Prashant Deva's blog

Talks on technology and the latest developments in Placid Systems.

Why the iPhone does not have a SDK

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A lot of people were pretty disappointed when at this WWDC Steve Jobs announced that there will be no iPhone SDK and people will basically have to create specialized web sites for the iPhone. This was a foregone conclusion to me. Here is why.

Almost every app we use on our computers can be divided into 2 categories-
  1. Apps to view information.
    Eg - Google Maps, Cragislist, Rss readers, Gmail, Digg, etc.
  2. Apps to create information.
    Eg - Eclipse, Photoshop, Word, Excel, etc
Notice the apps in the first category are all web based while the apps in the second category are all desktop apps.

Also the apps in the second category would require a heavy duty pc and you would probably want to use a huge monitor and a separate keyboard/mouse along with it. Can you for a moment imagine writing your next program in a screen the size of iPhone , which too is half covered by a touch keyboard? No, right.

On the other hand, the apps in the first category don’t require all that horsepower and you probably wont mind checking the top stories on Digg on your iPhone.

Thus it all becomes pretty clear. Apple realized this fact and thus instead of preparing a full blown SDK which would really wont be worth the effort or of much use to anyone, they decided to concentrate on preparing a full blown web browser which could run inside the iPhone and let the web apps run through it.

Now maybe there are some people who disagree with me here and believe a full blown iPhone SDK would be useful. In that case, why not prove me wrong. Post a comment below listing some useful app which you think would make the iPhone sdk worth it. Note that the app should really be useful to the people and not be there just for the cool factor.


posted by Prashant Deva, 3:40 AM


I can think of a few:

>a real instant messaging app, with file transfers and video chatting.

>a VOIP app (probably a big business reason why att/apple didnt want to allow apps)


>a comic life or similar type app that would allow you to add simple filters/captions/etc to images before u send them in email

>an alarm clock app (maybe it already has this functionality?)

>3rd party apps to support corporate type email

the list goes on...

commented by Anonymous, 11:28 AM, June 24, 2007  

And also, the main reason:

So these apps could be run even when the phone features are turned off (i.e. airplane mode), or when a data connection is not available.

There are many times when you might want to play a game or something and don't have a connection/cant turn on the wireless radios

commented by Anonymous, 11:31 AM, June 24, 2007  

>a real instant messaging app

well meebo already does this on the web.

>a VOIP app (probably a big business reason why att/apple didnt want to allow apps)

if they allowed this then they wont need to sell you a phone.

web based flash games are all over the web. i know the iphone doesnt support flash but i guess thats cause they want to sell you their own games just like for the ipod.

>an alarm clock app
it already has that.

>3rd party apps to support corporate type email

gmail for custom domains already does this over the web.

your categorize the application makes sense in the first look. since SaaS is more and more practice, there is a third category: the software can be used to create and view data online, for instance Salesforce.com provides CRM SaaS online.

meiji wang http://bugpy.blogspot.com/

commented by Anonymous, 2:04 AM, July 14, 2007  

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