Is Apple’s stance on Web-only iPhone apps viable long-term?

“The iPhone, perhaps the hottest smartphone in the history of smartphones, lacks one of the most basic functions of pretty much every other smartphone on the market: the ability to accept, load and save third-party applications. Apple’s conciliatory approach to address the situation is to allow users access to third-party applications via the built-in Safari browser,” Chris Maxcer writes for MacNewsWorld.

“The iPhone version of Safari doesn’t support Java or Adobe’s Flash, which leaves out a couple of key technologies that help create rich applications — though Apple has at least seemed amenable to delivering Flash support at some unspecified future date,” Maxcer writes.

“Still, many Web-based applications for both personal and business use, as well as a handful of games, function fine via the iPhone, and some are even being developed and marketed specifically for the iPhone,” Maxcer writes. “However, is this a viable long-term method? Some third-party developers have created a mini industry around building and selling applications for smartphones — can they turn their innovation to the iPhone? Less than three months after the iPhone launched, more questions than answers abound when it comes to third-party applications.”

Full article here.

40 Comments

  1. We need “approved” 3rd party apps. like the ability to install google chat or GPS software.

    3rdparty development is needed, but it doesn’t need to be wide open so anyone can just create something for it.

    This will allow apple’s “security”, maintain quality. and provide the mass people with extra software and functionanlity.

    lets face it, edge is not fast enough to really use seamlessly for add on apps. and Wi-Fi is not always available.

  2. I think they will do it but for the time being they want it all under their control. The majority of apps written by 3rd parties would be great, but it just takes one app to get a bit of traction and then to start causing problems and it tarnishes the whole thing. At least web apps are in a sandbox of sorts. Apple don’t have to worry about them or manage their implementation.

    I can live with that.

  3. The iPhone is a computer. It should act like one. I don’t care who makes the app, just that it works. I am rarely near a WiFi hotspot and Safari apps are just too slow. It is about time Apple stopped acting like Verizon and open up the iPhone features.

  4. Do not ask for what you think you want just because other business have it already! namely mobile wince.

    If the iphone were to be subjected to wince type apps, it would soon start to languish behind the other so called smart phones because no doubt someone somewhrer would be paid to write an app that would slow down all the other apps on it, if not just bring it down altogether.

    The iphone will only be opened up to developers as you think it should when Apple inc are satisfied that the foundation they have built for it will not be eroded by malicious activities.

    Never forget that in order for you to activate your iphone, you have had to provide alot of personal detail including your bank account details in order to set up a direct debit account for yourself. Why are you so keen to provide all that information to Lazy Bastards who’d rather steal your hard earned money rather than earn it themselves?!!!!!!

    UNLESS OF COURSE YOU ARE THE GREEDY BASTARD WHO WOULD JUST LOVE TO BE ABLE TO DO SO!

  5. Opening up the iPhone is probably a good idea, but it’s ridiculous to say that iPhone isn’t already a “smartphone”.

    Since the iPhone downloads and runs Web applications (Javascript, Ajax, etc.) it is clearly a smartphone. Just because other “smartphones” can’t really do that seems like a bad reason for excluding iPhone from the club.

    iPhone can also download and store Web applications as “data:” urls. That is, a multi-megabyte URL containing an entire application can be saved as a bookmark! For example, here’s a link to a very nice scientific calculator for the iPhone that works that way: “http://scicalc.belfry.com/”. No need to be online to use this.

  6. a lot of people are forgetting how ‘mature’ a lot of other phone os’s are, and how new the mobile osx is, its all baby steps, people want everything NOW, apple is thinking long term and is pacing itself, for a 1st effort its pretty amazing. google maps is a 3rd party app so im sure we’ll see other appear slowly and games. Quality control people

  7. I agree with MXN, they will open it eventually, but they need to get the software perfected first. People have different standards for their phones than they have for their computers.

    Also, Apple has said that they won’t stop people from developing and loading applications to the phone, they just won’t support them either. I think this solution, for the time being, is just fine. People who need/want certain capabilities can experiment at their own risk.

    I am glad Apple is concentrating on refining the phone UI (which is incredible but can still be improved).

  8. Thank you eMax for deciding that we should only have “approved” apps for the iPhone. I guess I couldn’t write an app myself then. Because “approved” would mean that someone would have to pay Apple enough money to get approved. This also would mean there would be no open source apps to choose from.

    Replace the word iPhone with the word Mac and see if this would be reasonable for only “approved” apps.

    How about something as simple as a terminal window? With SSH built-in. I’d love to be able to get a call about something wrong with a server and then be able to log in to that server remotely from my iPhone using an SSH connection. That would rock. And plenty of smart phones already have that capability.

  9. The new Zune 2 Phone with the patented “Squircle” navigation system will be released with full 3rd party support now and in the long term. In fact, I have it in high authority that the new Zune 2 code named ( backdoor ) will have new PMSS ( precognitive mood sensing system ) developed by a secreted 3rd party company. The background color will change according to your moods. Imagine your on a long road trip and the first rest stop is 10 miles away and the next one is 60 miles away. When your white Zune turns brown in the background its time to go poo poo on your first stop. Even if you don’t fee the “Urge” to purge, Zune 2 with PMSS will tell you to do so. Now thats what I call innovation from Redmond. Bill Gates and Ballmer once again has surpassed Jobs with useful innovative ideas.

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