Get an iPhone in the Hands of Your Developers

Apple has stated that they will control the iPhone platform and not open it up to developers. They have also inferred that they will support Dashboard Widgets on the iPhone. Most Dashboad Widgets are just HTML and JavaScript. You can use DashCode to create them. You can do a lot with these tools and there are over 2,000 publicly available Widgets. Like Vista Gadgets and Yahoo! Widgets, users can create simple apps focused on very simple common tasks. More experienced Widget programmers can reach beyond WebKit and run real code. In order to do this you need an SDK.

* Apple should make an SDK for the iPhone available and encourage users to develop new apps for the iPhone. There are a handful of apps I use all the time on my Palm that I would want to replace with equivalent widgets on my new iPhone.

* Apple should give all WWDC attendees an iPhone tomorrow. I know I am dreaming but what a great investment it would be if Apple wants to have some apps there a soon as the iPhone launches. This is not without precedent. In 2003 Apple gave all attendees of WWDC an iSight. This spawned all kinds of video-related development like Delicious Library. I’m sure Apple could work out the logistics of the AT&T contract. The key is to get it into the hands of the developers soon. This could be accomplished via the Apple Developer Connection store to allow developers to order an iPhone right away.

* Apple should release an iPhone simulator. This is not as good as the real thing but it has worked for Palm and WAP developers to let them test their apps quickly.

If Apple does allow third party widgets on the iPhone it will surely be in a walled garden to protect the stability of the system. Apple will highly curtail what information is exposed to those apps and what those apps are allowed to update. Apple can much better handle the bad press describing them as having a draconian and controlling hold on the platform than they could handle a report of a malicious or poorly-designed Widget destroying data or running up a monster cell phone bill. It easy to understand Apple’s protectionism but opening the platform up is the only way to insure longevity and take the platform in directions that Steve Jobs has not thought of or shudders to think of.

One Reply to “Get an iPhone in the Hands of Your Developers”

  1. Apple released Safari for Windows to address the need for a developer tool Developers can test their projects in Safari since it is the same browser on the iPhone.

    -Douglas

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