Why the iPhone is closed to developers

2007-01-14 05:22:24 UTC

In MacBreak episode 56, Merlin Mann talks to (among other people) Dan Moren of MacUser, who I think inadvertently states the reason why Apple has not released an SDK for the iPhone. From 1m25s:

Merlin Mann: And what I wanna know from you is, if you had a software development kit today, and you could walk home and, I don’t know, go learn Xcode, and make the application of your choice, what would you put on an iPhone?

Dan Moren: I think that the most compelling thing is to take on Cisco with their iPhone, with the VoIP capabilities? I mean, I’d like to see some Skype on the iPhone. If you got the WiFi in there, you got some, you know, 3G or something, but for those of us who don’t wanna switch to Cingular, you know, and you still want some voice capabilities, why not be able to develop a Skype, put in some voice communication application in there, … it’d be great to have some kind of AIM functionality too.

I think that’s it. The iPhone is closed because if it wasn’t, you’d be able to use the iPhone without continually paying for Cingular phone calls or SMS (by using Skype and $IM_SERVICE instead).

That means that if they do make an SDK, it won’t be available until at least two years from June.

2 Responses to “Why the iPhone is closed to developers”

  1. Elliott Harris Says:

    It’s like you took the thoughts right out of my head. :)

  2. Mort666 Says:

    Thing is this is totally unlikely. Remember this Nokia, Palm and Sony Ericsson pretty much everyone else that produces Cellular phones are producing their next generation phones with WiFi support, just look at the Nokia E61 and Sony Ericsson P990i. They have WiFi and VoIP clients built in, hell the Telco ’3′ actually has signed a deal with Skype to ship phones with a Skype client built in.

    Basically most of the design features of the iPhone are as a result of the backward thinking of a single US telco, the exclusion of 3G is one example, every telco outside of the US is moving away from providing data services over EDGE and GPRS. It costs them too much in license fees to Nokia and Ericsson. Actually restricting the device in such a way will hurt Apple, as the market for a GSM based phone bigger outside of the USA, and if they are to compete with Nokia and Sony Ericsson and the other established phone providers outside the US they will need to provide more.

  3. Peter Hosey Says:

    Remember this Nokia, Palm and Sony Ericsson pretty much everyone else that produces Cellular phones are producing their next generation phones with WiFi support, just look at the Nokia E61 and Sony Ericsson P990i. They have WiFi and VoIP clients built in, hell the Telco ’3′ actually has signed a deal with Skype to ship phones with a Skype client built in.

    Well, the iPhone has WiFi too. The difference is that those other two phones are not tied to a carrier—the iPhone is tied to Cingular and relies on carrier support for some features (e.g. visual voice-mail), which means that Cingular gets a certain amount of say in what the iPhone can and can’t do. My guess, derived from Dan Moren’s statement, is that no SDK is one of the terms of Apple’s agreement with Cingular.

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