No iPhone apps for you! (kinda, yet)
Tuesday, Jun 12, 2007
Amidst the Leopard demos and Safari for Windows announcement, Steve Jobs clarified Apple's position on 3rd party iPhone development by saying that anyone can write an iPhone app by writing an Ajax-equipped webapp that will run in the iPhone's Safari browser.

Jobs threw disappointed developers a bone by promising hooks in to the resident phone, email, and maps applications, most likely by way of a one-way feed protocol (eg 'call://408-767-2775').

More than likely this is a stopgap maneuver while Apple makes their own APIs more stable and secure. In the meantime it appears that developers and end users won't have a way to fill any of the four remaining icon bays, nor will they be able to run a 'just as good as the real thing' webapp without Safari's chrome.

On the plus side, webapps are much easier to develop, 'install', and update. On the minus side they most likely won't have phone-side storage, and certainly won't have any facility for proactive notifications, say when an order comes in or your friend finally made their move in your telepresent chess game. Developers will most likely have to rely on SMS messages with embedded URLs for that kind of notification.

The coveted icon space is still the holy grail. By the way, those familiar with the South Bay might notice that the pin in the Maps icon is at the entrance to Apple's Infinite Loop headquarters.

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Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
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I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

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