So the latest with the iPhone OS sdk is that you must write your source code in C, C++, or Objective-C. This basically bars third party cross compilers from allowing devs from other languages/platforms from building Apps without going all in on the iPhone. From apple’s view I guess they look at it as a faith thing: Make sure the dev house is fully commited to the iPhone eco system and has huge money sunk in to prove they are good members of the religion. Apple has presented it as a way to keep the quality up and the Apps using the latest and gratest API’s. Problem is that those arguements fail as currently:

  • Their is garbage on there built in objective c
  • Many of the most popular games use cross compiling tech
  • Using the 3 languages does not mean that new api’s won’t be too much work to add to a given app

I suppose Apple could demand that apps add the API’s or block an app’s next upgrade release after the API’s have been released.

This all goes, in my opinion, back to the control Apple is flexing just raising the cost of development on the platform. Maybe EA Sports can take the chance something will be denied but say your an independant/small firm – will you cash out your 401k, kids college fund, or the rainy day fund to learn the languages, hire devs, learn the build tools etc to then wait and see if Apple deams you worthy? I didn’t think so. It’s really the cadillac phone for cadillac developers who have money to gamble in time and resources. As someone who works for smaller companies the risk is too great. You could be denied. If your approved, your in a sea of 180,000 other apps. Since your app must go out via the store you have no ability to host the app image on your site, email it out, etc. Your marketing ability is severly limited. There is no solution for private apps built by enterprises for only their employees.

This leads to quite a high cost of entry which is not what the web has ever been about-code, techniques, frameworks, and platforms have always been pushing to reduce cost of entry. WordPress makes setting up blogs easy, isp’s offer 1 click installs to make the cost of deployment even less. PHP became popular as a free server to counter jsp and asp. Almost all useful JS libraries are free to use. You can use any process to write your code and then generate html/js from that-browsers aren’t allowed to not render it because you used a convrsion tool to spit out html pages. The iPhone eco system is actually raising the cost of entry with each release. Giving you no sense if or when your app will be approved, forcing the html5 angle (which is not a ratified spec and is seriously lacking IDE’s) over Flash for heavy media content, forcing you to learn only their supported languages, blocking cross compilers. So overall I see this as a continuation of the Apple tradition of increasing cost to play in their garden.

Even a tool like Titanium or Adobe Air which support html/js app development won’t be supported since they cross compile that “accepted” language to an app bytecode. So html/js is okay for safari mobile but not when it’s converted.

it’s ironic this is the company that the standard lovers/flash haters hold up as leading the march to the non-plugin web. Yet that same company when it comes to the iPhone OS they are completely focused on abstracting the web via their closed App format. When was the last time you saw an ad for the browser on the iPhone? That’s because they are focusing on apps which they get 30% of. You going to a internet site makes them no money-they’d rather you download a non-free app that presents the same content in an approved form that makes them $. So really your experiencng not the full internet but the Apple sanitized and monetized internet. Which Apple can enforce via it’s lock down of the app store and it’s leverage over developers once they have heavy investment. It’s a platform of prisoners who have to ask is the “pain of leaving less than the pain of staying”. Reminds me of the large LMS providers. Remember when the 1st iPhone came out and Apple was saying that all apps should be through the browser? What happened? Money happened-they realized how much they could make by shackling the iPhone to ATT, apps to the app store, devs to their tooling, and blocking any other tech that may take money away-flash, silverlight, unity, java, etc.

I just re-read Jobs DRM letter:
“The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.”

Steve, imagine a platform where developers can use the tools they like as long as it produces iPhone OS byte code that is valid. Don’t setup rules that increase devs cost of entry-it will only hurt you in the long run. Let consumers decide if they want to buy cross compiled apps or go to flash enabled sites.

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