More on the iPhone SDK

Whoa! If all the restrictions were not enough, Apple is now rejecting (aka “indefinitely waitlisting”) potential developers for the iPhone! Not just random individuals, but even corporations with true interest on the SDK. It seems that they want to limit everything, so they can control everything.

Compare this to the open nature of Android development, and Windows Mobile (and even Symbian, if you don’t want to get digitally sign your apps), and see clearly how Apple is conducting business. Apple is STILL scared about allowing binary apps on the iPhone. That much is clear. I can’t wait for future jailbreaks and third party App Stores. Apple needs a good spank in the ass. They seriously need to get a clue and allow open development while at the same time they should FIX their OS to be more secure.

20 Comments »

Adam S wrote on March 14th, 2008 at 3:53 PM PST:

No, this is NOT true. Do you have an ax to grind with Apple or something? I’m not saying Apple is never wrong, because they are… a lot.. but this is just wrong information.

Apple is only rejecting applications for the “Developer Program”, which provides early access to iPhone 2.0 beta software and to the signed certificates, again, both in beta form. When it was announced, it was also announced that there was limited space in the program. The 100,000 SDK downloads ought to tell you there was plenty of interest, hence, plenty of “no thank you” letters.

The SDK, meanwhile, is STILL free and STILL available to anyone who wants, and the Development Program will still likely be available to anyone willing to pay come iPhone 2.0 general release.


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Eugenia wrote on March 14th, 2008 at 4:12 PM PST:

Sorry Adam, but this does not fly with me. You are either open, or you are not. Android had its SDK open and usable from day 1 of its release.

Apple on the other hand, tries to limit it. Having the iPhone SDK available is not helpful to a company or person who want to be the first with a specific app on June when the SDK’s final version is released along iPhone 2.0. Think about it. You are a small company with this great idea about an app. You start developing immediately. But you get rejected. You keep developing, thinking that Apple will eventually allow you to join their little club. You finish the app in May. June is coming and is passing but you are still not enrolled (there is absolutely NO guarantee that all rejects will be allowed in the program in June). In July, another company comes out in the App Store with the SAME app as yours.

You are fucked.

Sorry, but the fact that “one day you will be accepted” is a really bad business deal for many dev houses because it’s full of uncertainty, in a business that’s already uncertain. It gives a head start to some, and this is simply NOT fair.


Adam S wrote on March 14th, 2008 at 4:27 PM PST:

You’re not fooling anyone, Eugenia.

Microsoft does closed betas, but you’re not posting on them. They’re providing Windows 7 milestones to preferred partners, so small companies have no chance of competing, right? It’s the exact same thing you’re talking about. What about the beta invites to all these new Web 2.0 sites, such as the much discussed “Ginger” version of Netvibes?

It’s not like no two companies have ever released programs that do the same thing. By that logic, Google shouldn’t even exist, because there were already search engines. By that logic, Android shouldn’t even exist, because Symbian and Windows Mobile do. Firefox, Outlook Express, even Windows itself shouldn’t exist by your standard since their programs weren’t the first ones to market. But they do, because people choose what they want.

This whole “you are either open or not” is indicative of the way you see everything: black and white. Apple releases Webkit source with nightly builds, they hardly release anything about the iPhone. Microsoft releases WiX source and plenty of dev kits for WinMo, and what can only be called too much information about Windows roadmaps. The truth is, you can be a little of both, you’re just refusing to see it.

I would prefer Apple allow everyone early access, but I’m not especially bothered that they’re not.


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Eugenia wrote on March 14th, 2008 at 4:34 PM PST:

Providing WinMob to some partners is different than not providing the SDK. WinMob is a whole OS, and *HARDWARE* partners need it in order to build hardware around it. But when it comes to software, MS never restricted usage of their SDK to limited few, neither they required their approval to release an application or not. The way it is right now with the iPhone SDK, even if you create an app for it, Apple must endorse it and include it on their AppStore, without them, you are OUT OF LUCK.

Understand this: Apple’s process is not an open one as it is with Windows Mobile software development or Android. Everything goes through Apple. If they don’t like you for one reason or another, you are commercially out of the picture.


memson wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 2:08 AM PST:

Having developed for the Windows CE platform, of which Windows Mobile is a subset, yes, Microsoft DID restrict developers in the early days. Developers had to pay a premium for the devkit right up till the DotNet era, when MS decided CE was for all.

Android looks good, but last time i looked, there was no publicly available hardware it ran on. How exactly is that any different to having a free devkit that only runs appps in emulation? There is no guarantee that apps developed now in Android will even run on the final gold release 1. At least Apple has that one in the bag.

Be aware, I don’t own an iPhone or iTouch and hsve no intention of buying one. My next music player will be an Archos. My next phone will be Nokia N series. I am not defending apple for any reasoon other than you are wrong.


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Eugenia wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 2:17 AM PST:

That was 10 years ago. And while WinMob is based on WinCE, it is not the same thing. WinMob is a phone/PDA OS, while CE is a real embedded OS that only deals with real partners usually rather than random devs. Currently, MS does not restrict devs and neither does Android and they haven’t done so for years.

It’s one thing to not provide premium support to everyone. It’s another to not give the software away. I mean, how can anyone reasonably develop something that uses a touch-screen (especially a multi-touch one) app, or an orientation/acceleration sensor, or a radio interface, without running on actual hardware? I mean, it’s not like a MSFT beta of vista, where people who are left out can still develop on XP and get most of their work done.

Yes, Android does not have a hardware unit yet, but when they do, these kinds of limitations will NOT be there. You won’t need Apple’s blessing to start writing software. With Apple, if you are not allowed in their little club, you can’t even start working on apps that use these parts of the hardware, because you can’t transfer the app on the device to test.

As for Android apps running in the final gold release, if they don’t, it will be a small change to the source code to fix it to. And as for compatibility, Google has said that it will be very strict into keeping good compatibility between manufacturers.

No matter how you spin it, MS and Google have a more open dev deal.


memson wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 6:08 AM PST:

Windows Mobile is *built* using Windows CE technology. It’s a different shell and a custom kernel. The API is the same. Moving an app between CE and Mobile is almost entirely a case of UI changes..

Again, how is Android currently any different to iPhone SDK? Your exact argument about producing apps with identical goals stands. Why woul I, the pro developer, create an app for a platform with no ability to run on real hardware? Twenty other shops could be writing the same app. Exactly the samee situation.


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Eugenia wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 9:36 AM PST:

Memson, I know very well where WinMob is coming from. But just because it is BASED on CE, does not make it the same thing. WinMob’s SDK is not restricted. WinMob is a consumer product, while WinCE is mostly deals with hardware partners in a more strict embedded space. Therefore, different rules apply for the two. WinMob’s SDK is not restricted, and that’s the bottomline.

As for Android not having a hardware, yes, it is different than the iPhone situation. In the iPhone situation, the developer is rejected/waitlisted, call it what you want. The developer’s career is at the MERCY of Apple. In the Android/Win situation the developer does not give a fuck what Google/MS have to say about him. He can still create an app and put it out there in the market.

Are you really that dumb to not understand what my problem with the whole thing is? That Apple is such a control freak?


Mr. X wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 10:34 AM PST:

> The developer’s career is at the MERCY of Apple.

When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout. 🙂

Please name one developer who has lost his job (let alone his career) because he did not get into Apple’s beta test program.

The purpose of a beta test program is to get user feedback. Period. A company is entitled to conduct its beta tests in whatever manner it feels will provide the best feedback, not in the manner a blogger deems Politically Correct.

Apple never claimed the iPhone was completely open. Then again, the claims of open source zealots have failed in the real world. (Remember how Linux was supposed to replace Windows and Macs on the desktop?) It’s better to have a system that works than one that is ideologically pure.

Finally, some of your other statements are simply incorrect, based on terms of the NDA. Which, unlike some developers, I will not discuss.


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Eugenia wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 10:36 AM PST:

>because he did not get into Apple’s beta test program.

You don’t get it, do ya? It is not JUST about the stupid beta program. It is mostly about having your app accepted to the App Store on Day 1. Given that most developers were rejected by Apple so far, there is a good chance that not all of them will make it to the App Store in time. And this CAN have competition-related problems to a developer. The problem is a timing issue that delves around Apple’s own timing needs, instead of the developer’s. Apple should have accepted ALL developers who registered for the iPhone SDK into their program. Otherwise, they should have called it a “closed beta test” and INVITE people instead of letting them register and download the SDK, only to found themselves “rejected” 5 days later. That’s what I ultimately say over here.


memson wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 12:34 PM PST:

CE is to Win Mobile as BeOS is to BeIA.

Look, I worked with CE and Mobile (what MS now calls ‘pro’) and also what they call ‘Standard’. With a few careful design rules and conditional defines, CE is close enough to Pro as to not make too much trouble. The UI is the only painful part, but this is more to do with screen size and the slight quirks of the Pro menuing system and memory residency. Standard is a complete rewrite of the logic. For pro/CE, if you use eVC, it’s quite a bit of work, but C#, absolutely simple to get both CE and Pro apps from the same base. CE is used on tonnes of devices. Until dotNet, MS charged more than Apple does for the paid program for the dev kit (embeded Visual C or VB ide, compiler and emulator.) So, no, you are not comparing things correctly.

Until Android has real hardware, there is an identical issue with the iPhone. Both platforms, I could develop an app for both and be in the same indefinite position. The risk is as high, no sane commercial developer would stake their careers on either platform as they stand. Fact. This is/was my point. Insulting me does not change that fact. At the moment, Maemo, Symbian and Win CE based OS are the only viable OS for handheld development. CE being the most viable, Maemo being the most open.


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Eugenia wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 1:05 PM PST:

>CE is to Win Mobile as BeOS is to BeIA.

You don’t understand what I am saying. I know very well what CE is. The difference is in the business side of it. AND I DON’T CARE ABOUT CE. I am talking about WinMob here, which has A DIFFERENT SDK — even if it’s very similar to CE’s. The market between the two is different, and while CE can have closed partnerships, for WinMob the SDK is free for all. CE can easily have weird conditions like Apple’s, and can have closed betas with select partners and all that shit. But the WinMob version — which is the version we are interested here because it’s the version used for phones –, does not have such restrictions. So, STOP using CE as an excuse, and use Windows Mobile. CE’s SDK and terms are completely irrelevant to the phone world which is what we are discussing here — EVEN if it’s close engineeringly-wise to WinMob’s SDK. Please, don’t mention CE. It’s different. If Apple was doing generic embedded contracts/projects, then I would have NO PROBLEM with strict conditions, because the industrial embedded space is DIFFERENT than the consumer phone one! You see, the consumer phone world expects a certain openness. An openness that WinMob OFFERS (CE doesn’t, and that’s ok).

>Until Android has real hardware, there is an identical issue with the iPhone.

No, it is not the same thing. Android WILL have hardware (as in, 100% sure). And when it does, EVERYONE who worked on an app, will be able to release it and have an EQUAL chance for success. On the Apple’s side, if you were rejected, or Apple doesn’t like your app, YOU ARE OUT OF THE FUCKING PICTURE commercially. They CONTROL the third party application market. Don’t you see that? Are you that blind?

Why the heck don’t you understand this? Why the heck don’t you see that there is a MUCH bigger RISK developing for the iPhone than for Android/WinMob and even Symbian?


Adam S wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 3:32 PM PST:

Eugenia GETS what we are saying, she just disagrees. I think any rational person, though, would agree that developing for the iPhone is almost certainly less risky than developing for Android. iPhone has a massive market, and as of right this second, Android has none. Even if they will, the model isn’t proven. What if Android ends up being just like Linux and remains used by a small, knowledgeable group? After all, virtually no one I know in the non-tech world adds apps to their phones, even though they can. But let’s examine:

Firstly, Eugenia’s facts are not right, as currently written. Apple has rejected no developers at all. The SDK is free and available today.

Secondly, no one has confirmed that the dev program beta will be closed until launch or that the participants will somehow have more access to the app store when all is said and done, that’s pure assumption.

Thirdly, the only people affected thus far are the “for profit” software people, and they still can build their programs the same as everyone else, they just don’t have a cert… yet.

Eugenia, in response to us pointing this out, has narrowed her conclusion to this: not everyone will have access to the App Store on day 1. Except, again, we don’t know that. All we know is that part of their SDK/Dev Program is in closed beta today, the exact same way Windows 7 is, the exact same way Windows Mobile 6 was, the exact same way most software is before it’s ready.

The concept of beta testing is not new. No one has lost jobs. No one is at risk. Apple is playing the same hard-core control game they always have, there’s no story here.


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Eugenia wrote on March 15th, 2008 at 3:42 PM PST:

Adam, while Android indeed has no hardware sold yet, Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 do have. So yes, there is some potential risk with Android just because they haven’t proven their market yet, but there is a risk with Apple’s strategies too as I explained.

But there is no risk with Windows Mobile. And almost none with Symbian S60 (Nokia can request an app to get digitally signed in order to be included by default on their phones, but it’s not a requirement for a wide release). And let’s not forget that Nokia has 45% of the market. Microsoft, Google and Apple don’t come close to Nokia’s numbers.

So as a developer, I would find it less risky to develop for WinMob/S60, more riskier for Android, but even more riskier for the iPhone. And Android will be moved to the first category by this time next year. But I expect the iPhone to be at a similar risk position. If you piss off Apple, you are out, and this is not something that dev houses usually like.


memson wrote on March 16th, 2008 at 2:15 AM PST:

Eugenia, ‘dev houses’ bend over backwards to the weird, and sometimes irrational, licensing details every day. Example? Nintendo, Sony, formerly Sega. Palm had a closed platform until developers such as Daniel Massena wrote tools (pila in Darren’s case) to allow dev for everyone. Microsoft’s Windows Mobile tools were not available for free (we are specifically talking about the eVC or eVB here) at all without an MSDN subscription. I’m pretty sure you still have to ppay for them without an MSDN subscription.. The SDK was headers and possibly a command line compiler last time I looked (this time last year.) Even with dotNet, you need to pay for the ide before you get one from Microsoft.

So, Adam is correct.

I’m excited about Android, it looks cool. I follow the RSS feed for developers. The risk of creating a commercial app is so extreme, I would not undertake it at the moment. There is no market what so ever and no market means no revenue. There is no prooof there will ever be a market. cf Trolltech and the greenphone platform.

Your iPhone store comments are pure conjecture. You don’t know any more than I do what will happen. But, yes there is a risk. But there is also a far, far greater ability to create revenue immediately. The install base is massive. The hardware is common and well known. The fact you have the cheaper iTouch as an option is a bonus.

The iPhone SDK is free. The right to install apps is not.


memson wrote on March 16th, 2008 at 2:21 AM PST:

Before you blow up about the ‘no market for Android’ comment… I mean, no one can predict whether the market willl exist. No one. cf BeOS, and BeIA. Many different facttors can affect market acceptence and uptake. I want Android to succeed but I would not like to predict what will happen and I would not stske my business on it. IMHO, iPhone looks like a fair risk to me in comparison.


sherif wrote on March 17th, 2008 at 6:28 AM PST:

Eugenia you seem quite passionate in slandering (or libel when written) the SDK and App submittal process. Acceptance to the program will be open when its OUT OF BETA. What may be denied is your applications on a case by case basis. But if you follow the guidelines I don’t see the issue. How can you just assume that people/companies are being denied when its common practice to limit acceptance to a beta program?


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Eugenia wrote on March 17th, 2008 at 1:12 PM PST:

This is not slandering Sherif. It is an opinion piece, as everything is on this blog. And to answer your question, it is not a beta program of the SDK. The SDK is offered for a free download for all. The REJECTION is for the $99 partner program. That’s where my problem is. If the App Store goes live in June, SOME developers will have a HEAD START and the rest won’t. That’s unfair. Here’s another guy writing about the problem too.


memsom wrote on March 18th, 2008 at 1:50 PM PST:

For the love of the imaginary deity that Christian sheep worship, it i not a rejection, it is a ‘not at the moment’ letter. Else Apple would be refunding the money. Reading between the lines, they are doing a ‘thank you for registering, currently we are not going to give you access. Please wait for a while and enjoy the FREE sdk in the mean time.’

This article is actually more interesting.


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Eugenia wrote on March 18th, 2008 at 3:28 PM PST:

Memson, this is my problem. You don’t know when they will allow you on their AppStore. You can not be sure if you will have equal chances or not.

This discussion is done.


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