Apple iPhone Mobile mobile 2.0

Why No Apple iPhone 3rd Party Apps?

Although many OS X developers out there were salivating over the prospect of potentially creating apps for the Apple iPhone, the consensus on the web and blogosphere is that Apple is not about to do that. I believe there are two big reasons why they are right.

Firstly, Apple is renowned for its tight control over the iPod. They never opened up the iPod for 3rd party apps, so why should they start opening it up for the iPhone (which essentially is an iPod with phone functions)? Let’s imagine that they let poor quality 3rd party apps to be installed on their iPods. The result is a poor image of Apple when Joe Schmoe decides to show off the app to his friends. Of course, the opposite could hold true where a killer 3rd party app gets shown, and the result is that Apple gets free good publicity. If you were Apple, would you take that chance?

Secondly, remember that they have a relationship with Cingular. Cingular would crap their pants if some 3rd party developer (i.e. Skype) created a VOIP application that allows people to by-pass the Cingular network to make calls. Think of the potential loss of revenue on Cingular’s part and you can understand why Apple would be hesitant to open up the iPhone for 3rd party apps. Of course, this assumes that Apple does indeed care about their partner Cingular and that it is not just a case of the “tail wagging the dog” syndrome. If Apple does call the shots (tail wagging the dog), then this argument goes out the window.

Finally, let’s not lose complete hope for 3rd party support. Apple did show off widgets functionality which in essence is really just Dashboard widgets for the phone. Dashboard widgets are really just a sandboxed web programming environment using JavaScript. Also, you have the Safari mobile browser built-in. There are a ton of web apps out there, and if people are willing to live online exclusively for their 3rd party apps, then this should not be too much of a problem.

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