Apple Opens iPhone to Developers

Oct. 17, 2007 12:41 PM ETApple Inc. (AAPL)3 Comments
SA Eli Hoffmann profile picture
SA Eli Hoffmann
5.06K Followers

In a much-speculated move, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Wednesday the company will open up the iPhone to software developers, allowing them to create native applications, a reversal of its previous policy that limited iPhone apps to those that run through its web browser. In a letter posted on Apple's website, Jobs said the company will release a software development kit [SDK] in February 2008. "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," he said (full text follows). Apple's initial policy, that limited the iPhone to browser based apps in the name of protecting users from viruses and malicious code, prompted some software developers to claim Apple was wielding a too-heavy hand over the iPhone. Some developers found ways to circumvent the limitation, but Apple countered by saying that unauthorized software could 'brick' iPhones when future Apple software updates are downloaded. The SDK will also allow developers to design apps for the new iPod touch. Apple shares are up 1.1% in midday trading.

Full text of Apple letter:

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. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

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. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones—this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Some companies are already taking action. 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. 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.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.

Steve

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SA Eli Hoffmann profile picture
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Seeking Alpha mourns the loss of Eli Hoffmann, beloved manager, friend and guiding light. Please read the testaments, below. ------------------ I am Seeking Alpha's COO and Editor-in-Chief. My love for the stock markets goes back to when I was a kid. Who else remembers combing through the stock quotes at the back of the business section of your local paper?I joined Seeking Alpha in 2006 and launched Wall Street Breakfast and Market Currents, now known as Breaking News, our top-of-class short-form breaking news for investors. In 2010 I became editor-in-chief and in 2015 I became CEO. In March 2020, David Jackson, our founder, stepped back in as CEO and appointed me COO.I live in Jerusalem with my wife and a bunch of exceptional kids. Most days, you'll find me making the commute from Jerusalem to Raanana. Occasionally I get to work from my home-office, from where I keep an eye on the beautiful Judean Hills. (Note: Until further notice, I am ONLY working from Jerusalem, with all my kids standing on my head. I look forward to getting back to a more normal schedule together with everyone else.)
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