Developers miffed about Apple’s third-party iPhone apps solution

“Perhaps it’s playing well in the mainstream press, but here at WWDC, Apple’s ‘you can write great apps for the iPhone: they’re called ‘web sites’’ – message went over like a lead balloon,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball.

Gruber writes, “It’s insulting, because it’s not a way to write iPhone apps, and you can’t bullshit developers. It’s a matter of spin. What Apple should have announced is something like this: “We know that you want to write your own apps for iPhone, and we’d like to see that too. We love the apps you write for the Mac, and we’d love to see what you might be able to come up with for iPhone. We’re thinking about it, and working on ways that we might make that happen, but we don’t have anything to announce today. The good news, though, is that because iPhone has a real Safari web browser, you can write web-based apps that work great on iPhone.”

Gruber writes, “That wasn’t what the developers here at WWDC wanted to hear, but at least it wouldn’t have been insulting.”

Another reason why Apple developed and released Safari for Windows, according to Gruber, “is simply money. Safari is a free download, but it’s already one of Apple’s most profitable software products.”

It’s not widely publicized, but those integrated search bars in web browser toolbars are revenue generators. When you do a Google search from Safari’s toolbar, Google pays Apple a portion of the ad revenue from the resulting page,” Gruber explains. “My somewhat-informed understanding is that Apple is currently generating about $2 million per month from Safari’s Google integration. That’s $25 million per year. If Safari for Windows is even moderately successful, it’s easy to see how that might grow to $100 million per year or more.”

Full article, with more about Leopard, Jobs’ scant list of “top secrets,” that the new Dock that only works visually at the bottom of the screen, and more, here.

98 Comments

  1. RE: The dock only works at the bottom of the screen in Leopard? OUCH

    ———-

    WRONG!

    Did you even see the keynote video??

    I think you need to get your eyes tested.

    SJ showed the dock working on the left and right hand side.

    I recommend you actually watch the keynote before stating any obvious errors.

  2. I myself couldn’t believe Steve Jobs would say that to a bunch of developers. It’s like he forgot who he was speaking to.

    Of all the people that might be able to see through that bullshit, you picked them?

    It sounded like he was talking to a random crowd of young iPod users that would clap, nod and grunt like seals. “Oooo, no SDK necessary!”

    That RDF isn’t bulletproof, Steve.

  3. > The dock only works at the bottom of the screen in Leopard? OUCH

    What are you talking about? In the demo, Steve Jobs showed it working on the left side.

    And what does that have to do with iPhone apps?

    I think the developers who are complaining are short-sighted. Web-based apps are the future. Looking back 2-3 years from the future, these complaints that they can’t write apps that reside on the device will look silly.

  4. There are still plenty of great reasons to upgrade to Leopard, it’s just that we found out most of them last year and now they seem old hat. A lot of them are under the hood. Full 64-bit support will increase speed as developers take advantage of it. Leopard has not been introduced with Apple’s usual flair for PR, but it’s still a solid improvement.

  5. Remember this is the 1st generation iPhone – developers should be bloody relieved that there IS actually a way of developing 3rd party apps for iPhone!

    Apple could have quite easily just locked it all down and said “fuck you – we aint having crap software ruining the user experience on our new product”.

    Yes it’s using web standards, BUT remember web standards are there for a reason, and that reason is almost guaranteeing that ANY app you right will work on iphone or on ANY mac at without any re-coding.

    Whether people like it or not, this is the future of app development.

    Everyone in the software business is starting to concentrate on ‘web apps’ – going soon are the days of installing software on your mac.

    Apple knows this and to be honest all the developers do too but are affraid to make the leap of faith to do it.

    Just look at Google – they beat Microsoft to the post to develop a web ‘office’ suite. Microsoft know they are in danger of losing Office’s domination because of this.

    You can bet your family fortune that Microsoft is working 24/7 on a web suite of Office.

    The future is web apps – and Apple knows this.

  6. Apple is still learning how to play nice with “partners.” They’re very used to getting their way when it comes to the user’s experience, but in this field, they’re going to have to learn to give up some control, I think– or have less than stellar sales performance for iPhone.

    I think Apple/Steve is only on the verge of realizing that many people would hoist Apple up as the next Microsoft. So, here’s the rub– to be that big means to have to be a little more like M$ perhaps. I’m not working in this field, but I wonder why Apple doesn’t implement some sort of pay and play membership for iPhone developers that would require a great deal of scrutiny of the code used. This would help to promote security and keep the riff-raff out.

    Anyone have any idea why this isn’t being done?

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