A discussion that Dan Pourhadi and I had over iChat late last night.This strikes me as the perfect way to get started blogging about my opinions and insights about what's going on with Apple without a lot of effort. Enjoy!
A few things:
The select "lucky ducks"? Almost certainly Apple's strategic partners- Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and a very select few small Mac developers who are threatened with losing their heads if they speak a word of it to anyone.Why didn't they do this before? Why the "Web apps are sweet" nonsense? I think there are a few reasons:
- Apple's dev tools probably sucked. I have to imagine that Apple's own tools for development on the iPhone were something cobbled together out of bubble gum and paper clips, just enough to get the stuff written and the iPhone shipped. Then, once 1.0 is out the door, they got the time to forge better tools that might be fit for 3rd party consumption.
- They couldn't figure out how to secure it. The iPhone, as it stands right now, runs everything as root. Yeah, really. Keeping an app in a sandbox that keeps it away from the GSM radio without wasting a ton of processor cycles and RAM on something like a Java virtual machine is a fairly tall order. I'm very curious to see what they've come up with for solving this problem. I would hope that it doesn't restrict hardware features unnecessarily ("No, you can't use the accelerometer! Not yours!")
- The hackers have done some really impressive stuff. Apple completely underestimated the drive and ingenuity of the iPhone hacker crowd. Just a few examples:
- Navizon- GPS-like location via cell tower and WiFi hotspot mapping
- TapTapRevolution- tap on the screen in time with your songs
- Labyrinth- uses the accelerometer to guide a ball through a maze, like those wooden boxes we used to play with as kids
By the way- looking back on Jobs's comment about rogue phone "taking down the AT&T west coast network", I sort of see what he means. Yes, you can install software on your Treos and whatnot, but if the iPhone hits an iPod-like level of popularity (and it certainly looks like it's going that way), malware for the iPhone will be a huge problem. And yes- hundreds of thousands of iPhones all set to dial a 1-900 phone sex number at the same time would certainly be capable of bringing down part of the AT&T network, and bring in lots of dough for the scammer, to boot.
Anyway, I can't wait for the iPhone SDK to show up and the iPhone software that's out there now to "go legit". Because I have to believe that what we've seen so far is only the beginning...