Apple Commits to Native Third-Party Applications for iPhone and iPod touch

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After months of trying to block users for installing native third-party applications on the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple has just given in. It has promised to release the software that developers will need to create these applications early next year.

Apple iPhone

Apple iPhone
(see larger image)

“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,” Steve Jobs wrote on Apple’s web site. This same Software Development Kit (SDK) will permit the creation of programs for the iPod touch.

The company’s goal is to accomplish two very different tasks: “provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc.”

Exactly how this is going to be accomplished wasn’t spelled out, but Jobs did drop a strong hint by saying that Nokia’s system for requiring third-party software to bear a digital signature before they can be installed on some of its smartphones is “a step in the right direction”. This signature allows the application to be traced to its developer.

The War Is Over

Apple’s insistence that users not install native applications on the iPhone and iPod touch has put it into conflict with many of its customers. Those who aren’t satisfied with the limitations have been working hard to find ways to install and run the software they want on these devices.

Apple iPod touch

Apple iPod touch
(view large image)

Since the release of the iPhone there has been back-and-forth skirmishing, with groups of developers coming up with ways to install native applications and then Apple releasing a system update that closed the holes the developers were using.

The iPod touch is a newer device, and Apple has yet to release a system update for it, even though developers have found a work-around to allow them to install the software they want.

In general, public sentiment has gone against Apple in this matter, especially after some of those who had installed software to let their iPhone run on networks other than AT&T had their smartphone “bricked” by the last update.

This might explain why the company has decided to finally give to to the demands of its customers.

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Thanks to questionfear for the tip.

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