Is Apple sandbagging the iPhone?

Remember when Steve Jobs gave us lots of excuses about why he wasn’t doing a video iPod? I do.

Doesn’t it sound a lot like the same excuses that Apple gave us last week as to why they aren’t letting third-party developers build apps for the iPhone?

I think Steve is trying to get a better deal from Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems. After all, Java already is running on a billion phones.

I asked Jonathan about what his “put Java on iPhone” pitch to Steve Jobs would be. His answer was he already gave Steve Jobs the pitch. I did notice that Jonathan (my interview will be up tomorrow) didn’t say whether or not his pitch was successful.

But it sure makes this quote by Steve Jobs (as linked to by Michael Gartenberg) seem awfully lame:

“You don’t want your phone to be an open platform”, meaning that anyone can write applications for it and potentially gum up the provider’s network, says Jobs. “You need it to work when you need it to work. Cingular doesn’t want to see their West Coast network go down because some application messed up.”

Wait a second. You mean there’s a billion phones with Java on them and Cingular’s network hasn’t gone down yet? Damn, how did that happen?

Not to mention my Cingular phone has several .NET apps on it. Written by third-party developers (cool ones, too, and a hell of a lot more useful than random voice-mail listening that wowed the Apple fans at MacWorld iPhoneWorld — like an app that shows you all the traffic in Seattle and whether or not you’ll get to your appointments at Microsoft on time. Or another one that is an RSS feed reader).

Hmmm, maybe Steve Jobs is playing Bill Gates against Jonathan Schwartz and trying to get a better deal?

Funny enough both Jonathan and I agreed that we’re going to buy an iPhone anyway. I told him that’d mean I’ll have two phones in my pocket. A cool looking one that cost $600 and one that has a keyboard I can type on with Java and/or .NET so I can load up lots of apps.

Somehow I have a sneaking feeling that Steve Jobs will announce in May that he’s “opened up” the iPhone by putting a runtime on it.

What do you think? Is Steve Jobs sandbagging all of us?

Or, are you just sick of talking about the iPhone?