By now you have surely heard all the hullabaloo around Apple Adobe and iPhone/iPad development. Until recently, Apple’s position was understandable from a business perspective, in that, if they allowed Flash applications to run on the iPhone, iPhone customers could use free Flash applications over the web, and not have to buy them from the Apple store.
While this position sucks for apples customers, they remain a loyal bunch, who continue to seek out new ways to tithe to their mothership.
Adobe has been quietly pleading with Apple to reverse this position, but has been working on alternative ways of allowing developers to build applications which can be deployed to the Web, Desktop, or any Mobile device, including those by Apple. Chief among these efforts was the Creative Suite 5 Packager for iPhone which is scheduled for release in the next few days.
Yesterday (4/8/2010) apple announced the iPhone OS4, and release a new set of Terms of Service, which amongst other things, explicitly forbids iPhone/iPad development with 3rd party tools (such as the CS5 packager mentioned above).
This is clearly going to far. Its bad enough that developers who want to build apps for apple devices already need to pay $99 + 30% of all revenue to Apple. Now, they also need to use apples tools to build these applications.
The reaction to this has been varied. The followers of the “Cult of Apple” see this, and everything else Steve Jobs does, as as good move, which will save humanity from itself. Adobe supporters have reacted with outrage, including (but not limited to) Jesse (TheFlashBum) Freeman calling on Adobe to stop developing software for MacOS.
Oddly, many of the MacOS fans I know first switched to Apple from Windows because they despised Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices. Funny, of all the anti-competitive steps MS has ever taken have been much less harmful than those taken by Apple recently.
Of course, Apple claims they won’t support flash because its not “open.” This is hilariously hypocritical, as Apple’s devices are the least open things out there. To write an iPhone application, you need to use approved development tools, get apples approval on the software you write, and sell it through apples store. Which of these things seems open to you? Did I mention that the Adobe opened the source code for the Flash Player, when they donated it to the Tamarin project (http://www.mozilla.org/projects/tamarin/). Strange how the closed can criticize the open for lack of openness, and be believed by so many.
As I’m not a MacOS person, I have no Mac to burn in effigy, but instead of buying a new iPod, as I had planned, instead I picked up a ZuneHD.
In short, if Apple wants to screw over their customers, I simply see that as between them and their customers, and can only react by not being a customer. However, I wonder where all the new iPhone apps will come from, after Apple is done alienating all the developers of the world.