Apple & developers
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 by Dave Winer.
Daring Fireball: "Perhaps it's playing well in the mainstream press, but here at WWDC, Apple's 'you can write great apps for the iPhone: they're called web sites' -- message went over like a lead balloon."
Apple makes a lot of software that developers used to make. Over time they'll make more. And while that's going on they're becoming more of a consumer products company and less of a computer company. How does that translate for developers? The platform is less important and the package is more important. What the consumer gets out of the box matters. The ability to make a phone call, or listen to music or get directions to a restaurant. But run some random app that someone other than Apple made? There's not much demand for that with users.
How do I know? I've been there. When Apple made very little of the software people used, I still had a hard time explaining to people I met on airplanes or ski lifts, generally well educated people who used computers, that I didn't work for Apple, that I was an "independent developer." What's that.
Apple doesn't open up the iPhone because they don't have to and they don't want to. The security argument is bogus. Skype runs only on computers that are wide open. The phone is just one app, as it is just one app on the iPhone. And Apple has some special understanding of security? Well, that was disproven quickly after Safari shipped for Windows, holes were discovered within hours of its release. No it's not security, it's a shift in positioning. Apple didn't come prepared this year for WWDC because it's not a computer company, and they don't need a developer community.
Which of course is a total shame and utter waste because they have one of the best, if not the best, developer communities in existence. Surely something could be done with all that motivated talent that effectively works for free for Apple?