Feeds

Apple lifts iPhone code ban (for chosen few)

'Steve Jobs,' says Google man. 'You fail at open'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Steve Jobs has lifted his outright ban on iPhone interpreted code, allowing some developers to interpret, but not others.

In the recently updated terms of service for the iPhone SDK, Apple says it will allow interpreted code — but only with its written permission.

The move is yet another indication that Jobs is restricting iPhone development not so much to control security and performance, but to keep particular applications from particular companies off Apple handhelds, including not only the iPhone but the iPad and the iPod touch, which use the same SDK. In his much-discussed open letter on Adobe Flash, the Apple cult leader said he's intent on keeping cross-platform development tools from gaining a foothold on Jobsian handhelds, and this would seem to be the primary aim of the ban on interpreted code.

Famously, when Apple released its iPhone SDK in spring of 2008, the end user licensing agreement barred applications from downloading and running any interpreted code. "No interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s)," it said.

This keep the likes of Adobe Flash and Java off the Jesus Phone, as well as third-party browsers such as Firefox. Opera has put its Mini browser on the iPhone, but this doesn't interpret code. It taps into proxy servers that intercept and compress webpages before sending them down to the handset.

Apple as Hal

But as pointed out by the Apple Outsider blog and as you can see here, Apple has updated its terms of service to allow interpreted code with the company's written consent. "Unless otherwise approved by Apple in writing, no interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s)," the terms now read.

"Notwithstanding the foregoing, with Apple’s prior written consent, an Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application."

Notice the word "minor." It would seem that the new terms continue to bar third-party browsers and cross-platform tools such as Flash and Java — but that should go without saying. As the Apple Outsider blog puts it: "Apple’s aversion to interpreted code and external runtimes is the potential for someone else to take the platform over."

Jobs is so intent on keeping cross-platform development tools of the iPhone — and the iPad and iPod touch — that he has also banned applications that have been translated from languages that aren't officially supported by the SDK. By all indications, this edict was put into place to prevent developers from using Adobe's iPhone packager, which converted Flash script into iPhone machine code.

Adobe cried foul. Platform evangelist Lee Brimelow even told Apple to "go screw yourself," and Jobs eventually responded with his open letter. The letter criticized Flash on multiple levels, but ultimately Jobs made it clear he was barring the technology from his devices because it's a cross-platform development.

"We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform," Jobs wrote. "This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms.

"Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms."

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
(Not so) Instagram now: Time-shifting Hyperlapse iPhone tool unleashed
Photos app now able to shoot fast-moving videos
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.