12 January 2007
Filed under Business, Design, Mac, Technology, Text, The Interweb
To say that there’s been no shortage of coverage of the iPhone since its launch on Tuesday would be a gross understatement - my RSS reader is registering approximately 40 new references to it every two hours across my collection of 100-odd feeds. Most of it is breathless praise and wonderment, but a seam of disatisfaction with one perceived flaw in the device is creeping in: Apple has said that it won’t open the iPhone to third-party development (at least for the moment), and geeks everywhere are crying foul.
To my mind, there are several good (or at least, fundamentally logical, if nasty and anti-competitive) reasons for not doing so:
- To maintain tight control over the interface, which at this stage is the single real point of differentiation between the iPhone and every other phone out there. Crappy implementation by third-party developers could seriously damage the reputation (and therefore the uptake) of the phone.
- To make sure the thing “just works” - in the (slightly disingenous, it must be said) words of Steve Jobs himself, “You don’t want your phone to be an open platform…. You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”
- To give Apple and some of its top-end friends time to build (and presumably sell and profit from) its own versions of the most in-demand applications
- To protect Cingular from Skype and other VOIP applications which could run over WiFi and undercut its market
I’m sure there are dozens of other reasons, but these are the ones that leap out at me straight away.