Waiting for an iPhone SDK, improved Apple TV? Think Mac OS X Leopard

“Everyone was so excited to hear Steve Jobs say that the iPhone was built on a Mac OS X foundation that I think many people never really thought about the fact that he never specified which one. I believe that the iPhone is built on a Core Animation and Leopard foundation, and since some Leopard functions are still not public, Apple can’t release the SDK without (you knew this was coming) ‘letting the cat out of the bag,'” Carl Howe writes for Blackfriars’ Marketing.

“I have no direct confirmation of the statement above, but I have heard from developers that applications of all types are being held for the Leopard release. Why? Because they rely on either foundational data structures or features (typically Core Animation, but there are others; you can read about one rumored example here. I’ve made a similar claim about Apple TV as well; it won’t get its upgrades until after Leopard ships because it requires new OS-supported secure distribution services for high-definition and movie rental programming,” Howe writes.

MacDailyNews Note: Back in January, the well-regarded Apple expert Andy Ihnatko reported for The Chicago Sun-Times, “The iPhone runs the same OS as the Macintosh… Everything I’ve learned (both in official briefings and ‘you and I never spoke, all right?’ sort of discussions) says that it truly does run Leopard.”

Howe continues, “Now once the Leopard launch is complete and all the Leopard functions are public, all of these constraints will be relaxed… All good things come to those that wait. And Leopard and its support for iPhone functions is certainly worth waiting for.”

More in the full article here.


  1. Apple wont be stupid enough to lock in certain features on the iphone for Apple computers only……

    If so they would have done that already with the iPod or apple tv. the only reason the ipod has been such a success is because it works on all apple computers and the entire windows install base.

    The ONLY way this will be true is if apple opens up .Mac services to all computer users so you can have over the internet wireless sync of calenders, address book etc….

    I hope I am wrong, but I doubt I am.

  2. @eMax

    I don’t understand the comment. The features aren’t locked into the Macintosh, they are locked into the Macintosh OS, which is in the iPhone or AppleTV whether you sync to a Mac or to a Windows PC, at least where it has to do with iTunes integration.

    As for calenders and address books, there is nothing in this article that has anything to do with this. (I also know nothing about even trying to synch with Windows for this from my iPhone, as I only do this with my Mac, not my PC at the office).

  3. I tend to agree that iPhone is running an optimized Leopard.

    In January, when Jobs introduced the iPhone at MacWorld, he said that OS X had everything the iPhone would need, and he listed a bunch of attributes like “power management” and “networking.”

    On the slide behind him, “Core Animation” was listed. This is a Leopard feature and not a Tiger feature, no?

    I’m sure that when desktop Leopard is unleashed, we’ll see a number of features opened up–like to-do lists that integrate w/ the new Leopard to-do’s, etc.

  4. Dream on. Leopard has nothing to do with locking users out, it has to do with that multi-billion dollar juggernaut called iTunes. Apple is locking the user out of TV, the iPhone, and the iPod Touch for no other reason than to create a hardware based distribution network that keeps their digital content safe by not allow all those greedy users to do anything they don’t like.

  5. Of course it runs (pre-)Leopard. It’s not a secret. But if a SDK is being “held back,” then why wouldn’t they have just said so? It’s a perfectly reasonable course of action, and there’s no reason not to disclose that reason when everyone’s all pissed off.

  6. I hope they are right. I’m holding out for Apple TV until it gets a bit more reasonable in pricing and better tie in to iTunes/iPhone/iPod Touch. Wouldn’t it be nice to stream the content to your iPhone/iPod at home hassle free the Mac way? iPhone needs a lot of catching up to SmartPhones and the competition looks like they are going gang busters to get their stuff out this season.

    I hope Jobs and Co. do not sit on their laurels and do nothing, they need to slam dunk the competition.

  7. @eMax

    Just revisit the various Mac rumour/insider websites from around the Safari-launch.
    Apple seems to have ported a lot of the underlying libraries/frameworks to Windoze already.
    It’s all in Safari and iTunes.
    They could probably port the complete iLife and iWork, but currently choose not to release them. For one reason or the another.
    It’s probably enough that Steve and Bill in Redmond know that the Steve from California _could_ do it.
    It wouldn’t be too great for Apple either, because iLife & iWork is a USP of the Mac, but one thing is sure: the day iLife and/or iWork are released for Windows will be a very bad day for MSFT.

  8. @ Critic

    I guess I skimmed the article too fast. I will agree it is possible that 10.5 “features” will be “unlocked” when the real 10.5 is released, but I really dont see what would really be holding Apple back, 10.5 beta is supposed to be feature complete, so there isnt anything people havent seen, and it just doesn’t make sense that “movie rentals” should have anything to do with 10.5 unless it wont be through iTunes because iTunes is going to be available on windows and whatever makes them possible on OSX will have to be possible on Windows also.

    im not sure if that is more confusing or not, but my original comments still stand, however are not directly aimed properly at this article.

  9. What we might be missing is not necessarily that Windows or Tiger is missing stuff in Leopard, like Core Animation, but that the necessary APIs could be exposed in the Leopard frameworks.

    The iPhone SDK might just be Leopard Developer Tools.

    MW: bad, as in, “That wouldn’t be half-bad.”

  10. Hope they’re doing something to allow 3rd party apps. Did anyone else notice that MacBreak weekly and the Macworld podcast were taking Apple to task for the iBricking and their business practices as of late? I mean, c’mon:
    1. iBricks
    2. Dumbing down features on the iPod touch
    3. Making all prior video cables, etc incompatible
    4. Making you pay 99c for ring tones on songs that you’ve already bought
    5. Making games you’ve already bought incompatible with new pods
    Maybe this is all a bunch of little mistakes made in a row, but i’m not happy with how Cupertino’s been acting lately. Anyone else feel the same way?

  11. I still say that this is more about Apple’s OS team being wrapped up in Leopard development. They delayed Leopard to “finish” iPhone (or at least to get it into a deliverable state), and now they’ve all been pulled back to the Leopard team to get a stable release ready. Once Leopard is released, they can put more people on iPhone and XCode 3 for Leopard/iPhone/AppleTV/iPod Touch. One tool for software development for all “versions” of OS X. And they’ll finish up or change out the current iPhone OS with all of the Leopard features that got left out because they weren’t ready for the show. Apple can’t afford to put out a product that only MS would consider stable. No one would buy Macs or iPhones if they ran like XP or, even worse, Vista.

  12. re: recovering kool-aid drinker

    1. iBricks – serves you right for hacking the iPhone. I have no sympathy.
    2. Dumbing down iPod touch – one word “Zune”
    3. My cables work and so does my 3rd party headphones on my iPhone
    4. 99c ringtones – cheapest ringtones offered by any cellphone carrier. Plus I can make my own from CDs I’ve ripped.
    5. Don’t know anything about the game thing since I didn’t buy any to begin with.

    I feel better about the way Cupertino is acting than Redmond, Verizon, the music labels suing consumers, etc. No company, and no person for that matter, will ever please everyone but Apple has most consumers and stockholders interests in mind with their business decisions.

    Plus I haven’t had kool aid since the 70s.

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