Collateral damage: iPhone OS 4 Developer Agreement fallout

There's been a lot of buzz regarding Apple's new iPhone Developer Agreement the past couple days.

Just before releasing the latest iPhone OS 4 SDK beta, Apple made a significant change toSection 3.3.1- previously stating only that developers must not use undocumented API calls. Section 3.3.1 now contains a clause that prohibits iPhone apps from being developed in any other language other than Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript and must not compile through any "intermediary translation or compatibility layer."

The new clause was almost certainly targeted directly at Adobe, whose popular, though arguably inefficient Flash plug-in has been locked out of Apple's mobile platforms. A major feature of Adobe's new Flash CS5 is the ability to package Flash projects as iPhone apps- a process which now goes against the iPhone Developer Agreement. As a result, apps created in this manner can (and will) be rejected from the App Store and Adobe just spent the last year or so of Flash R&D for nothing.

While section 3.3.1 was more than likely directed at Adobe, the question is, will other third party SDK's be taken as collateral damage? PhoneGap, a cross platform mobile development suite, which lets users write apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry in JavaScript and HTML claims that their contacts at Apple have assured them their tool is not in violation. Another popular third party SDK, Ansca's Corona, which allows users to write iPhone games in Lua- again seems like it should be out of bounds- though a blog on the company's site claims Apple has not given them the cease and desist. In fact, none of the third party SDK's I could find, such as MonoTouch, GameSalad, or Unity3D- all seemingly in violation of Apple's new Terms of Service- have announced any bad news regarding iPhone OS 4. So what gives?

Well, the truth is, unlike Flash CS5, most of the aforementioned SDK's produce 100% Objective-C code- they are more pre-compilers than true compilers. However, the vague wording of Section 3.3.1 could mean that if Apple ever wanted to pull the trigger, they would be well within their bounds to ban any or all of these third party iPhone SDK's. Although there is something to be said about the added inefficiency and possible lack of UI uniformity of a translation layer, since they haven't done so already I find the possibility of Apple banning such tools outright unlikely. This was, after all, probably a specific jab at Adobe in Apple's quest to make Flash obsolete. If Apple were to expressly ban all third party SDK's, however- from the standpoint of 99% of all iPhone developers, nothing will change. These tools are more for people coming from other development environments and those already used to XCode and Objective-C will continue to code as usual.

Despite the understandable optimism of the various SDK's blogs- we may not get a true sense of the fallout until April 22- the deadline to agree to the new Terms of Service for an iPhone Developer Account. Even then, iPhone OS 4 is still in beta, and therefore subject to TOS changes until it is officially released in June.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags AppleiPhonedevelopers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mike Keller

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?