Third Party Applications on the iPhone

Reading Steve Jobs’s words on the Apple Hot News page, it really couldn’t be better for developers:

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.

Much sooner than I was expecting! I would have bet on WWDC 2008, which will probably be the iPhone WWDC now, unlike the last one, which was just pretending to be that (and failing miserably).

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. […] 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.

Technologies such as Leopard’s Code Signing would support this, which is a good sign (pun, sorry) as any developer can do this.

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.

It was always going to take Apple a while to create the tools for iPhone development and usually you get no word from Apple about something until it’s ready to be seen. Looks like with all the recent noise, Apple felt they had to make a statement. This goes a long way to removing worries that iPhone development will be restricted only to those whom Apple deems worthy. Should be interesting!

Between this and getting Leopard out on time (although no GM build to developers just yet, we’re stuck with the last buggy effort), Apple has made this Mac developer and user very happy. For now! 😉

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