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

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the nothing-you-wanted-to-use-anyway-right dept.

Media (Apple) 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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fr0st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715766)

fist prost!

Good way to turn a positive thing negative (3, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715794)

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.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (0, Flamebait)

bwalling (195998) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715844)

Java Apps mostly suck at UI. I don't think Apple wants to be associate with lousy UI. (Yes, it's a generalization, and I'm sure you can find some example of a mostly decent Java UI somewhere).

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716132)

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?

here's one (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716204)

I find that the Azureus client for BitTorrent, while slow to launch, does a fine job of helping me pirate video, audio and software. A victory for Java!

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (0, Troll)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715858)

Apple didnt "slam the door" on anything. Sun shot its mouth off on "how dare Apple tell us we cant run our own apps on their phone," and then realized that they had no case, that the idea in it of it's self of a OS running a app thats running a app is stupid when the SDK is available to all and easy to program and port apps to without using java which is all but a dead language.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (5, Insightful)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 6 years ago | (#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

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (3, Insightful)

skeletor935 (790212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716302)

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.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (1)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716390)

Hell yeah! And while we're at it - let me play snake on my microwave that I *OWN*!

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (3, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716064)

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.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716092)

Apple owns the device? Last I checked I owned my iPod Touch. How dare Apple tell [i]me[/i] what I can't run on my device.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (5, Insightful)

b96miata (620163) | more than 6 years ago | (#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)

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716152)

java which is all but a dead language.
You need to qualify that or the J2EE weenies will eat you alive. Java is 100% dead as a client language, no one writes applications using. Actually, that's not true, but no one uses applications using it (except J2EE weenies, creating J2EE code) because they universally suck.

Sadly Java is still very much alive on the server, making web developers jobs thousands of times more difficult as they have to use a retarded language (type erasing? seriously?) and deal with retarded frameworks (here's another XML config file!) that make things far slower to work with than they need to be.

No, Java is unfortunately very much alive if you're a developer. If you only deal with client applications you can avoid it, but not server-side. Sigh.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716350)

the idea in it of it's self

Wow. I think the phrase you're looking for is "the idea in and of itself [google.com] "

Complicated Issue (3, Insightful)

keirre23hu (638913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715910)

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)?

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (-1, Offtopic)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715914)

Java isn't an innovation. I wouldn't wish Java on any phone. It has its place, but man is it miserable to use on a handheld device.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (5, Interesting)

armada (553343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715920)

I agree. I am a fan of most of the industrial design and ui design that comes out of Apple but if they lock this up I will be buying an Android or an Openmoko instead (i've been wating for a 3g Iphone and the release of the SDK). However, unless the government forces us all to buy iphones or all the other manufacturers go out of business because of it's leet crunchy goodness, I dont see how this could warrant antitrust sanctions and government involvement. If you don't like it. Buy ze other one.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715996)

"He who would trade liberty for security will have neither"

Your Franklin "quote" is a far cry from what he actually said.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (4, Insightful)

llamalad (12917) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716100)

Good point, I'd rather support OpenMoko than Apple Computer's iPhone and AT&T.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716378)

I was excited about Sun's release of Java... and having a Skype client with wifi on that kind of device would be particularly nice. I will certainly not be buying an iPhone without any of those. Unless Apple changes their tune, I will more than likely go with something like a Nokia e90 in the future.

Re:Good way to turn a positive thing negative (2, Insightful)

brad.lowe (565790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716394)

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.

It is their phone (1, Insightful)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:It is their phone (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715882)

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.

Re:It is their phone (1, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:It is their phone (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716218)

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.

Re:It is their phone (3, Interesting)

abaddononion (1004472) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716304)

You realize, of course, that this very post is a RESOUNDING defense of Microsoft and all of their business practices, right?

This sword cuts both ways. What's wrong (or right, in your case) for one is wrong or right for the other. And according to reason litigation against M$, it would seem that those practices arent "fine and dandy" at all, and they ARE being forced to support competitor software. The same rules could apply down to Apple here.

Re:It is their phone (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:It is their phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716184)

Apple is only exerting control over their store. You can use the SDK to install non-approved apps to your iPhone.

Re:It is their phone (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716268)

Apple is only exerting control over their store. You can use the SDK to install non-approved apps to your iPhone.


Not according to TFA:

The key section of the SDK says that "no interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple's Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s)." Even worse is the section just after that which specifically says no to plugin architectures: "An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plugin architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise."

(Emphasis mine)

Re:It is their phone (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715904)

Yep - this doesn't bother me one bit - whereas what ISPs do - well that always concerns me because I have such a limited number of options and the service they provide is essential to my livelihood. A phone, while essential, is something I can get from a wide array of vendors in a slew of configuration. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out built on android.

Re:It is their phone (1, Insightful)

Sweeces (1246764) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:It is their phone (1)

osviews.com (955101) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716222)

If Microsoft also created the hardware... they could but because they only are 1 part of a "solution" that is comprised of many companies... they can't. When you create the entire solution, you can dictate what's on it and how its used. That's why even if Apple were in Microsoft's position (the dominant player) they couldn't be required to follow the competing requirements of a monopoly.

To argue otherwise would be akin to arguing that we should be able to demand that Sony (for example) open up development of the buttons, knobs and dials for their stereo equipment.

When you create the entire solution, you can dictate the terms on how its used in both hardware software and operating system.

Re:It is their phone (4, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715954)

"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?

It is their software (2, Insightful)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:It is their software (1)

mother_reincarnated (1099781) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716266)

Sure just don't put it on their by violating the license terms of THEIR SDK.

Re:It is their phone (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716098)

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.
I'm guessing that the Net Neutrality people are looking for a test case and they plan to lynch one of the most open phones on the market, precisely because it isn't going to be 110% open.

From another anti-trust angle, how is iTunes' tie in to the iPhone any different than Verizon's V Cast, T-Mobile's t-zones, or Sprint's Vision?

Re:It is their phone (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716120)

They can but then I did buy it. Or I could buy it but right now that is not likely. Once I guy that iPhone or iPod touch then that one item is no longer Apples but mine.
Imagine if you bought a couch but you where not allowed to put blue pillows on it? Hey it is the manufactures couch so they have that right correct?

Some other programs that you can not port to it are.
Flash, Python, Ruby, LUA, or any other interpretors. It could also exclude any program that allows macros like Excel. It would also exclude Mame and other emulators...
Pretty restrictive.

 

Re:It is their phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716228)

Yeah, if you don't like it, go make your own.

With blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget about the phone...

Re:It is their phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716338)

Exactly. It's their shit and I won't touch it with a barge pole.

What did you expect? (2, Interesting)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715830)

This is Apple we're dealing with here. They won't even let you build your own computer even though OS X runs on x86.

For all the crap Microsoft gets for its tactics, it should be clear from actions like this that Apple is the real villain.

Re:What did you expect? (0, Flamebait)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716286)

Oh, please.... THAT old claim again?

All that's really clear is that Apple is still in the business of selling a BUNDLED hardware + software computer solution, while Microsoft only sells software.

It has very LITTLE to do with some relative "evilness" of Apple that they don't want people building their own computers to run OS X on. They purposely designed OS X as motivation to sell their machines to people. It's their own product, and their OWN decision if they'd like to openly license it for use on ANY PC out there, or if they'd prefer to keep it only legal for use with THEIR hardware.

Microsoft would undoubtedly do the exact SAME thing, IF they sold Microsoft-branded PCs.

As to the specific issue at-hand, I think it's still premature to get in an uproar over the SDK licensing terms. It seems very likely to me they were written by attorneys who threw together a bunch of "boilerplate" for Apple without realize the full extent of what their limitations would restrict. (Right now, it sounds to me like Sun's plan to bring Java to the iPhone was nothing Apple would have had any issue with, despite the legal details of this SDK appearing to prevent it. They'll probably hash it out and Apple will revise the licensing terms so it's allowed.)

Don't forget, the SDK itself isn't even officially "finished" until some time in June. This stuff was probably cobbled together in a rush, to get something out the door.

Re:What did you expect? (4, Funny)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716296)

The EULA for OS X says:

This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time.

It's quite easy to label a home-built computer with an Apple sticker.

Re:What did you expect? (0, Troll)

tb3 (313150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716298)

This is quite possibly the most moronic comment I've ever seen posted on Slashdot. Do a little research into the Microsoft anti-trust affair before you go shooting your mouth off.

Well... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715834)

They *did* say it's a revolutionary device.

Vote with your money (5, Insightful)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

But all my gay friends will think I'm a loser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716032)

Man, I gotta remember to check post anon on this one!

Re:Vote with your money (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716056)

It's not like comcast which is a monopoly in certain areas. There are hundreds of other cell phones to buy.
There are hundreds of other cell phones. But are there hundreds of other devices that combine the capabilities of a cell phone with the ability to browse the web and to play musical recordings published by major record labels?

Re:Vote with your money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716168)

There are dozens of those. Pretty much any smartphone + Amazon MP3 or your favorite CD ripper.

Re:Vote with your money (2, Informative)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716194)

Almost all phones have a web browser, all the new cell phones can play mp3s. There are phones made to encorporate music as their main focus.

What? You actually buy music off itunes? I'd rather buy music from amazon's drm free site. Stupid icrap users get what stupid icrap users deserve.

Re:Vote with your money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716396)

Where's the alternative to the iPod Touch?

Apple is turning blind with your own success (2, Interesting)

Parker Lewis (999165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715848)

I think Apple is turning blind with your own success. All the marketing people loves Apple products, but in fact, technical people have a lot of non good points about the same products.

What's the issue here? (5, Interesting)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715852)

Look, I know the iPhone is all "snazzy" and "cool" and "trendy," but I think it's been known for a while that Apple would do this, yes?

If you're looking for a platform with more open SDK access, just don't write for the iPhone. Go for a mobile device with a Linux-based OS, or even Windows Mobile. That gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of writing your own software (I write C# on a Moto Q, myself) and you usually end up paying less, too.

Apple has a choice as to whether or not they open up their hardware just as you had the choice of buying the phone in the first place.

Why? (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715854)

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?

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716010)

I was thinking this exact same thing. The Motorola Q has some really great features, and it turns out a lot of them are masked or outright disabled (Java support) if you use Verizon as your carrier versus a different carrier. If anything, Apple is being more generous than the likes of some cell phone companies.

Re:Why? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716048)

And given that Apple does not by any conceivable stretch have a monopoly position in telephones, I don't see why antitrust regulators would have any say in the matter. (In the US, anyway. The EU has that Elliot Spitzer-ish woman running wild in their antitrust group, so all bets are off there, at least until some Spitzer-ish misfortune befalls her.)

Re:Why? (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716186)

It goes against current developments; more and more phone producers are opening up their devices to programmers. It's true that no one can obligate Apple to do so, especially since they're nowhere near number one in phones. And Apple has a history of wanting to regulate what apps can run on their devices and how they look. But it does reflect badly on Apple, and it does go against the trend. Don't you agree ?

Seriously? (1)

xanthines-R-yummy (635710) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716274)

I think the reason the iPhone is selling so well is it's potential capabilities. I mean, sure there were always going to be some fanbois who bought it (Newton, anyone?), but it's wild popularity was the promise/hope of new apps; as close to an all-in-1 as ever. Jailbreak anyone? Closing the iPhone back up will pretty much limit the iPhone to an expensive nifty gadget instead of something really useful (Netwon, anyone? Did I say that already?). Think of it as utility/potential ratios. Palm phones and Blackberries seem pretty close to "1" already. The iPhone hasn't even come close.

Re:Why? (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716386)

I think there is a big difference between keeping opposing browsers off 4/5 of the worlds desktops and keeping it off a very, very, very small % of the phone market.

Obligatory (0, Troll)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715870)

But Microsoft is a convicted monopoly. Anyone seen my Kool-Aid?

It's their party (4, Insightful)

Badbone (1159483) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's their party (2, Insightful)

mother_reincarnated (1099781) | more than 6 years ago | (#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...

Oh please.. (0, Troll)

empiricistrob (638862) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715884)

Yes, the SDK has serious restrictions. But how can you compare this to microsoft? The whole point with regulating microsoft was the fact that microsoft has a monopoloy. I don't think anyone is going to argue that Apple has a monopoly in the mobile phone market. That's rediculous. If you don't like the iPhone or the iPhone SDK -- go elsewhere. There is plenty of competition. I personally will accept these drawbacks and keep using my iphone.

Re:Oh please.. (1)

CubeRootOf (849787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716260)

But apple has a monopoly on IPHONES!

Could Apple Face Regulators... (5, Insightful)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Jailbreak it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715890)

To be honest, I don't really care all that much. Jailbreaking my iPod Touch has enabled me to access all sorts of terrific apps via Installer, with more and more software being added to repositories all the time.

So listen up, Apple. You can either simply sell the hardware or *encourage* users/developers to participate in your app distribution system, which will mean an entirely additional and substantial revenue stream for you.

However, keep trying to lock us down and we'll just continue to circumvent.

Er wha? (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715900)

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.

Oh no, critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715918)

Ah, good old Slashdot, where every item sold by every company must be open to being used in any conceivable way, or the wrath of thousands of smelly nerds is brought to bear. In an ultimately ineffectual way, of course, since bitching on the web gets results nearly as fast as praying.

And you're surprised? Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715936)

Wow. Apple restrictive? I wouldn't have thought that in a million years. ;)

Lack of Java (J2MEE) a Big Deal (3, Informative)

Kagato (116051) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715940)

Most cell phone applications are written in J2ME. The lack of J2ME support means existing applications already on AT&T's approved app deck would need extensive porting. The only exception is Verizon which has their own language (called BREW), which has less apps than most other companies because of it. Even the Black Berry supports J2ME.

Re:Lack of Java (J2MEE) a Big Deal (1)

gandreas (908538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716360)

How is this a bad thing?

If one were to directly port a J2MEE app, it would look like shite on the iPhone. Apple wants apps that look good and follow the iPhone UI (how many J2MEE apps are built around a multi-touch UI paradigm?). Apple has always taken quality over quantity...

Lack of foresight (0)

Calibax (151875) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715962)

I'd bet a small amount of cash that the terms of the license were drawn up by lawyers without a huge amount of input and review by technical folks. They probably looked at the general characteristics of applications and disallowed those features that they thought might lead to malware being executed. In particular, leaving holes for un-vetted code to be executed.

Apple are probably just trying to protect their users from crap and at the same time protect themselves from legal issues. I can imagine a lawsuit by some aggrieved user: "Why did you leave this huge hole for this virus to walk in and spam overseas calls at tens of $1,000s per month."

I wish they had done a better job. As has been said many times, never ascribe to maliciousness that which can adequately explained by incompetence.

Re:Lack of foresight (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716116)

Apple are probably just trying to protect their users from crap and at the same time protect themselves from legal issues. I can imagine a lawsuit by some aggrieved user: "Why did you leave this huge hole for this virus to walk in and spam overseas calls at tens of $1,000s per month."
Couldn't that be solved with "Cancel or Allow" style dialog boxes when a newly installed application accesses the network for the first time, or OS-level caps on the minutes that an application can use?

Re:Lack of foresight (1)

Charan (563851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716130)

Remember, the iPhone has little internal security. Every process runs with root privileges, so a program needs to have very strict boundaries. A stray script off the Internet could wreck havoc on this phone (and its owner).

I'd guess that this is the one reason why the restrictions are in place. The optimistic view is that Apple may eventually beef up their security for later models and give way to a more permissive license.

Re:Lack of foresight (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716324)

I thought they changed that. I know they at least changed the user to something other than root.

Re:Lack of foresight (1)

red star hardkore (1242136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716270)

Well then why don't people sue Microsoft for leaving holes in their OS and then charging extra (Windows Live OneCare) to have the malware removed? I seriously doubt this is about iPhone security.

Re:Lack of foresight (1)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716372)

Indeed... We won't know what apple means until they actually start talking more intimately with developers of these apps.

And wasn't Firefox having big issues with their mobile platform? Why would you want to port that to the iPhone when the Webkit-based Safari mobile seems to be doing a damn fine job? Lacks a lot of plugins I guess, but I don't know that you would want a 1:1 port of current plugins. Opera probably has more of a reason to develop on the iPhone than Mozilla, simply because they are already in that market. I've never heard of Apple & Opera having any bad blood.

Also, remember, Apple is working intimately with larger developers on iPhone Apps. Skype is a bandwidth hog and those apps are specifically limited, but it will be allowed to work over the Wifi (this was asked and answered in a press Q&A session after the presentation on Apple's site was finished.) Don't expect any peer to peer apps to work on the cellular network either, which should make sense.

Regulators? No. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

and no python, perl, ruby... (4, Informative)

mzs (595629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716014)

borne shell, etc:

"no interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple's Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s)."

Re:and no python, perl, ruby... (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716094)

... and that abolishes any chance I'll get one. Very sad.

Ok ok ok just stop... (4, Insightful)

InfraredAD (904482) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

"Could Apple face government regulators?" (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716086)

No.

They're not a monopolist in the area of 'smart phones' convicted of abusing that monopoly. I'm sure they wouldn't mind being a monopolist in it, and I'm sure they would actually love to abuse it if they were - but they're not, so... no.

They're also not a utility service provider. No data passes through iPhones and ends up hampered or filtered due to Apple policies for that iPhone, so... no.

Anything else?

Don't get me wrong - I'm not happy with this form of 'opening up' of the iPhone any more than the next guy ( on /. , at least), but they're not doing anything against the laws or regulations. Time to support Android, maybe.

Voip over Wifi is permitted (1)

ethergear (1130483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716126)

Skype, etc are not permitted over the cell network per the SDK, but there are no restrictions on what you can do over Wifi.

FF is a RAM Whore (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716128)

I'm not sure you'd even want FF, slow and bulky as it is, on an iPhone. Not sure about Opera but I'll tell you that Opera mini 3.12 is a pretty crappy browser. Maybe v4 is better, I hope so for their sake.

My Main Problem with the SDK is... (2, Interesting)

slaingod (1076625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716140)

that SDK says your app can't run in the background. I would imagine (not being an iPhone owner but having some common sense) that the iPhone will continue to play music if you are using say the Calendar functionality. If I am not able to create a media player that allows me to provide that same level of functionality, whether it is for some unsupported format not found in iTunes, or if I want to use another media player on my iPhone to download songs from Napster, then I think Apple will be opening itself up to a world of trouble, monopoly-wise. That is exactly how M$ got in trouble, was leveraging their OS to keep out competition. You can't have it both ways... you either allow 3rd party apps or you don't. If a particular carrier wants to prevent some type of network usage/traffic, I can see the carrier doing that, just like you ISP doesn't have to provide you with Newsgroups...but your OS had damn well better not try and block Newsgroups just because it has some forum software it wants to push.

Pure FUD (1)

technoviper (595945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716146)

The net neutrality part of it looks like FUD being spread by the uninformed pure and simple. The SDK allows you to differntiate between WiFi and EDGE data connections; so theoretically any VOIP app should be able to select the WiFi connection over cellular data. As for applications like web browsers having no ability to run backgrounded would make them moot unless you dont use any of the other apps like mail (and dont receive phone calls) (I do hope they reverse this; I'd really like an Adium port for the iPhone) For the most part everyones just making a mountain out of a molehill. The iPhone is not the most popular phone or software platform on a phone. Its a niche market at the moment and its long term effects on the market remain to be seen.

Goverment? (0, Flamebait)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716166)

WTF, guys? How about you just buy a phone that will allow you to do all of that & tell Steve Jobs to kiss your ass on your way out?

No Skype makes sense, No GPLv3 is annoying... (1, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716170)

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.

Biggest problem in my eyes... (2, Insightful)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716220)

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.

Safe on Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22716226)

Q. Could Apple face government regulators?

A. No - the last thing government wants is a massive anti-regulation march led by Slashdotters who would be coming out of the basement after a long time.

It's funny... (4, Insightful)

Wheatin (982347) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

FUD (1)

wtmoose (639328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716278)

Competing web browsers Firefox and Opera are forbidden

No. The linked article says that "you might be able to have Firefox, but you wouldn't be able to have the plugins, add-ons and other goodness". I'm not sure what "other goodness" the author is referring to, but he later goes on to say that "other developers have argued that since Firefox plugins primarily run JavaScript they may be [accepted]."

Based on this article alone, it is a huge stretch to say that Firefox is forbidden.

Apple not subject to antitrust regulation. (2, Insightful)

Jaywalk (94910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716280)

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... (2, Insightful)

Darundal (891860) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716282)

...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...

The data network is not there (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716288)

Look, once and for all, there is a simple reason that Apple/AT&T are not letting developers have free reign on the data network. It has been brought up by Apple. it has been brought up by AT&T. Its validity has been given the nod by all sorts of people familiar with competing systems.

AT&Ts data network is not up to the task of handling all the potential traffic.

It's not. Everyone involved has been saying from the start that a single moderately popular application would be perfectly capable of saturating the entire connection. Whether that application is a VIOP app with a less than efficient protocol or bittorrent or video streaming. The network can not handle it. Now, I'm sure AT&T doesn't mind the lack of competition for its own services, but that si secondary at best. They could not allow these types of apps even if they wanted to.

So far, it looks like there is going to be little or no restrictions on what the iPhone can do when connected via Wi-Fi. They don't care what you do as long as you are doing it on someone else's connection.

aha (1)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716306)

Just be smart.. don't buy apple...

Opera plugins? (1)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716358)

from the c-net article:

Both the Firefox and Opera Web browsers, which compete with Apple's pre-installed Safari browser, are forbidden as they support hundreds of user-created add-ons.
I've been an Opera user for some time now, but I have somehow missed the "hundreds of user-created add-ons" that are apparently available.

Does the author mean user-javascript, perhaps? I don't think so. Otherwise, given that Opera really doesn't support extensions, and Opera has no intention of allowing extensions (for much the same reason Apple doesn't want to allow extensions, which might be (a) malicious, or (b) crappily coded), does this mean that Opera won't actually be blocked?

Regulations? Market pressure (2, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716370)

Could Apple face government regulators?
Could Apple face customer blacklash?

what the fuck it's a communications device (2, Insightful)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22716392)

it's a device to communicate and it can't communicate?
WTF

might as well buy a CB friggin radio!
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