There were a couple of announcements that came out of WWDC yesterday. One is that the Safari web browser is now available for Windows, and the other is that the iPhone has an “innovative” way of allowing third-party development. You would probably think that these two announcements should be more unrelated than they are, and you’d probably be right. This innovative solution is nothing more than running a web ap via Safari on the iPhone. This means that developers can make AJAX apps for the phone. I think this pretty much fails to even come close to a comparison of being able to properly develop applications. Jobs calls this solution “new” and “sweet.” I call it “stupid” and “lacking.” This is yet another example of why so many people bash on Apple. They keep such a closed system that it limits what anyone can do with their devices. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but don’t claim to allow outside delevopment via a web browser. Just come right out and say that you are not going to allow third-party apps and leave it at that. Telling people that this is a “sweet solution” is just insulting our intelligence. Worse, though, is that people are buying it! Alex Hung claims that making a proper SDK is “hard,” and that Nokia and Sony Ericcson are exaomples of this. I’m sorry, but last time I checked neither of those companies are in the business of software. Apple may say that they are a hardware company, but they are heavily involved in the software side of things. The reason they didn’t release an SDK is not because it is hard, it is because they don’t want to open up their device to the potential of being unstable. By allowing outside development, they allow the possibility of someone making an application that could cause problems on the phone. This would create the perception that there is something wrong with the phone, which Apple wants to avoid. Hey, I don’t blame them. Like I said, I just think they should be honest about it. A better take on this, in my opinion, comes from Ed Burnette at ZDNet.com. I think he sums it up nicely with this.
“You can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps!” Thanks Steve, we’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.
Yeah, allowing Web 2.0 apps on a web browser: Genius! Oh yeah, and don’t forget that any Flash app is out of the question. Maybe that “fully functional” web browser on a phone isn’t so full after all.