43 Folders muses on the openness – or otherwise – of the iPhone as a computing platform

Picture of iPhone

I’d feel like Apple was abandoning an opportunity to make this more than a phone, and more that an iPod, and even — let’s be frank about the elephant in the room — much more than a Palm or a Pocket PC. There’s the potential here for some serious George Jetson shit and it would be a pity not to capitalize on that as early as possible.

I can very much sympathise with the wish for at least a relatively open platform for developers. And, yes, the iPhone is a different beast from the iPod, but the iPod has remained securely locked down – apart, that is, from games and Linux hacks. For my part, I’ve used the ? software as a plug-in to liven up iTunes’ sound output. I would love to have this on my iPod as well, but requests by the developer have been entirely ignored. I can’t help but suspect a similar situation will apply to apps for the iPhone (widgets may be different). This is still the honeymoon stage, with the device literally locked behind glass or only held in the hands of company reps, but once it’s out in the wild, there’ll be a blizzard of user feedback and the last thing Apple will want is the messiness of third party software and uncontrollable issues.

Link: 43 Folders: Let OS X developers at the iPhone. Please.

This NYT article: “>Phone shows Apple’s impact on consumer products sheds some light on the situation:

Mr. Jobs is moving in that direction, too, but it appears that he wants to control his device much more closely than his competitors.

“We define everything that is on the phone,” he said. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.”


“These are devices that need to work, and you can’t do that if you load any software on them,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.”


2 Responses to 43 Folders muses on the openness – or otherwise – of the iPhone as a computing platform

  1. carmen says:

    between Greenphone and OpenMoko, im not sure why anyone is claiming about a lack of an open phone. i gues people just want apple to be the best of both worlds – which is not going to happen as long as Steve is around

  2. Colin says:

    Yes, openness isn’t one of Apple’s primary characteristics. It’s a miracle that they (generally) produce such good products. They’re example number one when it comes to arguments about benevolent dictators.

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