Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Developers Complain about iPhone SDK

While Apple Computer may have finally released its iPhone software development kit (SDK) earlier this month, developers who'd been waiting to get their hands on it are already whining about the numerous restrictions and problems encountered by them.

Yes, Apple head honcho, Steve Jobs, has attempted an explanation, a rather stiff one: "You don't want your phone to be an open platform with anyone writing applications for it, and potentially gumming up the provider's network."

But that doesn't undermine or offer a solution for the several problems the developers are facing (at least saying they are facing).

To enumerate:

Some developers say they can't begin to download the SDK from before getting started on it. Others are complaining that the set-up package just doesn't install on their systems.

The list isn't over yet. VoIP services aren't allowed via cell networks though they're allowed over WiFi. SIM unlocking may be forbidden; but elsewhere in China and other parts of the world, thousands are doing it unabashedly. Further, only published APIs can be used; and only in the way Apple dictates. Applications cannot write data anywhere except in their designated areas. The "iPhone Human Interface Guidelines" poses a major problem: supposedly a public document, only a registered iPhone developer can see it.

There's more to come. Just one application can run at a time; in case developers need to leave a particular application, it quits by itself. Third-party applications -- not even instant messaging applications -- can run in the background.

Further, Apple's own admission -- the beta version of the SDK isn't yet ready to go on 64-bit systems. Programming can be done only in AJAX and not in COCOA. There are other problems like with the user interface. Also, data synchronization is limited only to iCal, Mail, and Safari as of now.

So with all these problems, and with hackers already having released hacks before the release of the iPhone SDK, we wonder whether they'll now devote their restless energies to releasing programs to break all these barriers.


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