Something that, unfortunately, I now find to be of use…
After flanneling around for a short while, I finally found myself an excuse to buy an iPod touch. Actually, the excuse was “ohh, I have more money in the bank than I thought I had.” I didn’t need much persuading to buy an iPod touch, and the announcement of an SDK which covers both the iPhone and the iPod touch was the final push I needed.
First reaction: Apple has produced the most beautifully designed piece of technology that I’ve ever seen. The interface is the first touch-based one that I’ve ever seen that truly works, and the level of detail that’s gone into its design is truly astonishing.
Here’s a little example. When you use the contacts list, the first letter of the name of the contacts you’re currently viewing sticks at the top of the screen, in a translucent grey bar. Scroll up, and the letter of the next batch appears in the same kind of bar as a divider. When the one you’re scrolling up hits the one at the top, it pushes it out of the way as if it were a physical object. You can even “bump” it, and as the other bar falls it behaves like a physical object falling.
What Apple has basically done is add a very simple physics engine to the touch interface to make it behave more like a real-world object. This has been the thing which has been missing from touch interfaces. Human beings have a hundred millenia of experience in using objects and tools which behave according to a set of rules of physics, and something which replicates those rules will feel morer natural and accessible to our monkey brains.
Yes, look at the bare stats of the iPod touch and it doesn’t look like anything special at all. Use one, and you’ll want it. It’s as simple as that.
Looks pretty cute.
Is Apple repeating its initial mistake with the Mac – not getting enough software developers on board early enough?
Russell Beattie translates the iPhone SDK announcement from Jobsian into English…
Rumour has it that the next version of Airforce One will be… an Airbus. That’s got to hurt the boys from Seattle.
“To that end, Steve mentioned that he digs Nokia’s approach of requiring that apps be digitally signed so they can be traced back to their developers, an effort to stem ‘viruses, malware, privacy attacks’ that he thinks will flourish on a ‘highly visible target’ like the iPhone. There’s a problem, though: there’s no telling when the last time is that Steve touched a phone not of his own creation, but we’ve used S60 devices pretty recently (like, today) and we have it on good authority that you can disable certificate verification for installed apps. Think iPhone users are going to have that option? Probably not. Apple’s still visibly concerned about keeping the iPhone under its perceived draconian control (even though it’s been busted wide open time and time again), and we’ve no doubt that trend will continue in full effect with the SDK. It’s a huge, landmark upgrade from the web-based SDK developers have now, yes — but we’d recommend Steve screw around with an N95 for a while before he heaps any more love on the way Nokia goes about its business.”
There’s a lot of commentary being written about the iPhone SDK which can be summed up in four words: “I told you so”. Notably, John Gruber is sitting back in his armchair, cracking open a beer, and congratulating himself for calling it right.
There’s one problem: no one, not even John, has any clue about what shape or form Apple’s SDK is going to take. While it’s clear that you’ll be able to make applications for the iPhone, there’s no indication of what features of the iPhone you’ll be able to access. File storage? Both the EDGE network and WiFi, or just WiFi? Jobs refers to “broad access to the iPhone’s amazing software platform” – but “broad access” isn’t the same as “access to all the features”.
What’s notable is that Jobs refers to signed applications as “a step in the right direction”, although of course he gets it wrong in implying that all Nokia applications must be signed. That suggests to me that whatever security methods Apple adopts will be more restrictive that code signing – and that suggests to me that Apple will keep a very tight rein on what developers can do, and who is allowed to develop and distribute software for the iPhone.
Will, for example, Apple only allow software to be installed on the iPhone via iTunes, after they have “approved” the code? I don’t know, you don’t know – and John doesn’t know either. So perhaps before we get too happy about the arrival of an iPhone SDK, we ought to just wait and see what crops up in February.
“I will, however, call bubkis on this next part:
Apple ‘[is] excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users,’ but they are taking the time to do it properly ‘because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once — provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc.’
Wait, last time I checked the Mac was an open platform, relatively safe from ‘viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc.’? And doesn’t the iPhone run on OS X?”
My prediction is that Apple will make neither of these things, as they’re not “mass market” enough – you can’t make niche products when your market share amounts to a niche.
“Best as I can find, the new generation Tivo sold 30,000 units in the first few months. Apple TV? 250,000 units. Yet you look around the geek echo chamber, and they declare the Apple TV a failed product, while drooling over Tivos.”
“Sources familiar with the company’s plans tell BusinessWeek.com that Apple will release a software-development kit for the iPhone in early 2008.” Businessweek does not often get this stuff wrong.
“French Telecom’s wireless carrier Orange will be the exclusive carrier of the Apple iPhone in France, both companies announced Tuesday.” So in six months time there will be official iPhone unlock – or Apple will ignore French law.
If you can’t wait for an official unlock, just in time for Leopard here’s an unofficial one.
A lovely long list of things in Leopard.
Fantastic pictures of Saturn, its rings and moons.
How to add a FAT32 volume to your NSLUG.
"Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February."
Yay, and verily, yay. I’m glad to say that my prediction that the iPhone would never have a proper SDK was wrong. And there’s a bonus:
"P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch."
That’d be thrice yay then. Looks like I’ll be buying an iPod touch!
“H D Moore published details on exploiting the iPhone today using the same vulnerability as the jailbreaks/unlockers. It takes advantage of a vulnerability in the libtiff library for processing TIFF image files.
The exploit is now in Metasploit, which means someone with only the technical skills of an ex-analyst can exploit you via email or a web page with a special image file.
Apple will hopefully patch this quickly. The bad news is that it will kill all current attempts to load custom applications on the iPhone, but since it’s now remotely exploitable the risk outweighs the reward.”
This also highlights the problem with using a well-known, desktop operating system in a phone: it’s a well-known environment for hackers and malware writers, and it will inherit any security holes which exist in the desktop version of your OS.
“Well, not really. Although they will now be given online access to content their licence fee has helped pay for, there are still fundamental inequities between users on different platforms, and this still leaves the BBC deforming the market in favour of Microsoft DRM and Windows. People on Macs, Linux, PDAs and other handheld devices are still losing out on all the features that make the downloadable iPlayer different from, say, the kind of streaming that the BBC has done for years with the RadioPlayer.”
Can someone explain to me what these “features that make the downloadable player different from the kind of streaming that the BBC has done for years” are?
Fact: As yet, we have no idea what features which the Flash-based catch up service will support. It could support every feature that the download service supports. So how can ORG categorically say that we’ll be missing out?
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