I'm reading articles about the recently released iPhone SDK on the web, and in several cases the news is that Apple is greatly restricting the applications that can be deployed. Most of this seems to be nothing more than alarmist bad journalism. Apple says that it will restrict things like VOIP over AT&T's network and porn, but not a whole lot more. Other restrictions, including application signing, seem to show that they've spent some time thinking about security more than they seem to be tying the hands of developers.
The truth as I see it is that the SDK that was released is almost too good to be true. It's free, comes with a full blown IDE, robust API's, profiler, debugger, GUI-builder, support for many advanced technologies and even a desktop simulator. Additionally, Apple's model allows almost anyone to develop an application and have it distributed.
The best example of the sensationalistic and fear mongering that I've read comes from Alexander Wolfe over at InformationWeek. What a tard. His article titled, "iPhone SDK Developers Angry At Apple's Tight Control" seems to have misrepresented every fact possible. He obviously didn't spend very much time researching his claims and he cites sources such as, "One commenter on Slashdot."
How many of Wolfe's complaints about the SDK are actually his own ignorance regarding the release? Read his piece and then look at the comments on the piece. He should be spanked by his editor.
How many factual errors can you fine in just this first half of his article?
Steve Jobs giveth, but only a little bit, and only when his hand is forced. This is the case with the iPhone SDK, which is both a parry against Google's Android tool kit and a recognition (in the wake of Apple's iBricking scandal) that iPhone owners want third-party apps, no matter what. But Apple's stated intention to tightly control all apps built with the SDK -- and you can bet they'll do so-- is causing lots of complaining among developers.
Apple's mindset is apparent from the get-go. They've gone non-disclosure crazy with the iPhone SDK, though admittedly no more nuts than usual. Here, what they're doing is keeping the all the stuff people want to know under much tighter wraps than they need to. For example, you can download the iPhone SDK for free, but you have to pony up $99 to get at the really good documentation, sample code, and developers' videos.
OK, that's relatively minor. Pay the $99 and be done with it. I think the bigger problem for developers is going to be death by a thousand cuts. By this, I mean that Apple never seems to put all its cards on the table at once. For example, on Sunday Phonemag reported that the SDK contains a tidbit noting that the iPhone won't run more than one app at a time, so when users switch applications, whatever is running in the background will get killed.
From Apple's standpoint, this is done to maintain decent performance. However, developers are likely to see it as just another screwing. Me, I want to know what's supposed to happen if you're in the middle of something important and your iPhone rings. Does your app blow up?