Thursday, March 06, 2008

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Apple shows us an SDK done right


  1. Look, not to shoot your enthusiasm in the foot, but Apple isn't bankrolling anything- a VC firm called Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is offering the money. And if you know anything about VC firms, they aren't doing it for free. If you look at the way Apple is locking down the SDK, not allowing free access to hardware, and only allowing Apple-certified applications to run on the hardware, it's easy to see why this is and SDK not done right.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/07/2008 12:25:00 AM

  2. First, you'll notice I specified Apple *announced* VC for developers; I never mentioned they were putting up the funds. Furthermore, Apple can't directly bankroll developers without inviting accusations of conflict of interest. A third-party is necessary, and you know Apple was the one to approach them.

    Also, who the hell said it was charity? The point is iPhone developers don't have to seek out investors. Apple has already found one for them that is ready to fund projects specifically for this device, which is a far better situation than trying to explain to a bank or relative what you're trying to create in order to get a loan.

    Second, SDK means "software development kit", which does not necessarily include hardware, although they opened access to most of the hardware.

    Third, by certifying the software, they ensure quality and give all developers access to distribution via the App Store. This means developers can focus on programming and not worry about marketing, distribution, and all the other stuff outside their areas of expertise.

    Yes, there are limitations to the SDK, but they are petty compared to the opportunities being offered, particularly when compared to the non-efforts of Microsoft to launch the TPC and UMPC platforms. Instead of launching an SDK and letting developers fend for themselves, Apple is offering a path to funding and a distribution channel directly to the consumers. Has anyone else offered developers funding and distribution along with the kit?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3/07/2008 08:03:00 AM

  3. Actually, Apple wasn't behind the VC firm coming forward. However, you might want to look at the terms being offered.

    Second, there'are a lot of limitations on the SDK. Notably not being able to background processes. Which means no real IM, changing applications turns off others, etc. It's a great start, but it's not really enough for a fully open system.

    I understand the point of certifying software, and it's a necessity in this day and age. But the more important reasons are to prevent keyloggers, skip-tracks, and exploits. However, the manner in which a company can limit legitimate software for their own profit is huge when you agree to this. And Apple hasn't really been good in this area, historically.

    It's a better job than other platforms have done. But you have to admit it helps a lot when you have full vertical integration from hardware to software to launch platform. Something that MS simply cannot do without running into anti-trust concerns.

    You're right and wrong about what MS has done in the UMPC market. MS threw a lot of money into marketing Origami, but their marketing department has pretty much hung themselves with tablets and similar devices, not to mention Vista. It's clear, however, that you've never done a venture on an MS platform- call them and they are incredibly helpful in finding VC for development. There's none of this "letting developers fend for themselves" that you speak of. It's just quieter. Apple is the master of PR, after all. For 20 years they've been able to offer a more limited product while spinning it to look like gold.

    Don't get me wrong, I like my iPhone, but hop off the Apple-can-do-no-wrong soapbox. They are just as evil as Microsoft...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/07/2008 03:30:00 PM

  4. "You're right and wrong about what MS has done in the UMPC market. MS threw a lot of money into marketing Origami..."

    Hey, I agree they threw a lot of money into Origami. My main complaint is that they've been incompetent in how they do it. There is a difference between quantity and quality, and sadly Apple did it better with both.

    BTW, being "incredibly helpful in finding VC for development" is a far cry from introducing developers to a dedicated fund. You're basically giving the "you never asked" excuse.

    "Don't get me wrong, I like my iPhone, but hop off the Apple-can-do-no-wrong soapbox. They are just as evil as Microsoft..." -- What the hell does evil have to do with anything? When I said they did it "right", I meant this is the smart way to do things. Has nothing to do with good or evil, and quite frankly, I don't label Microsoft as "evil" either. I think their marketing sucks, but that's due to stupidity, not lack of nobility.

    Apple just has a smarter way of doing things. They're not always great (I already blogged how I'm on the fence with the Macbook Air as to whether it's an iMac or a Cube), but I can see the logic in what they do, even if I don't agree with it.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3/07/2008 05:05:00 PM

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