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June 29, 2007

iPhone and openness

yeah yeah, more iPhone stuff.

There seem to be two strongly opposing views on the iPhone, and the fact that there is only one way for your apps to run on it (unless you are Google or Apple) which is as web apps.

There are those decrying the lack of openness, the lock down proprietary nature of the platform. A good example is found in this post by Nik Cubrilovic, founder of OmniDrive, and great Aussie success story. Nic writes

My biggest disappointment is that the same hackers and technologists who cherish, support and have fought for the openness of the web, open standards and open platforms are blinded to the proprietary nature of the iPhone.

But there is a different position, and one which I think Nic is overlooking. The very fact that the only way for third party apps to run on the iPhone is if they are webapps, and that the browser on the iPhone (which is also on Mac and Windows) is about as good a supporter of standards as any (and it is based on an open source engine) is, intentionally or not, it really doesn't matter, quite possible one of the most important shots in the arm for a standards based web, and particularly the mobile web you can imagine.

Surely by opening up the iPhone as a platform for which you could write "native" apps which only ran on the device, that would be the proprietary strategy. Now, I'm not arguing that any of this is Apple's intention, simply observing what I think the implications of their decision are.

June 29, 2007 | Permalink

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Comments

Your right, you can say that their support for SVG is open-standards supporting as well. My analogy was to do with the closed nature of the platform, rather than direct support for standards etc. After all, webkit itself is open source - but its more about Apples position of being closed.

I was really hoping that Apple would use their brand and kill the networks into dropping all the shit they pull and providing a fair deal for users. Give us a device and a connection and let us take it from there, don't force us back to your services.

Posted by: Nik Cubrilovic | Jun 29, 2007 11:04:12 AM

I suspect any "standards support" is incidental to some other business reason we don't know about. Still, we take it where we find it :) If nothing else, the iphone will shake up the market a bit. Nobody will really know until they get hold of one and all the network stuff is sorted out.

Posted by: Ben Buchanan | Jun 29, 2007 1:22:20 PM

Nic,

we'll have to see how open or otherwise the wifi access is (can you use any old wifi network or only AT&Ts?)

Now is the time for SONY to push their browser on the PSP, or the Mylo, which don't have a revenue model based on bit usage. But I doubt SONY will do anything particularly smart in this regard. It's been a while since they have.

Ben, I think it's a good rule of thumb to assume all corps act in their best interests. The secret is to work to get theirs aligned with the greater good.

j

Posted by: John Allsopp | Jun 29, 2007 3:09:53 PM

regardless of how much money apple is going to be squeezing out of this iphone craze, they are also an extremely generous company:

http://www.thenewsroom.com/details/453262?c_id=wom-bc-mam

--Matthew from the technology desk at thenewsroom.com

Posted by: Matthew | Jul 1, 2007 10:45:09 AM

Matthew,

looks like a smart move to me - get all your floor staff raving, and fully conversant with the phone.
Just a little nit pick - why is the text of the stories at the news room flash? HTML pretty please ;-)

j

Posted by: John Allsopp | Jul 2, 2007 7:42:53 PM