iLounge talked to Steve Jobs about the applications isuse on iPhone. Steve said that only pre-approved, pre-tested apps by Apple will be allowed to enter iTunes and get sold. Basically, the way this usually works is that serious companies will have to get into signing a contract with Apple to get their SDK, then Apple will actually have to qualify by testing the app for a fee (e.g. if the UI is what an iPhone user expects, if it crashes etc) and then it will make its way to the iTunes Store.
In theory, this is a good thing. The user will only get to choose between the best and most stable software instead of random crap that every Joe programmer writes in an afternoon. On the other hand though, this pretty much takes away the freeware/enthusiast market. Forget having a freeware port of VLC or Adium. As long as there is enough market for a specific app, commercial companies will create it and sell it (they can’t get away giving it out for free as themselves will have to pay Apple). And Apple, possibly not only will get money for the SDK and the testing time they will offer, but also a percentage of the iTunes Store sales. And of course, no piracy will be possible, like the current iPod games, these will be DRM’ed apps.
Excellent plan. If you are an Apple stockholder that is. Personally, I prefer open systems and instead being myself responsible of what crap I install. But that’s me.
Update: The Slashdot crowd comments on this. Apple is doing the same mistake Motorola is doing. I mean, heck, even my brother, a hard-working electrician, doesn’t wanna get any phone that doesn’t run third party apps to extend the original capabilities of the device. Apple could have changed the “phone business” (which is need of a change) and instead only changed the “phone”. This, along other problems that this first model has (from price to non-replaceable battery) will prove thorny for Apple to catch on. I am not sure that they will be able to get that 1% of market share that Jobs wants to get, not like this at least.