And rightly so.
We believe that Apple has created an environment where great software can really thrive.
I still feel this way about the Mac, but I no longer consider the iPhone or the iPad worthy of such sentiment because of the draconian terms under which one must operate to develop for those platforms.
What Apple’s engineers have done with the iPhone is amazing. They’ve simply outdone themselves when it comes to the quality of both the software and the hardware. However, I no longer think Apple can continue to honestly claim that they have the best phone around. Steve Jobs and Apple’s legal department have taken a figurative dump on their hard work with these insane restrictions, and that creates an foul odor that stains the product as a whole.
The new rules, interpreted as written, ban all kinds of applications written by great folks who have put in countless hours of work developing for this platform.
Games developed using the great Unity3D engine are not “originally written” in Objective-C, C, or C++.
With these terms, Apple is going against its own Think Different model, destroying creativity itself through the enforcement of a monoculture of developer tools. They are effectively saying that you can be creative, so long as you’re creative our way, an absurdity known in psychology as a double bind.
Developers Running Away
The SDK terms are not just insulting, they’re bad business. Great developers like Tim Bray are forsaking the iPhone platform out of disgust and running to Google’s Android platform. Dan Grigsby of Mobile Orchard just announced they’re abandoning iPhone development because of these restrictions.
Despite my familiarity with Apple’s tools and the language Apple insists developers use, at the present time I can’t envision myself writing an app for the App Store, because in clicking that Agree button on the license terms I suddenly find myself feeling like an infant, as though I can no longer be trusted to make basic decisions and must therefore be locked in a crib surrounded by child-proof toys and bars.
For companies like Google, all of this should be good news, because despite its shortcomings, Android’s relatively open platform is starting to look far more inviting.