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iPhone third party software restricted to the web

Steve Jobs talked to developers today at WWDC 2007 about the iPhone and what developers would be able to do with it. In the past, he said Apple intends to control the device completely to ensure the “security” of the handset by not allowing third party applications. Since then, he was vague saying they were trying to find a way to bring more software in.

Today, he finally put the hammer down and said developers will have to use a web API to get into the iPhone. Basically, using the built-in Safari browser, users will have to access online services that use AJAX and web standards. Jobs said: “And so you can write amazing Web 2.0 and AJAX apps that look and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone, and these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services.” So there you have it, the only installed software will be what Apple ships.

And that basically ends the myth about whether or not the iPhone is a smartphone. The core feature of a smartphone is it’s ability to add software. The web may allow for a lot of flexibility, but that uses data, costs money, is restricted to the web browser, and all goes away when the connection drops. The iPhone may be a great phone, but without that third party community of developers, it will never be a true smartphone.

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