have forced their hand.

Kind of like the only reason they have a battery replacement program for iPods was because of the Neistat Brothers' video, right?

Except that it would be wrong, on both counts.

For a device like the iPhone, Apple probably had SOME kind of SDK/third party development planned all along. But the iPhone's OS is still a wildly moving target, and it's not appropriate to have an SDK before things have calmed down with the OS APIs, frameworks, etc.

But if you want to believe that a statistically insignificant (yes, really - most people don't care, much less even know, about this) group of hobbyists and hackers have "forced" Apple to scramble to release an SDK, go right ahead.

Re:Finally! (5, Interesting)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013199)

Yes yes, Hallowed are thy Mac fanboys. I know my post is flamebait, but why did Jobs say there will be only [arstechnica.com] web based [gizmodo.com.au] sdk? And now after hackers hacked iphone, he says there will be one?

Re:Finally! (3, Insightful)

semiotec (948062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013297)

But if you want to believe that a statistically insignificant (yes, really - most people don't care, much less even know, about this) group of hobbyists and hackers have "forced" Apple to scramble to release an SDK, go right ahead.

Wrong.

I love all the people who think Apple (particularly Jobs) is some sort of prophetic visionary. They react to the market as much as any other profit-seeking companies.

Geek cred is a small but significant factor in tech gadgets and Apple knows this, given that one of the primary reasons for Apple's rising popularity is due to OS X, and one of the reason for OS X's rising popularity is the *nix code base.

That particular video may not have been the sole factor for the Apple's battery replacement program, but it was certainly part of the increasing public awareness of the defects in the Apple devices. However, (and I say this in deep admirations) Apple nevertheless found a way to extract even more money out of its blindly loyal customers while at the same time somewhat-sorta-maybe addressing the criticisms.

And your "moving target" theory is just BS. 1) OS X as a platform has been around for long enough, and Apple took pride in announcing that their phone and new iPod runs on the same platform, and being the first non-smart phone to require some 800mb of OS codes. 2) it didn't take lots of arm-twisting for Symbian, Nokia and (dare I say) Microsoft and other companies to release SDKs for their mobile platforms. While they may have varying validation protocols and so on, they didn't parade some random wild BS theory about their OS being "uncertain". Even Jobs wasn't saying this in his bit. If the API's have been settled, they wouldn't and shouldn't have released the product.

As usual, they were just testing the market to see if they can make even more money out of 3rd parties and customers, which is after all, the goal of every profitable company.

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

Bigbluejerk (535787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013417)

Wrong again. If geek cred is so important, Apple would've made Apple TV a much better product, with DivX/Xvid support out of the box. But they haven't and they won't. Geek cred means very little to Apple. Gamers are a much, much larger market than geeks and Apple has never made the Mac a game-friendly or game developer-friendly platform. They don't give a crap about geeks or gamers.

Re:Finally! (1)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012779)

That would be if the announcement came from Corporation Du Pomme.

Re:Finally! (1)

ickoonite (639305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013109)

That would be if the announcement came from Corporation Du Pomme.

Actually, it would be known as Pomme S.A., which is how corporations are styled in civil law countries [wikipedia.org] .

iqu :P

Re:Finally! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012943)

And what percentage of the consumers don't buy an iPhone because they knew third parties had a harder time developing applications for it?

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

Nexum (516661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012787)

I really cannot understand the whining of people who have been so vocal about this SDK, and now that all this gnashing of teeth has forced Apple to pre-announce, people like you come along claiming this is 'long overdue'.

The fact that Apple is a ~15k person company with a massive variety of products means that there must be focus. In part this slim headcount and focus is what allows Apple to produce really great products. (For comparison - Apple is now roughly worth the same, by market cap., as IBM, which employs around 300,000 people worldwide).

Think for a moment what a considerable development the iPhone is. Particularly the software, there is an ungodly amount of work and rework that has gone into producing the final product that you can pick up at the mall. The last thing that Apple was thinking about during the development phase was a clean documented publically available and stable API. No, you can bet that the iPhone API twisted and turned through the development cycle, massive rewritings, refactorings, and changes over a number of years. For Apple to release an SDK and API they have to be clean, stable, unlikely to change and break existing code - all of the things that during the development phase the internal API was not.

When releasing an SDK and an API, massive resources must be put into considering flexibility and change 2, 5, 10 years down the line. These things take time. Apple decided, rightly, to release a finished device this Summer. All the whining in the world (and I believe we got close to that) could not push Apple's internal API into a publicly usable stable state at that time. I think, considering that this is a brand new phone platform (not something like Symbian etc. which has been around a long time), waiting 9 months for an SDK is nothing, in fact, I'm amazed they've done it in less than a year. Mark though - Apple would have been mad never to have provided one, and personally I expected this announcement for WWDC'08, but I have found it astoundingly ridiculous how people have cried and whined about the lack of an SDK without thinking for a single minute. For crying out loud, it's been only three months. The only thing 'long overdue' will, hopefully, be the shutting of the mouths of all the incessant whining.

Re:Finally! (4, Interesting)

BMonger (68213) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013131)

I recall Apple saying that they had pulled developers off Leopard to put onto the iPhone before it was launched which pushed Leopard back. Of course that would be an excuse but if it was indeed true those developers were probably put back onto Leopard shortly around the time of the iPhone launch. Now that Leopard is being released next week it may have freed up those developers to work on the SDK.

Re:Finally! (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013169)

Mark though - Apple would have been mad never to have provided one, and personally I expected this announcement for WWDC'08, but I have found it astoundingly ridiculous how people have cried and whined about the lack of an SDK without thinking for a single minute. For crying out loud, it's been only three months. The only thing 'long overdue' will, hopefully, be the shutting of the mouths of all the incessant whining.

Steve could have announced the SDK for February 2008 from the very beginning and you'd not see the bitter remarks you rant about.

The strategy Jobs uses for announcing products only when 100% done has its benefits with consumers, but developers hate when you cut them off and don't give them a clear roadmap for what to expect ahead.

Learn from this, don't just add another rant to the thousands.

Re:Finally! (1)

Basehart (633304) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013179)

I think the message I found in a fortune cookie only yesterday says it all in regard to waiting for SDK's (and other things):

Patience is your alley. Don't Worry!

Deep.

Never announced (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013373)

YMMV, but from what I've read, the whining wasn't that there was a long wait for the SDK, but that there was a long wait for an announcement that there would even be an SDK. Most products I've seen planned and announced to have an SDK before the initial product release, and then put out the SDK after. But then again, that's just what I've seen.

Don't Advertise Ignorance (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21013401)

"The last thing that Apple was thinking about during the development phase was a clean documented publically available and stable API."

First of all, you're making that up.

But second of all, even if you are right, then Apple would have to be the dumbest development company ever. Here's a company that has a 30 year history of making products that have API's (yes, even the Apple ][ had API's of a sort), but on their latest computer, the one they saw had a huge strategic impact, they never gave it a thought?

Seriously, what you're suggesting is so ridiculous, that I'm guessing you're trolling or astroturfing.

My guess is there never was going to be a publicly available API, but Apple finally realized if they didn't make it available, they'd be overwhelmed by people who actually want to use what they bought in the way the want to.

Re:Finally! (2, Interesting)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013463)

Well I can agree that Apple was probably short-staffed during the development of iPhone, they could have at least announced their intention to release an SDK at a later point post-launch (oh, like, I dunno, the rest of the SDK-providing mobile companies... few devices come out with an SDK ready to go, it's usually provided in a more complete form later).

No, I don't think Apple ever intended to release the SDK - but I think they're starting to realize that to compete with other smartphones (and to quiet the deluge of bad press) they really need 3rd party developers on the bandwagon, and they're starting to create docs and polish up the API.

Sadly, I'm not sure if this will be available to us "laymen" developers. I suspect Apple will restrict this to ADC members only, with even less creative BS than they've fed us so far.

Re:Finally! (3, Informative)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012957)

Well, as an iPhone owner (and, apparently, a Certified Fanboi(tm)), it's plainly obvious that the software wasn't finished in June and is still not finished. While the core features work well for the most part, any iPhone owner can name a dozen obvious omissions off the top of their head. MMS, copy/paste, SMS to multiple recipients, Safari stability, etc, etc. Not to mention an RPN mode for the Calculator ;)

I'm personally happy to have the device now, as it's extremely useful in a variety of ways (hence the fanboi status). But an SDK is only one of many things that are a tad overdue.

Waiting for... (1)

TofuMatt (1105351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012499)

Digitally signed: Totally Legit Inc.
Install this app now, and make sure your contact list is filled with other iPhone users.

Re:Waiting for... (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012659)

Not likely. More likely your certificate will have to be signed by Apple which may in revoke it at any time. I would not be surprised if part of the delay is an integrating OSCP or some other form of pervasive certificate management into whatever goes for an app installer as well as preparing an OS update with this functionality. CRL checking at install is not something present in current OSX so they will have to add it to be ready to ship.

Re:Waiting for... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013261)

In other news, managers of the storm botnet reportedly just put over a million more nodes up for sale.

February is kind of a long time, isn't it? (5, Insightful)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012517)

It makes me suspect that Steve was caught a bit flat-footed, if it'll take until then. If this was the usual Apple release, it would be a total surprise and be available Friday or something.

Of course, it could also be that it's taken them this long for events to prove to AT&T that resistance was ultimately futile and counterproductive. Hard to say, with that crowd.

Re:February is kind of a long time, isn't it? (4, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012593)

Apple often announces things that matter to developers long in advance. Most of the developer-relevant features of Leopard were announced two years ago, for example.

I do wonder how much of the resistance was AT&T, how much was Apple and how much was legitimate worrying about how to do things right.

I hope the signing requirement will be a verifiable registration of your key with Apple and not a large fee of some sort. I've got a lot of third party apps on my iTouch that are excellent quality and free. Apple would be depriving themselves of most of that developer community by limiting things to large companies.

Hear hear! (3, Insightful)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012697)

I hope the signing requirement will be a verifiable registration of your key with Apple and not a large fee of some sort. I've got a lot of third party apps on my iTouch that are excellent quality and free. Apple would be depriving themselves of most of that developer community by limiting things to large companies.


Isn't that the truth! It would be even better if Apple provided a glide-path to current developers to becoming "legit" so that they're encouraged to engage rather than fight. Apple really has no reason to be a jerk about it except spite. Unfortunately, Steve has proven that he's occasionally prone to that.

Re:Hear hear! (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012965)

Apple is already providing for all apps to be signed in Leopard, which would indicate that they're setting up a way for small (freeware) third party developers to sign their apps. Apple wouldn't dare mess with the independent development community for OS X. If the iPhone uses the same system it would be awfully nasty to suddenly require large payments when they've already got the system set up without.

Re:Hear hear! (2, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013187)

Apple really has no reason to be a jerk about it except spite. Unfortunately, Steve has proven that he's occasionally prone to that.


+1, Understated!

Re:February is kind of a long time, isn't it? (1, Insightful)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013009)

> I hope the signing requirement will be a verifiable registration of your key with Apple
> and not a large fee of some sort.

Sadly, it will almost certainly be worse -- it'll probably require payment of a large fee to AT&T, AND require approval of your specific app by AT&T itself. So you can forget freeware, anything remotely controversial, or that doesn't mesh with their Grand ARPU-increasing strategy of the week. (ARPU = Average Revenue Per User)

It's sad, but Windows Mobile is actually the most open platform available to freedom (as in liberty) minded developers and phone owners today. Symbian? Locked up tighter than Tori Spelling's chastity belt during 90210's filming. J2ME? Just as bad. Linux? Either crippled into uselessness by the hardware itself (a.k.a. GreenPhone's glacial GPRS and total lack of EDGE and/or 3G), or locked down even tighter than Symbian (a.k.a. just about every phone made by Motorola). The fact is, phones are one of the few areas where Microsoft uses its might to beat up its customers (the carriers themselves) for a morally worthy cause (the liberty of the phones' purchasers). Not even Sprint & Verizon can robustly defy Microsoft... they might wink at the carrier and ship the phone with certain features disabled by default, but anyone with a registry editor can re-enable them within a matter of minutes.

As for Palm... sigh. Palm. Or maybe Access. As much as I wish them the best (I was a hardcore member of the Palm camp for almost a decade, and have phones all the way back to a zero-day Samsung SPH-i300), I don't think god himself could save them at this point. Short of Access releasing a SDK that allows the latest generation of HTC's PDA phones (Mogul, TyTN, etc) to be reflashed (with or without the carrier's blessing or approval) to get ALP *INSTANTLY* into the hands of the few remaining Palm developers who still care, it's "game over".

No, not really (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012681)

Considering that the iPhone's OS is a moving target, and the majority of the frameworks and private APIs have changed from 1.0.2 to 1.1.1 (which is why many third party apps broke between 1.0.2 and 1.1.1), I don't think it's unreasonable to wait until things on that front have stabilized before you start providing developers with an SDK.

I knew that most of the negative responses to this would be along the lines of saying that Apple was "forced" into doing an SDK because of the third party hacking community, when in reality third party development was very likely in the cards all along. :-/

Re:No, not really (1)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012769)

Perhaps, but why would they have waited until now to announce it?

Re:No, not really (2, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012865)

Because they hadn't figured out how it would be done yet?

Or maybe they was even affraid that people would break the subscription lockin if it was available from the begining.. but uhm.. that strat failed anyway ;)

Re:No, not really (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012911)

This is probably Apple's most significant product launch since the Macintosh.

Ever thought that there could be incremental plans at work? You know, doing one thing at a time, considering that the vast, overwhelming majority of iPhone owners know or care approximately zero about the whole third party app issue?

Or would they have had to announce this back at the iPhone intro in order for it to be believed that it had been planned all along?

Seriously, Apple is a pretty secretive company, and this is a major product launch that could help to determine Apple's fortunes - quite literally - for years to come, and itself is probably part of a much larger strategy. Just because the announced it now doesn't mean that they felt like they were "forced" into doing so.

I mean, the phone is essentially running Mac OS X, for heaven's sake...you're telling me that Apple didn't have other designs for an amazing environment like this other than its own mostly mundane stock apps? This has been in the cards for a long time. Perhaps Apple was a but stunned by the robust nature of the third-party app community and accelerated its plans.

But to pretend like this fringe hacker community that represented a vanishingly small percentage of real-world iPhone users "forced" Apple to do this, well, that just doesn't stand up to any kind of scrutiny or common sense.

Another thought (1)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013171)

Perhaps they had planned to release the SDK earlier via a Apple-style surprise, but timing slipped, and Jobs felt the need to just go ahead and announce it anyway to avoid the development community making Apple look like a stodgy dinosaur in the meantime. Besides that, I really can't understand why they wouldn't have announced it around release time.

Re:No, not really (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013117)

I suppose it could be related to the announcement of Leopard... we know that at least some of the same folks work on the OS and the iPhone since they delayed Leopard to get the iPhone out on time.

Re:No, not really (1)

znu (31198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013149)

Back on May 30:

Is the iPhone's platform closed? And if it is, will it be open to developers in the future? Jobs says it's a security issue, but Apple is working to find a way to allow developers to build applications for it. Jobs says he doesn't want the iPhone to be "one of those phones that crashes a few times a day." He adds: "We would like to solve this problem and if you could just be a little more patient with us, we'll do it."


(See here [macrumors.com] .)

Re:No, not really (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013361)

Yeah, "back on" [month] [day], Apple also said no one wanted to watch video on an iPod, no one wanted an iPod with no screen, that Apple was deeply committed to PowerPC and wasn't interested in changing architectures, and that Apple wasn't interested in making a phone.

Funny, huh?

So what Apple said "back on" any particular day is irrelevant to whether or not some level of plans for third party apps on the iPhone have always been in the works, which they likely have been.

But if it makes you feel better to imagine a band of fearless, renegade hackers "forcing" Apple's hand, knock yourself out, I guess. It also means that every other apparent about-face Apple has made has been "forced" by some external power, which, for the above examples, flies in the face of logic. So, between the choices:

a.) Apple really never intended to have anything but its own apps on the iPhone, even though there is a precedent for third party apps on even the largely closed iPod, AND the iPhone is running Mac OS X, among whose best benefits are its flexibility as a development platform for making great apps, but was forced to surrender its evil position by the third party hacking community, or

b.) Apple actually had plans for third party apps all along, but didn't want to announce it until it was ready, for a variety of legitimate reasons, and was concentrating on the iPhone launch and Apple's huge foray into territory that is completely uncharted for them instead of trying to do multiple things at once, ...I'd chose "b."

Re:No, not really (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013451)

Jobs says it's a security issue, but Apple is working to find a way to allow developers to build applications for it.

In other words, he dug up a quote to support what you were originally saying, and you apparently didn't read what he quoted closely enough. The GP was trying to say "Yeah, Apple did plan to release a dev kit as far back as May 30, 2007."

Re:No, not really (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013321)

I tend to agree with you. Apple is very nice to their third party developers on OS X. The development tools AND the full documentation are free (yes, Microsoft, free). And while Apple may not officially provide free support, there are an awful lot of Apple engineers who help an awful lot of small developers on various mailing lists. It can't have escaped their attention that the iPhone and iPod Touch would be much more valuable devices if they were open to developers.

Re:February is kind of a long time, isn't it? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012757)

The lack of an SDK had nothing to do with AT&T, btw.

Re:February is kind of a long time, isn't it? (2, Informative)

goofballs (585077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012761)

no, it's not hard to say; this had nothing to do with at&t- they've long allowed 3rd party apps across a wide range of their phones.

Re:February is kind of a long time, isn't it? (2, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012841)

It makes me suspect that Steve was caught a bit flat-footed, if it'll take until then. If this was the usual Apple release, it would be a total surprise and be available Friday or something.

Apple announced today the deal they made with Orange, in France, and this deal requires they sell unlocked phones. While it means unlocked phones provider-wise, not app-wise, it may start a trend which combined with the current trend of hacking each firmware release within 2-3 days, may prove bad for iPhone's image as a platform.

I bet one of the changes that will happen from now to February, is make the apps not run as root. The reason they run as root in the first two firmware releases is purely one of time: they had no time to get it right, hence didn't release a SDK.

Their challenge now is to contain the community, and completely rework the iPhone software, so by February it's ready for their SDK.

I doubt it... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012849)

Of course, it could also be that it's taken them this long for events to prove to AT&T that resistance was ultimately futile and counterproductive. Hard to say, with that crowd.

I highly doubt it. If you have any java-enabled phone, any palm based phone, any blackberry phone, any symbian phone and you're using it on the AT&T network, you already know that you've been able to install ANY kind of app - networked or otherwise - on your phone.

Not long at all, considering (1)

dsginter (104154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013127)

Jobs:

It will take until February to release an SDK because we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once-

      Allow nearly open software development but completely restrict the ability to use VoIP (and upset ATT).

There. Fixed that for you.

(Side note: I live in Oakland County - home of a county-wide wireless project [oakgov.com] . If residents could run VoIP on an iPhone, then cellular revenue would plummet here. I suspect that would catch on like wildfire, once proven. This is RISKY business for Apple.)

Digital signing (5, Informative)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012531)

TFS got it wrong: Apple did not in fact say that digital signing was going to be a part of the SDK or making sure that apps are kosher.

Here's the quote that may have misled:

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than totally open, we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhones amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

So, what they're really saying is that they're hoping to do something along the same lines as signing, but not signing per se. This actually may be the most interesting part of their announcement, in that it could signal the next step forwards in indicating trust and providing clarity of who worked on what. Here's hoping it's not just repackaging.

Re:Digital signing (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012629)

Possibly. One of the new features in Leopard is digitally signed apps though, and Apple is setting up some kind of infrastructure so you can verify the signatures. It would seem likely they'll use the same system on the iPhone.

Re:Digital signing (1)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012745)

Actually, I'm hoping it's something more open than simple signing. For instance, the addition of something like a Web of Trust [wikipedia.org] might make for a faster/easier way to do signature distribution, with the added bonus that the grantor is now held partially responsible for approving the grantee's work, including the power to cut off the chain if misuse is detected further down. That way, third-party developers don't have to try to get things approved by someone at the top.

Re:Digital signing (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013001)

Sounds complicated. How about just registering a developer account with Apple, including your credit card, and if Apple starts getting reports that your app is evil they yank certification for your signature plus turn you over to the cops.

Apple already has a system for developer registration that they use for distributing pre-releases.

Re:Digital signing (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013037)


I cant seem to find that much detail on the signed apps feature of leopard but it looks like you will be able to run unsigned apps. Even if they use the same system for the iphone that would be different from the nokia system described which wont allow you to run unsigned apps.

I wouldnt be surprised if it was the ability to sign apps that has held apple back from releasing an SDK for the iPhone, you don't want users running old versions of the phone OS running unsigned apps. The iPhone version of the os is going to lag behind the desktop version, hence the February release date.

Re:Digital signing (5, Informative)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013403)

Possibly. One of the new features in Leopard is digitally signed apps though, and Apple is setting up some kind of infrastructure so you can verify the signatures. It would seem likely they'll use the same system on the iPhone.


I'm just going to point out that Windows has had digitally-signed apps since (at least) Windows 98, and that nearly every system library and executable in Windows XP and Windows Vista is signed. Vista even checks the signature before you see the UAC dialog, and the dialog for signed apps looks completely different (and has different keyboard shortcuts).

Windows Mobile also has signed apps.

Of course, I'm sure that some Mac fan is going to point out how this is another Apple innovation.

Re:Digital signing (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012711)

They might go the route of the sidekick and make all apps pre-approved and limit distribution to apple. I dont see why they wouldnt. Apple fans are used to central control and this item is so hot that they'll put up with anything. Its like going to a nice restaurant where the waitstaff is somewhat rude. You expect them to be rude. If they were nice you would think less of the place as it would seem they need you as customers.

Apple has the added incentive of not pounding AT&T's EDGE network too hard either. I imagine theres a contract or two that specifies that iphone users will be light data users not 'phone as modem' users. Considering the pricepoint AT&T offers it makes sense. I wouldnt be surprised if apps get rejected if theyre deemed to be too network intensive.

Whatever they do... (1)

truggl (1175327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012915)

... I hope developers don't have to pay to gain access to this trust system. I don't have an iPhone/iTouch yet, but if developers have to pay to make software that works on the iPhone and variants, they may well decide to pass the cost along to the end-users—and (F|f)ree software is a selling point for mobile devices as far as I'm concerned.

I've got a Windows Mobile smartphone, and, while there is plenty of for-pay software (my phone came with a built-in Handango [handango.com] catalog), there's also plenty of freeware software available. WM6 warns you that whatever application you're trying to install isn't trusted and asks you if you really want to install it, but it doesn't completely lock untrusted applications out. (Think Cancel or Allow...) Annoying it may be, but it's better than total lockout. I wonder if Apple will do something similar?

open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21013327)

I applaud Jobs comments, but there is a much larger issue that open source community needs to address: safety and security vs malicous attacks. By using open source application open one up to attacks by those who would use that technology for personal gain rather than benefiting the community. Is there a balance? Some may say that this is a moot point. How does the commmunity weigh the need to open source code without providing a pathway for malicous intent? Is there a better way? Jobs I believe is on this very notion how do you weigh providing a method of development without it being used againest you or your customers?

Security (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012537)

Jobs made several comments about securing iPhones and the network from malware, and the route Apple takes to do this is a big question mark. He mentioned application signing as a step in the right direction, with regard to other companies. Leopard brings support to OS X for both application signing and native sandboxing of applications for security. I wonder if Apple will employ either or both of these technologies to lock down the iPhone and, if so, how locked down they will be.

I'm personally very glad to hear this! (1)

What'sInAName (115383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012541)


I'm still at 1.0.2, simply because I love the 3rd party apps that are on my phone already. (I already bent over for AT&T, so I didn't bother unlocking my phone).

Now, as the summary mentions, I hope the barrier to development is not too high. They're certainly right to be concerned about security, I just hope a good balance is struck.

(Somewhat unrelated: I see that it's now possible to jailbreak 1.1.1, but I'm still waiting. Apparently you cannot yet use your own, non-apple-blessed ringtones under 1.1.1, even after jailbreak.)

Don't clap yet.... (0, Redundant)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012549)

Jobbs also said that he like Nokia's policy of "requiring" that apps be signed. So how much will it cost to get an app signed? Want to add Divix or Ogg support? Might just be too bad.
I guess this is going to be a big "we shall see"

Re:Don't clap yet.... (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012735)

Signed might not mean "signed by the phone vendor", but just "signed by the developer with a chain of trust so we know you're not some hacker in Elbonia". The latter is still secure, if you can trust the chain. Well, more of, if it's NOT secure, you know who to point the finger at.

Rebels always find a way to rebel (2, Interesting)

saddino (183491) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012551)

Interestingly, by enforcing digital signing Apple is guaranteeing the survivial of an iPhone developer's "underground" -- instead of writing hacks to jailbreak and unlock iPhones, they'll be writing hacks to get unsigned apps running on the iPhone.

Re:Rebels always find a way to rebel (3, Interesting)

bockelboy (824282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012751)

Why? There's no need to have unsigned apps - if Apple is smart and enables the end-user to sync their computer's keychain with the iPhone. This way, users who trust the DOEgrids Certificate Authority can run apps signed by the DOEgrids CA. I'm surprised there isn't a freely-available SourceForge CA that devs can use to sign their binaries. As long as the end user can control which authorities they trust (I suspect enterprise admins will want to control this, at the least), there is no need for a unsigned app!

If a developer is totally independent and has no resources, they can easily set up their own CA and ask users to add that. It's a pain-in-the-ass, but would probably greatly reduce malware (as long as the process of adding/deleting a CA isn't just "Please click OK"). Those indie developers who can't afford the $50 (or whatever cost) certificate probably are targeting hackers/modders, not normal users anyway.

If Apple plays their cards right, they will be able to get more devs to be "legit" without totally abandoning the mod crowd who isn't scared to alter their keychain. If talented devs can work on producing great apps instead of getting unsigned ones to work, it's a good thing for Apple.

This assumes, of course, that Apple is a rational being and not a controlling corporation. Big assumption.

Re:Rebels always find a way to rebel (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012933)

It's Apple that has to trust the application, not the user.

Mod Parent Up! (0, Flamebait)

cez (539085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012763)

sheesh, I guess the apple fanboys have mod points today. This is hardly Flamebait, more aptly insight.


because we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once--provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task.


[flame]but, but, but! Apple can't get viruses? They say so in the commercials![/flame]

Re:Rebels always find a way to rebel (2, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013075)


if it doesnt cost anything to sign an application (assuming the signature is only to establish who wrote the code and not actually certifying that it wont fuck with your iPhone or the network) then there is no reason to create unsigned apps unless you are writing viruses.

What he really said (1)

captnjameskirk (599714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012563)

"...we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once--provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect our partners from hacks, unlocking, etc. This is no easy task."

Fixed.

Re:What he really said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21012985)

Ah, Slashdot...

If this was about Windows Vista, the "fix" would have gone in the other direction: "Why did Microsoft make Windows so open and vulnerable that any old virus can get through, instead of delaying the product until it's properly secured."

(I'm a Mac user, not a Microsoft apologist, but the bias in here is always entertaining.)

Ipod touch (1, Interesting)

$1uck (710826) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012565)

Will this apply to the ipod touch as well? I really would like to be able to read maps/books offline on one. If there was an app to let me take websites or google maps and pdfs and store them locally to an ipod touch it might be my next mp3 player.

Re:Ipod touch (5, Informative)

BlakeReid (1033116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012651)

Will this apply to the ipod touch as well?


Yep - FTA:

P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch.

Re:Ipod touch (4, Funny)

jiushao (898575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012653)

Yes, it would sure have been nice if the article could at least had a small P.S. to note if the iPod Touch was covered or not.

Security weakness of their own making (4, Interesting)

Saunalainen (627977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012597)

From TFA - quoting Steve Jobs:

Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones--this is simply not true.

The risk of damage would be a lot less damage if every app on the iPhone didnt run as root [eweek.com] .

Re:Security weakness of their own making (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012827)

Wow! Perhaps that will be one of the things that is addressed by the time third party apps are allowed, considering that they're not now? Could this perhaps be part of the reason (among many others) that third party apps aren't currently allowed?

I mean, I know it would be unheard of for an issue to be addressed or fixed on an OS that is clearly undergoing active major change and development (as is evidenced by internals and framework changes between 1.0.2 and 1.1.1) in four months...

Could the things that Jobs says Apple is working on to make the iPhone platform secure possibly include things like this, or does Jobs need to explicitly say they're addressing this exact problem in order for you to believe Apple might actually be working on the security of one of the most important and visible products in their history?

Re:Security weakness of their own making (1)

godawful (84526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012861)

I think you've discovered why they don't support 3rd party apps right now.. gotta get the iphone OS up to snuff still.

but thats not as sensational.

Re:Security weakness of their own making (4, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013101)

The risk of damage would be a lot less damage if every app on the iPhone didnt run as root

They made the apps run as root due to lack of time to figure out the security properly. This is the same reason they didn't release a SDK.

By February, we'll have a firmware with reengineered OS and apps that don't run as root. The SDK will only support this firmware and newer.

Cell phone for the rest of us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21012601)

FTA:

two diametrically opposed things at once--provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc.


Nice false dichotomy. We've all heard that security is a social problem, not simply a technological one. Since this is basically the cell phone "for the rest of us [rich people]", the users will be far more the problem than the SDK.

Re:Cell phone for the rest of us? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21013069)

Why does security have to be an "or" problem? It's an "and" problem: a technological and a social problem. While there are limited ways you can deal with social engineering such as presenting users with clear dialogs that don't pop up at every turn, there are many things you must do to deal with a security as a technological problem. Making sure that your code is not a spaghetti code is one example. Making sure that your buffers won't overflow is another. Not automatically run an application from a mail application, not bolting a web browser with a complete ActiveX support into the operating system, etc..

final pieces ... (1)

for_usenet (550217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012611)

I was telling someone that the 2 things I wish the Touch had were a PDF reader and an SSH client. Hopefully, the dev. environment will allow these and many, many other goodies. If that _IS_ the case, the Touch very well become my new home computer ...

Re:final pieces ... (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012669)

My Touch has a PDF reader, SSH client AND an SSH server. ;)

It's great. Best gadget ever. Hacking the touch is pure software too, so you can just restore it with iTunes if an update you have to have comes along.

SSH and a keyboard. (3, Funny)

neo (4625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012627)

The only thing i want to add to the I phone is SSH and an external keyboard. Then it would be pretty much the ultimate laptop... if you had a really tiny lap. But it would then serve all my mobile computing needs.

Re:SSH and a keyboard. (2)

jasonhamilton (673330) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012919)

Almost the same list as mine. I want:

1. Real IM client. If it disconnects when the screen isn't on, or the app doesn't have focus, it isn't worthwhile.
1. SSH2 client
2. Better bluetooth support and accessories. Specifically, stereo BT headset, and BT keyboard.

Re:SSH and a keyboard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21013079)

You forgot VNC client.

Re:SSH and a keyboard. (1)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013135)

Then it would be pretty much the ultimate laptop... if you had a really tiny lap
Or perhaps a regular size lap and a Beowulf cluster of iPhones...

Re:SSH and a keyboard. (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013281)

Or perhaps a regular size lap and a Beowulf cluster of iPhones...

Now that would be an awesome utility belt...

Re:SSH and a keyboard. (1)

ditoa (952847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013253)

I don't want a built in keyboard as they are too small. I want a laptop form factor bluetooth keyboard that I can use when I need too nothing something built in :)

Re:SSH and a keyboard. (3, Interesting)

johnkzin (917611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013317)

Frankly, Apple missed the boat on this one. If they had had a supported ssh, and supported external keyboard, back in early September, bluetooth on the 'Touch (keyboard, headsets, and tethering to any bluetooth DUN/PAN phone), Mail on the 'Touch, and Notes on the 'Touch, I'd have bought a Touch.

If the iPhone had those missing pieces (including publicly stated support for tethering a laptop via bluetooth DUN/PAN), but the Touch did not, then I'd have seriously considered buying an iPhone. But I knew that the lack of official developer support for those things running natively meant that Apple could pull the plug at any time. And when they did that with 1.1.1, I knew I had made the right choice to not go down the Apple path (and, I'm a Mac guy, so integration between PDA/Phone and Desktop would have been a HUGE plus). When it came time to make my purchase decision, Apple eliminated themselves from the picture.

Instead, I got the Nokia N800. And I'm quite happy. It would take a HUGE effort from Apple to lure me back.

And, what's worse for Apple is: This made me go one step further away from being tied to core Apple apps. Bookmarks moved to Netvouz. Browser switched to Firefox. I had already moved mail clients to Thunderbird due to other on going problems with Mail.app. I may even move to be entirely gmail based (move my home mail server to Google Apps). At that point, there's very little reason for me to continue being a Mac customer ... one bad decision from Apple (not supporting 3rd party apps on the iPhone and 'Touch from day 1) has a kind of high likelihood of costing them a customer. Not out of being disgruntled (far from it), but simply because the functionality for what I want, when I wanted it, was being provided by someone other than them ... and that functionality is good enough to keep me moving in that direction.

bug report (5, Interesting)

abes (82351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012691)

Apple also sent the same information to anyone who bothered to file out a bug report about a lack of an SDK. I mention this only to point out that it's nice that Apple actually took the time to listen to its developers (and not just people who pay an annual fee) and respond. So next time if you're wondering whether your bug report gets read, it appears at least in cases like this it does.

I've recently become a complete Apple-convert. I used to hate Apple, and came from a Linux background. I have to say, though, that from a development standpoint their XCode environment is great, their libraries are well thought out, and it comes with a good number of advanced features that keeps coding fun. If you're wondering why people are so excited about developing for the iPhone, these are a few of the reasons.

At one point I played around with the toolchain that was previously being developed by the community hackers. It was relatively easy to put together a simple iPhone app, as the iPhone is running a simplified version of Cocoa. However, the more complex stuff (and interesting parts, like gestures) were not up to par because of lack of documentation.

With the introduction of the SDK, I think we're going to see a batch of really nice 3rd party apps. The current ones are extremely good for what resources are available, but I think everyone would agree there is room for much improvement.

Hopefully Apple will do the right thing in opening up their platform as much as possible. I wouldn't mind getting a free key to sign my code (Google did a similar thing when they opened up their search API). I wonder if they will limit all things internety to WIFI only, as AT&T might complain about random packets flying over their EDGE (even though other phone companies already allow this). I'm still not sure I fully get the malicious code issue, as the iPhone is essentially a dumbed down Macbook with a harder-to-use keyboard. How is the iPhone any more dangerous?

Re:bug report (1)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012839)

It would be nice if you could sign your own stuff (with a free signature from apple, like google) to run in a sandbox-style mode on the iPhone with just Wifi & Bluetooth, and then with Apple's signature the app could use the EDGE network (if that is approved for the app.) Perhaps allow, with the user's permission, the app to use xyz amount of space.

Before that I wouldn't mind a freaking flash player for Safari. That would be a GREAT start.

Will this cease the flood... (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012693)

of commentary and stories about bricked iPhones?

They're getting pretty shrill on Slashdot, as if the fact that Apple's product was locked into AT&T's service was a big surprise foisted on consumers after the fact, or something.

I hate lock-ins as much as most of you, but you know about it going in, and you can choose another option. Of course, the best solution is to stop all forms of telco lock-ins, and the one glaring lock-in is the contract for wireless service on almost all providers that substantially penalize the customer for discontinuing service "early".

As a consumer, if I'm dissatisfied with my service or I can get better service elsewhere, there's no such thing as early discontinuation of service. It's more like "right on time". Lock-in contracts, unlike the iPhone dramas, affect nearly everyone with "post-pay" service. (The alternative phrase was "non-prepay" which sounds nutty.)

Malware (5, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012695)

To further clarify, "malware" will consist of:
  media players that support additional audio and video codecs,
  anything that lets you install ringtones for free using your own licensed music,
anything that lets you make calls on alternative networks.

Re:Malware (1, Flamebait)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012871)

Correct. It has little to do with viruses.

Says Jobs was thinking: 'It will take until February to release an SDK because we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once--provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone from users that would have the phone do things that our profit model and/or contract demands that we prohibit.'"

Being open and closed at the same time is hard.

Open and digital signing (1)

Organic User (1103717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012707)

My understanding of Steve is that Apple will not be following Nokia's lead.
Compare:

provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task.
to

Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than "totally open," we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone's amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

I read as Steve is saying Nokia's solution is a simple and not truly open system but Apple is working on an advance open system.

ActiveSync... (1)

cca93014 (466820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012733)

So sometime after February I'll be able to buy/download and install an ActiveSync client for the iPhone? That changes quite a lot...

Re:ActiveSync... (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012807)

That's the hope. I don't get why Apple haven't done it themselves. It is important to a lot of potential customers.

How useful (4, Funny)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012791)

Nice!

Now the iPhone will have 30 different ways to check stock prices, get weather updates and read RSS feeds!

Hopefully someone makes a Diet Calculator / Calorine counter as well!

Cool, the iPod Touch gets the API too (last line) (1)

us7892 (655683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012959)

Third Party Applications on the iPhone

Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers' hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once--provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones--this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than "totally open," we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone's amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.

Steve

P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch.

____

Re:Cool, the iPod Touch gets the API too (last lin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21013207)

Yes, we can read the article on our own..Thanks.

Pricing model? (4, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21012963)

I'm worried about a Windows CE-like business model. Unlike traditional certificates, with CE you don't purchase certificates but use a signing "service." While that might seem cheaper, you have to sign EACH of your binaries EVERY time a modification is made. That's incentive for developers to NOT release patches. Fortunately, it's not being enforced by many OEMs, but heaven help our wallets should that happen. There are a lot of small mobile shops our there that can't absorb these kinds of costs.

I think the huge push to jailbreak helped (2, Insightful)

x_codingmonkey_x (839141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013027)

Remember how unwillingness Steve had been about native apps? He even went out on a leg to try and make Web Apps easy to get to by creating that apps repository.... Well it seems that the _large_ number of people who are jailbreaking their iPod Touches and iPhones to install third party apps have been heard. They probably weren't planning on releasing an SDK until Steve realized how popular native apps are/would be.

I never really understood the resistance to third party apps in the first place. The iPhone could not only take a chunk of the phone market, but it could take over the entire smart phone market. The same goes for the iPod Touch and the PDA market.

This puts me in a tough position though... I want a Touch right now, but what if Steve screws current Touch owners by making the SDK cost money? Or only allows for proprietary apps to be installable (locking out the Open Source developers)? or something else... hmmm

S60v3 SISX-style signed apps... (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013043)

... Seems to be a good-enough way to do things, as long as folks can install self-signed apps (with appropriate warnings and caveats and whatnot) .

Programming language? (1)

Marcus Aanerud (100936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013193)

So, let's say someone doesn't have any real programming experience besides college level stuff from a few years ago, but understands programming concepts and was enthusiastic with the possibility of dabbling in iPhone programming because it's a "brave new frontier" and is a rather small, hopefully less complex environment than, say, Mac OS X.

What programming language are the current third party iPhone apps written in? How would one get started now to prepare for the SDK? Any suggestions on books to read to brush up on the languages?

Nothing wrong with application signing... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013233)

There is to me, nothing wrong with "application signing". I think it's good to have a registered contact for a product and to ensure that product can be traced. (We're not talking personal privacy rights here.)

That said, most past attempts as application/driver signing have failed because it hasn't been about signing but rather about making $$$. And signing has cost booku bucks for being signed. This is the aspect of signing that's bad.

Rather, Apple should simply have all developers register (in order to get the SDK) and then be given a corporate identity ID to sign their applications with. They could also allow access of 3rd party apps via iTunes. The caveat being that they could block a dev ID if that ID gets out into the wild and used by malware coders. Others might install any software outside of iTunes. But this would allow them to make the iTunes (dumb name these days since it does video, games, and more these days. They really need to change it to iMedia or something).

But I'm really all for app signing as long as it's free to do so or a negligible (ie: $5-$10) processing fee.

But if it's $500 or $1,500 to have your app signed. Then it will fail...

- Saj

merge into MacOS? Leopard? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013301)

There were rumors the MacOS would someday have a Multi-touch GUI mode too. Then you could design for all three platforms. Anyone hear of a date?

they were waiting (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21013349)

I think they are waiting on applying Leopards sandboxing to the mobile OS. That would be key to allowing third party apps but with tight security.
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