Feeds

Developers to Mr Jobs: tear down this wall!

Apple faces calls to open iPhone

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Office 2.0 Conference Apple is facing fresh calls to open the iPhone as new evidence emerged of the technical and legal challenges developers face putting their software on the device.

Delegates attending the Office 2.0 Conference have voiced concern over the iPhone's closed architecture, lack of developer tools, and the fact its version of Apple's Safari browser lacks common web plug ins they said needlessly complicate the process of porting software and online services to the device.

And it's not just Web 2.0 start-ups making the noise. SAP, the world's largest supplier of business applications, has pitched in, saying Apple gave the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as the reason it can't install its software on the iPhone.

SAP had hacked its code onto an iPhone as a proof of concept, which is now on hold.

Apple's reality re-defining chief executive Steve Jobs launched the iPhone amid much hype and fan-boy clamor in June. Jobs attempted to offset the obvious drawback of his decision to make the iPhone a closed platform by offering a "sweet work around" in the form of writing applications to the browser in AJAX.

However, SAP's former general manager for emerging solutions Dennis Moore, now CEO for device manufacturer OQO, told the Office 2.0 conference it's not enough to write only to the browser, and serious business and consumer software needs to be able to deploy locally.

"A rich internet experience is important but it's not sufficient to meet people's needs yet. I call on Apple to open up the platform so people can deploy on it," Moore said.

Earlier he'd pointed out the limitations of relying purely on online services, as lack of network availability and bandwidth, and poor replication and back up.

TJ Kang, chief executive of hosted Office suite ThinkFree backed Moore saying he knew hosted providers who'd wasted two man months porting their online spreadsheets to the iPhone, because of deficiencies in Apple's Safari browser.

According to Kang, AJAX struggles, JavaScript crashes and only simple HTML can run properly. The problem is iPhone's Safari doesn't use the same architecture or plug-ins as Safari for the desktop. "Software developers are finding... even though our AJAX based applications run in Safari, we have to make a lot of modifications to make it run well on the iPhone browser," Kang said.

"It's like the early days of Java. Not like write once and run everywhere. It's a lot like write once debug and modify everywhere. It's something we have to live with."

SAP's senior vice president of Imagineering Denis Browne told The Register SAP had followed the lead of community developers in putting its code on the iPhone, but Apple objected. "The community wants this open and available, to put applications in there that are feature rich and business capable," Browne said.

As a first step towards openness, Browne hopes Apple will release an iPhone SDK and improve Safari's support for Flash and Java. Beyond that, Browne said the iPhone must become more like RIM's Blackberry in security and keypad, and support corporate email. Until things change, SAP's iPhone code hacking days seem over.

SAP is interested in putting its applications on the iPhone as part of a strategy in increasing its availability on new platforms for mobile business users.®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.