Sunday, August 3, 2008

Welcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today!

Mike Ash:

I’ve come to realize that the iPhone platform is really pretty crappy in a lot of ways. And these ways are mostly not due to hardware limitations, but rather artificial limitations put in place by Apple. And mostly these are limitations which have been put in place For Our Own Protection, and which have been, shockingly, praised from many quarters.

Well, there was also a crowd who praised the announcement that developers would only be able to write Web applications and ridiculed those who wanted native ones.

Apple’s focus and attention seems to be on the iPhone, and the sentiment coming out of Cupertino is one that the iPhone is good, all of the stupid, crippling restrictions on how it works are good, and Apple always knows best.…This is the same keynote, let’s remember, where high-up Apple people ridiculed the idea that anyone would ever have a legitimate reason to run applications in the background. Unless that application is made by Apple, of course. And then they came up with their brilliant idea of push notifications, which totally replace the need for background processes, unless you’re writing a music player, or a Web browser, or GPS logger, or a terminal emulator, or file downloader, or….

I think most of what Apple has done is defensible. With a new platform and limited engineering resources, a case can be made for a conservative approach that starts with a very closed platform and slowly opens it up. You don’t maximize the device’s potential, but you prevent any bad surprises from occurring. Theoretically, by controlling everything, you can keep the quality of the experience high while you build market share. You can get away with this for a while because there are no significant competitors. This is not the approach I would have taken—I like Ash’s idea of third-party developers stepping in to do what Apple won’t or hasn’t yet—but I can easily believe that Apple thinks it’s a good idea, and they may be right.

What’s not so defensible is what Apple has been saying these past few years. It’s been spinning like crazy. They introduced the iPhone as a platform that included Cocoa and lots of great developer technologies, but soon it became clear that these were only for Apple’s use. First there was, “Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.” As far as I can tell this was just FUD. Then: “You can write amazing Web 2.0 and AJAX apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services.” Turns out there were significant look and behavior differences compared with native applications, and nearly all of the phone’s data and services were off limits. It was reasonable for Apple not to have an SDK ready at that time. It was not reasonable to suggest that Web applications, which we already knew would be supported, were something new and “innovative” and “a very sweet solution.” Since Steve Jobs said that this was something Apple had just “come up with,” some people assumed that there would be a JavaScript API or perhaps a widget environment. In fact, there was nothing. The touted integration ended up being that Google Maps and YouTube URLs would open in those applications rather than in Safari. Then, finally, the SDK was announced, and developers saw that far more was missing from the OS than the Mac desktop patterns and sounds. How would iPhone applications be developed and deployed? With music, Apple had given the appearance of being against DRM, but for applications it delivered one that was even more restrictive.

On the Mac side, Apple encouraged developers to write 64-bit Carbon applications, but then quietly removed this option. Developers would have been better off following the conventional wisdom, that Carbon was a transitional API and Cocoa was the future, than listening to Apple’s explicit statements to the contrary. At WWDC 2006, Steve Jobs declined to demonstrate Leopard’s top secret features because “We don't want our friends to start their photocopiers any sooner than they have to.” Once Leopard shipped, we saw that there were no such features. At WWDC 2008, Jobs looked sickly and Apple PR claimed that he just had a “common bug,” though he eventually admitted off the record that this wasn’t true.

Ash now worries about what Apple has planned for the future of the Mac. It could be bleak. It seems like a crazy idea, but Apple is known for betting (often successfully) on crazy ideas. I don’t think Apple would go that far, but it’s frightening that it would be possible.

I think the bottom line is that, because of the way Apple has behaved, people don’t trust it as much. This makes them less willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. And it increases uncertainty, which makes it difficult to plan. Mac developers were encouraged to learn how to write Web applications when a Cocoa-based SDK was just around the corner. It ended up being better to act based on supposition (that there would be an SDK) and experiment with a jailbroken phone, than to do what Apple had recommended. I’m not suggesting that Apple should reveal all the details or make commitments prematurely, but in most cases I think the spinning is counterproductive. I would prefer candor. If the reality doesn’t match the rhetoric, people will find out. They could be unhappy that they were talked down to and misled, or they could appreciate being told the straight story, even if it’s less than insanely great.

58 Comments

Thanks for that post. Mike Ash's post raises good questions, but I found it too opinionated, and then it was not clear what exactly Apple's rationale or logic would be in his mind.

I completely agree with you. I think that there are very smart reasons for why Steve Jobs did what he did.

When the iPhone version 1.0 was released AT&T probably was still in the "I'm a big carrier, hear me roar" kind of mentality. But as the iPhone blew up, AT&T released that it needed to adjust quick, so perhaps that's how Apple was able to push through their SDK.

I think in general Apple just has to be more open with it's fan cult.

Apple had to put together the industry's broadest and deepest arsenal to create the iPhone platform and defend against myriad competitors:

Who can beat iPhone 2.0?
http://counternotions.com/2008/03/10/iphone2-competitors/

The iPhone is considered a success today, but just go back about three years before they started the project and consider the odds:

iPhone: The bet Steve Jobs didn’t decline
http://counternotions.com/2008/07/16/bet-iphone/

So there's a huge range of considerations to navigate, technical, financial, operational, etc. It's naive to think that a $150 billion company can act as a straight arrow and expose all its thinking, plans and ambitions with transparent candor, particularly in a cut-throat industry. As a shareholder I would want my CEO to not telegraph company intentions, pre-announce products, reveal timelines, etc. In fact, I'd want him to obfuscate as much as possible, and send competitors into blind alleys.

Is this a bit rough on developers? Sure. But third-party developers are but one part of the Apple ecosystem. I'm sure developers would be looking for other platforms if Apple were still a $15 billion company, not a $150 billion one, regardless of the technical or, dare I say, moral merits involved.

[...] Welcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today! [...]

[...] Welcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today! [...]

I think you really got a lot closer to the core of the problem when you point out that "people don’t trust [Apple] as much".

The problem is not that they rarely speak, but that they've been speaking some twisted half-truths. Apple's disingenuity is making third-party developers — the true shareholders — critical of the company's failures and cynical towards their successes. If the cycle continues, won't developers start divesting themselves of the platform?

Just saw this post, thought I'd drop by. Overall I think this is a good post. Mine is a bit off the deep end, but it was meant to be. To charles, it was meant to be opinionated, that's why it's called a rant. As for what Apple's rational or logic should be, it's quite simple: let us hack it. Everything boils down to that one simple thing.

Excellent post. I would add to this that those of us who have a history working with Apple simultaneously loathe and love Apple's sometimes baffling practices because we never know fully if the company is about to deliver us magic or a swift knee to the groin.

I blogged on this very point in the post:

The Scorpion, the Frog and the iPhone SDK:
http://thenetworkgarden.com/weblog/2008/03/the-scorpion-th.html

Check it out if interested.

Mark

"...because of the way Apple has behaved, people don’t trust it as much"

It just doesn't matter at all. All that matters is what Apple does next.

This kind of discussion has arisen many times in the past and it's always forgotten because Apple just keeps moving on.

Why is Apple held to a higher standard than any other company? How many other tech companies have said one thing when the opposite was true and get a pass from the tech writers and analysts? Hello, Microsoft anyone? As far as I am concerned Steve Jobs health is his own concern. Apple need not put out a press release about Jobs health. Should Microsoft put out a press release if Bill Gates gets a case of the crabs?

I am not saying that Apple is perfect, but they often get bad press for doing things better than other companies do. Where is the outrage that Windows has cost businesses millions of dollars because of bad security? Instead we get articles of Apples security holes that no one has taken advantage of. No wonder Apple is a little gun shy when it comes to tech writers.

Under Jobs Apple has become incredibly close mouthed and secretive. Because no one but Jobs seems empowered to speak with authority and because apparently no one but Jobs even knows everything that is happening at Apple, it isn't uncommon for Apple to appear to be speaking less than truthfully when it does speak. Under these conditions it isn't difficult to believe the worst.

Given that we know Jobs is an intelligent and discerning man and that he has little toleration for people who are not the same, we know that Apple hires intelligent and skillful people. It is hard to believe that Apple doesn't have a long range plan. it is hard to believe that Apple hasn't foreseen all that has happened. It is easy to believe that Apple always intended to have an SDK for the iPhone. It is easy to believe that web apps were a stop gap measure. It is easy to believe that if Apple wanted to it could hand over an SDK that would give all developers the same privileges that Apple's own applications have.

And yet. And yet, my 50 plus years have taught me that even the smarted people sometimes miss the obvious. That sometimes people are surprised that they planned for 'A' when their customers decided 'B'.

What is obvious to me - what has been obvious for several years - is that Apple needs to become more transparent. It is one thing to fear that the announcement of a product might lead to the 'Osborne effect'. It is quite another to treat ones' partners like the enemy.

To me, the "web apps are the API" thing, while annoying, was a smart move overall, as it created a situation in which a lot of web apps and sites were built just for the iPhone's new platform, which only served to add to the iPhones already awesome web experience. The fact that they've continued to add hooks for web apps to look and feel just like native apps is a sign that they're committed to it continuing to be a viable option for some applications.

It also allowed Apple to get a new product out sooner and make sure the market was there without having to lay out the whole SDK and App Store scheme they have now. It's a real "Get 1.0 out as soon as possible" kind of situation.

Andre Richards

"Mac developers were encouraged to learn how to write Web applications when a Cocoa-based SDK was just around the corner."

Pardon me? How exactly do *you* know it was just around the corner? By all appearances, Apple had no intention to release the SDK to developers until they saw there was an outcry over it. At which point, they likely scrambled to get their internal app-building tools into a some shape that developers could use as well as reconfiguring the App Store to work with third-parties. All indications are that Apple was setting this up for their sole use.

Like that example, you're making a lot of assumptions in this piece, not all of which are backed up by good sources. I would re-examine some of the statements you're making and consider how much is assumption on your part and how much is known to be factual or even likely. You're confusing the two.

I'm sure Apple would love to be more open if they could but they're the subject of such intense scrutiny that if they were to promise something and then fail to deliver the stock price will plummet. Marketing and PR and expectation management are incredibly important for Apple's success, so if you want them to be successful you'll just have to put up with their secrecy.

I agree with Rolf's post. I think that Apple's lack of candor is typical of a publicly-owned company. It is amusing, perhaps, to watch the value of an APPL share plummet 10% after Apple announces a best-ever quarter and follows it with conservative advice for the next quarter, but a consideration of the regulatory issues combined with the street's short-ranged view of the value of a company probably limits Apple's enthusiasm for giving frank advice.

If I were a developer, however, my patience for this lack of candor would certainly be limited, especially considering Apple's use of NDAs with respect to iPhone development.

Jon T: I agree that in some sense it doesn’t matter, but I don’t think people forget. They wouldn’t come back for more if there were a better option.

Randy Smith: As Alan Kay said, Apple is good enough to criticize.

Anon: They didn’t have to pretend that there wouldn’t be an SDK in order for that to work. Web apps were available first, and some will remain Web apps, so the support from Web developers would have been there.

Andre Richards: (1) Apple initially promoted the fact that it was a platform with familiar developer technologies, (2) there were some clues in the way the initial Web app interface guidelines were written, (3) I’m trying to give Apple credit for not missing what’s regarded as a great and obvious idea. They got into the phone business because phones would eventually have killed the iPod, and a more open phone platform would have defeated a totally closed iPhone. I’d address your other examples, but I don’t know what they are.

Rolf: I’m not saying that they need to make more promises or give out more information. I’m saying that the existing information could have been packaged better.

When looking at the quality of most of the apps in the app store, it becomes obvious why apple didn't want third party developers hacking away on the iPhone and challenge the just established interface conventions. When designing and building a completely new interface concept, you have to be strict and work out some very clear guidelines. This simply can't happen while people are hacking away at the same time.
It's pretty clear that apple cares more about delivering great unified products than material for developers to build upon, but in the end that's what seperates apple from most other tech companies.

>>Andre:"...All indications are that Apple was setting [Cocoa Development for the iPhone] up for their sole use...."

How do you figure?

Isn't it more likely that Apple wanted their 3rd party developers, arguably one of their most valuable assets, to bring their customers over to the iPhone? And what better way to do that than give developers the XCode tools they're used to with all the native power they can? I think it's pretty clear from Dashboard that funny little web apps are just funny little web apps. I have always assumed that an SDK would be forthcoming. It just makes sense.

I think it's a fair assumption that Apple ideally wanted to release the SDK with the iPhone. I also think it's a fair assumption that cutting it from the release was a very easy decision for someone to make. Developers starting (more or less) from scratch on launch day wouldn't draw any customers. If you know enough for that to piss you off, then you're a nerd and already standing in line at the Apple store.

I personally believe the NDA is just a way to keep shortcomings in the SDK out of more general publications and reviews until they've addressed all their concerns. This whole thing is one big sandbox, and I applaud their caution. I really want it to steam roll the phone software companies into shamefully writing some software that's worth a damn.

And while I really hate being under this NDA, I'm willing to cut Apple some slack because I think they'll do the right thing. Say, by Macworld?

[...] John Gruber posts, because everyone will have already seen it. But I’ll make an exception: Michael Tsai is right: What Apple delivers in the iPhone is less offensive than the way it’s been delivered. (via [...]

Erik M. Buck

The current forked tongued "spin" coming from Apple is nothing compared to prior offenses! For three years straight at consecutive WWDC events, Apple promised free and then low cost “Yellow Box” runtimes for Windows. For those that don’t know, “Yellow Box” was renamed Cocoa, and it was a commercially shipping set of software development frameworks for Windows years before it ever shipped for a Mac of any vintage.

Steve Jobs said it on stage and then stood three feet from me, looked me in the eye, and said Apple would sell low cost Yellow Box runtimes for Windows 2000. One year later, Mr. Jobs stood on stage and said Apple was looking for a business case for selling Yellow Box for Windows. Apple reneged on the promises.

If you think you ware screwed because you started an iPhone web app when the SDK was secretly “right around the corner”, at least you could still deploy your web app. Imagine if you had spent 3+ years developing and marketing a “Yellow Box” application only to have Apple pull the rug out from under you. [Actually, we merely ported an existing successful Openstep Enterprise application to ‘Yellow Box” and then could no longer sell it because Apple stopped selling Openstep licenses.]

Erik M. Buck: I do feel for the people who were going to develop on Yellow Box for Windows, OpenDoc, PowerTalk, etc. Perhaps there should be a separate category for promises like Yellow Box, a superior Java environment, and promoting WebObjects, where I think it was less about spin and more about Apple not really knowing what it was doing.

In my view this game of half-truths and crazy last minute changes is just Apple trying to use their usual marketing tactics of not releasing information until the very last moment in order to create hype. But this time they are wrong, because the public is the development community. Leaving just 6 months from the initial publication of the SDK to the opening of the App Store was bad enough and I think it's part of the reason many current apps seem rushed and unstable. Nate nails it; Apple is treating developers badly and needs to regain their confidence.

On the subject of the crippled SDK there are a bunch of elephants in the room. Windows Mobile and Symbian have supported background applications since day 1. The first Nokia smartphone was launched on 2002 with a 104mhz CPU and 4MB of RAM, and it did background apps just fine. It is baffling for experienced mobile developers that a platform released on the year 2008 on a 128MB, 500Mhz machine does not support background running.

Bullocks! Carbon needs to go away.

". The first Nokia smartphone was launched on 2002 with a 104mhz CPU and 4MB of RAM, and it did background apps just fine"

It didn't run Quartz, though, did it?

After the way Apple Computer treated the Apple II community in the late 1980s and early 1990s, one can only guess how many former Apple IIe and IIgs (especially) users actually transitioned over to Mac computers.

I personally know many who were lost forever to MS-DOS/Windows because their hatred of Apple was so consuming.

Nonetheless, those who remain Mac users know full well to take any pronouncement from Apple with a healthy dose of skepticism.

However, as to life with Apple/Macintosh? I shudder to think...

I just think Apple should eliminate the apple fan cult.

I'm sure you think you are in love with apple and want Apple to succeed in making great products. I think you are the cancer of apple. The sick lover trying to put your loved one in a golden cage.

-
and yeah, the first nokia smartphone simply sucked and was not able to drawn heavy 3D graphics, real webbrowsing, and so on.

but, yes, if you want, Windows/Linux Mobile desktop-like stuff was a reaaally pleasant experience... of course.. Color me skeptical. thanks.

Erik M. Buck, you are right. Thanks to you to remind us of the PAST.

Yes, many time in past, apple was NOT able to fullfil the promesses. Apple is not magical. apple is often, just a middle-sized company.

live the dream if you want, but please, do not forget it's just a company.

@ Simon
> When designing and building a completely new interface concept, you have to be strict and work out some very clear guidelines

it's the most logical reason behind Apple actions. The iphone is not just a pocket-mac.

it's new interface, a new paradigm.

Carlos:

First Nokia smartphone?

What about the Nokia 9000 Communicator, from 1996? The first Communicator was based on GEOS.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_9000_Communicator

You're referring to, I presume, the Nokia 7650? Which was based on Symbian 6.1. Nokia first used Symbian 6.1 on the Communicator 9210, released in 2001.

The first Symbian-based smartphone was the Ericsson R380, shipping in 2000. It did not allow you to install apps.

My point? It's not like the Nokia 7650 jumped out of nowhere. Only some components were v1.0 (actually, v0.9...)

Symbian also *strongly* discourages the use of threaded applications. They really, really encourage you to use something called "Active Objects."

Active Objects are an alternative to traditional multi-threading and generally use a lot less memory. In addition, they make it much harder to accidentally keep using CPU when nothing is happening. They're quite annoying to program for if you're not used to them, but I think that they have helped minimize some of the runaway process problems you can get on traditional platforms.

Oh dear.

     Apple did not give the impression of being against DRM, that's just what you wanted to hear. What they said was that since people can already get DRM free music in the form of CDs, using DRM for music downloads makes no sense at all.

@Erik: If Apple couldn't find a business model (and I didn't think there was/is one) then what do you expect them to do? Do it anyway because a very small number of enterprise-oriented developers will be disappointed? I appreciate it's tough to be one of these developers, but Apple was then and is now an essentially consumer oriented company with a very few exceptions. Unlike many other companies, Apple does try new things and often, takes big bets, and is not afraid to change course if its business model necessitates it. If it didn't, it'd be just like Microsoft. You have to ask yourself, if you'd like to be MS or Apple.

Why do we care if they're successful, when they're lying to us, at our expense? Apple has proven that they, like Microsoft, will act as an anti-competitive monopoly the second they have some marketshare. This does not legitimize their actions, it just means that as developers and consumers we must seek out alternatives to both of these giants.

If I were Steve, I would just stop selling the iphone for a quarter to see if it can get the grumpy old developer community to have some perspective. If that didn't work I'd give it another quarter of no iphone and see what happens, and then just cancel it altogether. At least we could have some quiet.

[...] The post linked by Gruber is, “Welcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today!” [...]

Harvard Irving

@ Carlos

"The first Nokia smartphone was launched on 2002 with a 104mhz CPU and 4MB of RAM, and it did background apps just fine."

I owned one of those "smartphones", and it didn't run *anything* just fine. It could barely run applications at all without crashing, multitasking or not.

[...] Michael Tsai - Blog - Welcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today! Welcome to iPhone: Your Crappy Mac of Tomorrow, Today!. [...]

@Len
"After the way Apple Computer treated the Apple II community in the late 1980s and early 1990s, one can only guess how many former Apple IIe and IIgs (especially) users actually transitioned over to Mac computers.

I personally know many who were lost forever to MS-DOS/Windows because their hatred of Apple was so consuming."

Ooh, ooh -- that would be me until recently. My first computer was a Apple ][ GS, it was wonderful, and Apple utterly dropped support for it long before its natural demise. I was sure I'd never use another Apple product.

BUT... when a Windows ME crash corrupted a chapter of my dissertation but I didn't realize until I'd already overwritten my backup with the corrupt file, I was willing to give Apple another try. At this point, I like my Mac far better than any other options out there, but I agree with the author of this blog that the lack of candor is troublesome, and I caution Mac users that if your platform is no longer Apple's favorite, watch out!

To be fair, I've seen no evidence that Steve having a "common bug" was a "lie" -- what is apparently true is that his health problems over the last few months were deeper than that. He may well have had a bug before WWDC and was taking antibiotics for it, in addition to the other issues that have now come out.

(Given the gastrointestinal nature of those other issues, it's not entirely unreasonable that Steve would want to keep some of those details private. Look up "Whipple procedure" and "afferent loop syndrome".)

None of this should be construed as defending Apple's lack of transparency in its day-to-day operations, however.

rsfinn: Well, it was probably a lie of omission. He did have a common bug, and they left out the more serious part. Quoting Nocera: “It wasn’t cancer, thank goodness. But was more than a ‘common bug.’ By claiming Mr. Jobs had a bug, Apple wasn’t just going dark on its shareholders. It was deceiving them.” I have no problem with Steve keeping the details private, but Apple could have said “no comment” or something vague about it being related to his cancer recovery and that they don’t think it will affect his performance as CEO. Instead, their official statement is still one of deceit.

Not having programmed for the iphone, I am not sure what parts of the Cocoa API you are talking about when you mention the parts which are available to Apple but not 3rd party developers.

However, isnt this true of the Mac also? Apple constantly creates new parts of the APIs, includes it in an application of their own, test it for a few months or a year, and then release it for developer use.

addicted: I don’t think I said that parts of the API are available to Apple applications but not developers, although that’s certainly true. With the Mac it’s more like years, if ever, however there tend to be ways for developers to work around the omissions by rolling their own. With the iPhone that’s generally not possible.

What really got me interested is this quote of Mike Ash:

>I’ve come to realize that the iPhone platform is really pretty crappy in a lot of ways.

Do you thinks so Michael? It seems that you do agree, if you quote it at the beginning of your article. And I am very surprised that you do.

To me it's pretty obvious that these are minor things in comparison to the sure beauty of having iphone in my pocket with all these apps. You must have acknowledged that.

Dainius Blynas: The fact that I quote something only means that I think it’s interesting. If I totally disagree, I’ll explain why I think it’s wrong, but I certainly don’t agree with every word that I quote or link to.

In this case, I think there are a lot of things about the iPhone (both the user experience and the developer experience) that are crappy. In the big picture, though, I’ve had one for a little over a year, I use it every day, and I think it’s a great product. It’s the best cell phone, best iPod, and best PDA I’ve used, all in one. Overall, the good points overwhelm the bad ones, relative to the other options, but that’s no reason to pretend that it’s all good.

Michael, thanks for the answer. I have used windows for ~10 years until coming to mac 3 years ago. I am user, no developer and I am still, still so amazed at how much more useful tool mac is. It is really great when your computer does not suck.

That might explain why I am skeptical of almost any criticism of apple.

We had invested hugh in Macs and Mac software. First scam from apple was OS X, then they killed MAC OS, then PPC and peice by peice in the OS that supports PPC. Even a two year old Quad G5 is obselete today. YES apple have stopped PPC development on some apps. Running Windows with all my new (OS X - "CS3, Office 200x") and old (MAC OS - PageMaker 6.5, 7.0 and even FilMaker Pro 4 databases, hey i dont wanna upgrade since I DONT NEED TO) programs just fine on my PC. Happy switcher to Windows:-) Apple are now a more propertary and monopolic company than Microsoft and by that you cant trust apple what so ever.

Not Randy Smith

Randy Smith, what is your point? I'm surprised you even bothered to take the time to post, you didn't deal with the subject of the post, nor did you say anything useful.

You asked a bunch of rhetorical questions, but the answers you obviously assume are not the correct ones.

Please post again, but this time form a cogent argument, stating your proposition first. For extra points, tie it to the blog post.

Ob related content: Apple doesn't seem to like road maps that tie it to anything. Look at its lack of road maps in the Enterprise space. Look at its lack of policies on security updates. The blog post could be much longer just by giving more examples of Apple's culture.

@RIP_Apple

First, if you are happy with Windows, more power to you. An individual's choice does not invalidate the value of other options, nor the opinions of those who choose them.

But my 3 year old G5 20" iMac, upgraded to Leopard last year, is still the best computer I've ever owned. Not saying it would stand up to a new dual-core iMac, but it is far from "obselete [sic]."

GetALife_Max

Does anyone have any idea to what Apple would have to agree, to get the approval of a huge telecomm like AT&T?
Especially considering the acknowledged past of the Steve J & Steve W pair with regard to telephone hacking?

No wonder it was locked down tight. No telecomm would agree to less.

It's a wonder iPhone got through at all!

Michael - I appreciate your candor, and agree that Apple is seriously lacking in that department. Although I don't - and won't - own an iPhone, my main concern is Apple's apparent lack of continuing interest in the desktop environment. I don't need access to my e-mail 24/7, and my phone conversations can wait until I have the time to speak in the comfort and security of my own home. What I do need, however, is a dependable desktop environment upon which to work. It seems to me that with every step Apple makes, the desktop users are left further and further behind. Call me old fashioned, but I've been with Apple since the days of OS 6, and it is getting harder and harder to believe in - and trust - the folks in Cupertino.

BTW, how are you doing? Long time, no see!

Working in the mobile phone industry, I hear from an number of people about the iPhone. Basically, ATT is extremely uncomfortable with the iPhone SDK, and is forcing a number of limitations on Apple. One example is the NDA - that is purely ATT, not Apple.

Hi Ed, it’s nice to hear from you. Yes, Apple literally took employees off the Leopard team and put them to work on the iPhone, and it seems that even after the delay they released Leopard before it was ready. The Snow Leopard plan sounds good, though.

I happen to believe Jobs had a "common bug" and that it created the tipping point in his decidedly gaunt appearance and weak energy level at WWDC '08. From that perspective, the bug was indeed the most important factor. The gastrointestinal surgery he had earlier in the year was to correct a condition that caused weight loss, yes, but I do happen to believe that the GI bug was the factor that, as he said, almost led him to cancel his appearance at WWDC and contributed most to the public concern for his health.

Furthermore! ;-) On multiple occasions now, some in the press have tried to characterize Jobs as being reckless for having postponed the initial, curative surgery for his cancer and opting instead to try an alternative approach to treating the nonaggressive form of cancer he had. It's easy enough for us to sit back and let the accusations fly, when the fact is the surgery itself (Whipple procedure) has a small but significant mortality rate (perhaps 1-3%) and carries with it a lifetime of gastrointestinal problems--the details of which I really don't care to know about, but perhaps those with their money invested in competitors to Apple do.

You can't have it both ways. First you complain that Apple held back the iPhone SDK; then you complain that Apple didn't have any "top secret features" in Leopard. Didn't the iPhone SDK qualify as a "top secret" feature?

Remember Apple's history. Their biggest developer's are also their biggest rivals. Microsoft announces Windows right before Apple announces the Mac, creating FUD. Google announces Android right before Apple announces the iPhone SDK, creating FUD.

@David: "The Osborne Effect" has got to on the all-time top ten "Stockholder's worst Nightmares" list. For over 20 years, FUD merchants have been trying to get that particular lightning to strike Apple, too. The funny part is, the class action law suit against Osborne was seeking 8.5 MILLION dollars in damages. That's MILLION. I call that the Dr. Evil effect. Imagine the size of the lawsuit were Steve Jobs to take just one step in Adam Osborne's footsteps!!!

Geniver: No, the iPhone SDK is not one of the top-secret Leopard features.

I’m not sure how to interpret your comments about FUD. Are you suggesting that Apple would have announced the SDK later if Android hadn’t already been announced? If anything, Apple was engaging in FUD by making a vague announcement that they would announce an SDK, whereas Google’s SDK was already available.

[...] this platform? My message to Apple (not that anyone there is reading this) is stop censoring and stop lying. How hard is that? Apple is turning into a much more devious, untrustworthy company than [...]

[...] since there’s so much uncertainty about whether they will be approved. It keeps getting harder to give Apple the benefit of the [...]

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