Steve Jobs is not an idiot

I keep thinking back to 1989. Apple had just introduced the Macintosh II. This was way back in System 6.x days. A long, long time ago. But why did that year matter? Well, Apple was way way way ahead of the rest of the industry. I remember being in a computer science class back then where they forced us all to use DOS. In the journalism department we had just gotten brand new Mac IIcx’s. I think that’s one reason I went into journalism rather than trying to please my dad and become an engineer or a computer scientist.

Anyway, back then I thought Apple was going to take over the world. Apple’s equipment was just so brilliantly designed. They had the best printer, the best network, the best GUI, the best applications. Remember, back then Microsoft’s apps on Macs were WAY ahead of Microsoft’s apps on DOS and Windows was still a joke.

So why didn’t Apple win?

Well, go back to Rich Cameron’s classroom and look again. He wrote a ton of Hypercard applications for his journalism classes. That’s how we learned how to cover press conferences and all sorts of other things. Many of his tests were done in Hypercard too.

But Apple didn’t realize the power of developers. They ignored Hypercard. Never really improved it. Never gave developers really great tools. I remember meeting software developers who worked on Apple applications and they were always complaining about how hard they were to use, or how many rules they had to follow to make sure their apps were “Apple compliant.”

Many people think Apple didn’t win because Apple didn’t go Microsoft’s route of licensing the OS to clone manufacturers. I’m not so sure about that.

Look at what Microsoft did for developers between 1990 and 1995 and you’ll see that THAT was a huge reason that Microsoft became dominant with Windows 95. I remember when Visual Basic came out that lots of Apple developers would look over at it and say “that’s what Hypercard should have become.”

In 1989 Apple was in charge. By 1995 Apple was a second rate company and by 1999 people were thinking that Apple was going to disappear. Of course we all know the rest of the story, right? Steve Jobs.

So, why do I say that Steve Jobs is not an idiot?

Because he’s had to learn the lesson of 1989. Give developers tools to build apps easily and extend your product or else they, and the market, will go somewhere else.

Anyway, right now Apple is acting a lot like Apple did in 1989. Apple is miles ahead with its iPhone. It’s pretty. The folks I’ve talked to who’ve had their hands on one say it pushes the experience of using a cell phone ahead a mile and is way ahead of, say, my little Nokia N95 that’s sitting next to me right now.

But, why is Steve Jobs telling iPhone developers to pound sand? Dave Winer posits that Apple isn’t opening up the iPhone because they don’t have to.

Oh, but 1989 reminds us that chosing to remain non-friendly to developers will work for a while, but long term will doom you to second rate status.

Steve Jobs isn’t an idiot.

So, what do I think will happen? Oh, I can see the Steve Jobs keynote in 2008 right now. “We’ve sold eight million iPhones, more than we expected” and “remember how I said iPhone apps needed to be done with JavaScript and HTML? Well, we heard from all of you that you wanted to play games on Pogo.com so we added Flash. And we’ve been working on our own iPhone applications for more than a year now and we’re sharing the developer tools we use internally.”

Go back to 1989. What if Apple HAD invested in developer tools? What if Apple, instead of Microsoft, had released Visual Basic? What if Apple, instead of Microsoft, had taken the “consumer coolness” that they had in the Apple II line and made it so that a geek working inside some big company could make a business justification to use Macs instead of Windows machines? (Hint: a big part of that is how easy it is to make business applications).

Maybe Apple is happy with its 5% market share, but I doubt it. Steve Jobs is not an idiot.

Watch him open up the iPhone next year. Until then at least Dori Smith should have a job (she’s one of the world’s experts on JavaScript and is out looking).

Or, do you think Apple will keep the iPhone closed and tell developers to pound sand forever?

Steve Jobs is not an idiot.

345 thoughts on “Steve Jobs is not an idiot

  1. Mike,

    Since it was only with in the last year that Windows even had the ability to run specific process as ‘non-root’, are you implying that it took Microsoft over a decade to “realize running every process as root” was a bad idea?

    Of course, we both know there were other considerations in play, such as backwards compatibility, time to market, development resources, etc. Had Microsoft really wanted to make security it’s number one priority, we could had seen Vista like account controls much earlier.

    (Instead, Microsoft helped create a massive network of zombie PCs that are used to send spam and perform denial of service attacks. Gee thanks!)

    The iPhone is based on Mac OS X and dependent on Leopard technology, such as Core Animation. Since Leopard was delayed by six months, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if iPhone v1.0 was a contingency / temporary solution until OS X 10.5 shipped and the real v1.0 was complete. Of course that’s just speculation.

    On the other hand, we no longer have to speculate on a third-party iPhone SDK since Apple has done the “impossible.” Apple has a next generation device, OS *and* SDK.

    So, the question remains: where’s Microsoft’s next-generation, Windows Mobile platform, OS and SDK?

    Still haven’t seen any indication Windows Mobile will gain WPF-like functionality beyond unofficial demos of Silverlight. And, last time I checked, it’s rather difficult to write a next generation mobile phone OS using a browser plugin.

  2. Yep. Looks like five months is what it took for Apple to realize that running every process on the iPhone as root (Full Administrator Privileges) with a known password was a bad idea and got their programmers to rewrite everything that couldn’t run in a low privilege account…

    (Seriously, what kind of idiots write an always connected to the Internet, Unix based computer with every process running as root. Is there nobody on the entire iPhone product group that has ever heard of security?)

  3. Yep. Looks like five months is what it took for Apple to realize that running every process on the iPhone as root (Full Administrator Privileges) with a known password was a bad idea and got their programmers to rewrite everything that couldn’t run in a low privilege account…

    (Seriously, what kind of idiots write an always connected to the Internet, Unix based computer with every process running as root. Is there nobody on the entire iPhone product group that has ever heard of security?)

  4. Mike wrote: “Well, we didn’t have to wait two months to see prices slashed to fire sale levels.”

    I don’t think Apple will have any problems making a profit on the iPhone.

    Apple announced the price cut after just releasing the iPod touch, which shares a large number of components and technology with the iPhone. This additional volume helps reduce component costs across both platforms and provides additional return on R&D.

    However, considering that Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded division has lost over half a billion dollars over the last four years, I guess Microsoft has been selling WM technology at fire sale levels (a loss) for years.

    Mike wrote: “So much for high sales rates past the initial wave of the “we’ll pay anything” Apple faithful.”

    Actually, Apple said it was already on track to reach it’s short term sales goal before reducing the price. In fact, it sold it’s one millionth iPhone a full three weeks ahead of schedule.

    Of course, the industry has made up their own sales goals, so it could turn around and claim that the iPhone isn’t selling very well.

    Apple is simply adding more fuel to accelerate what appears to be an existing brisk market demand.

  5. Mike wrote: “Well, we didn’t have to wait two months to see prices slashed to fire sale levels.”

    I don’t think Apple will have any problems making a profit on the iPhone.

    Apple announced the price cut after just releasing the iPod touch, which shares a large number of components and technology with the iPhone. This additional volume helps reduce component costs across both platforms and provides additional return on R&D.

    However, considering that Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded division has lost over half a billion dollars over the last four years, I guess Microsoft has been selling WM technology at fire sale levels (a loss) for years.

    Mike wrote: “So much for high sales rates past the initial wave of the “we’ll pay anything” Apple faithful.”

    Actually, Apple said it was already on track to reach it’s short term sales goal before reducing the price. In fact, it sold it’s one millionth iPhone a full three weeks ahead of schedule.

    Of course, the industry has made up their own sales goals, so it could turn around and claim that the iPhone isn’t selling very well.

    Apple is simply adding more fuel to accelerate what appears to be an existing brisk market demand.

  6. Well, we didn’t have to wait two months to see prices slashed to fire sale levels. So much for high sales rates past the initial wave of the “we’ll pay anything” Apple faithful.

  7. Well, we didn’t have to wait two months to see prices slashed to fire sale levels. So much for high sales rates past the initial wave of the “we’ll pay anything” Apple faithful.

  8. Actually, Tim, I’d say that 1st month sales on a “must have” “fashion accessory” say nothing either way about its success in even the short run.

    I’d guess that at least 100,000 of those were bought sight unseen so it speaks to the marketing of the iPhone rather than the unseen product. What sales the product actually generates will not be seen until people have lived with it for a while.

    Ask me again in two months and then we can see if you can predict my words.

  9. Actually, Tim, I’d say that 1st month sales on a “must have” “fashion accessory” say nothing either way about its success in even the short run.

    I’d guess that at least 100,000 of those were bought sight unseen so it speaks to the marketing of the iPhone rather than the unseen product. What sales the product actually generates will not be seen until people have lived with it for a while.

    Ask me again in two months and then we can see if you can predict my words.

  10. In the meantime, AT&T activated something in the neighborhood of 146,000 iPhones during the second quarter. This is roughly 1/10th of Windows Mobile’s share of the smartphone market in Q1 of 2007, and approximately 1/3rd of Windows Mobile’s share in Q1 2007. This is a platform (the iPhone) that is brand-new to the market, competing against a platform that has been in place for several years, and is now up to version 6.0.

    Mike will attribute this impact on the market as negligible, or due to the lack of sophistication of the iPhone buyer. Mike thinks Scott is an Apple Fanboi, who is deluded about the future of an iPhone API. Mike sees more hope for Windows Mobile devices and prefers the MS approach.

    Scott will look at the same figures and consider the iPhone’s impact to be phenomenal–a result of judging accurately what the broader market truly wants. Scott thinks Mike is a MS bigot, and sees the MS roadmap as being littered with broken promises. Scott thinks Apple’s non-statements speak more positively than MS’s statements.

    Amazingly, the same data makes both of them happy.

    Tim

  11. In the meantime, AT&T activated something in the neighborhood of 146,000 iPhones during the second quarter. This is roughly 1/10th of Windows Mobile’s share of the smartphone market in Q1 of 2007, and approximately 1/3rd of Windows Mobile’s share in Q1 2007. This is a platform (the iPhone) that is brand-new to the market, competing against a platform that has been in place for several years, and is now up to version 6.0.

    Mike will attribute this impact on the market as negligible, or due to the lack of sophistication of the iPhone buyer. Mike thinks Scott is an Apple Fanboi, who is deluded about the future of an iPhone API. Mike sees more hope for Windows Mobile devices and prefers the MS approach.

    Scott will look at the same figures and consider the iPhone’s impact to be phenomenal–a result of judging accurately what the broader market truly wants. Scott thinks Mike is a MS bigot, and sees the MS roadmap as being littered with broken promises. Scott thinks Apple’s non-statements speak more positively than MS’s statements.

    Amazingly, the same data makes both of them happy.

    Tim

  12. Again, for, what, the 12th time?…

    Right now:

    Windows Mobile developers have an SDK and tools and documents and resources and much, much more

    iPhone developers have vague hopes for the future

    Compare and contrast…

  13. Again, for, what, the 12th time?…

    Right now:

    Windows Mobile developers have an SDK and tools and documents and resources and much, much more

    iPhone developers have vague hopes for the future

    Compare and contrast…

  14. Mike wrote: “Again, I’m not speculating about the future or which gossip column’s predictions are right or wrong.”

    Again, I know of no statement from Apple that excluded releasing any other development options in the short to mid term. As such, your claim that Apple can’t release an SDK in the near future is purely speculation and FUD.

    And, Apple has a shipping next generation mobile device that’s sitting here on my desk. Microsoft hasn’t even demoed a prototype WPF based mobile device yet.

    That’s reality.

    Unless the conversation changes direction again, I’ll be back when Apple makes an announcement or when Leopard ships, which is currently scheduled for October.

  15. Mike wrote: “Again, I’m not speculating about the future or which gossip column’s predictions are right or wrong.”

    Again, I know of no statement from Apple that excluded releasing any other development options in the short to mid term. As such, your claim that Apple can’t release an SDK in the near future is purely speculation and FUD.

    And, Apple has a shipping next generation mobile device that’s sitting here on my desk. Microsoft hasn’t even demoed a prototype WPF based mobile device yet.

    That’s reality.

    Unless the conversation changes direction again, I’ll be back when Apple makes an announcement or when Leopard ships, which is currently scheduled for October.

  16. Scott,

    Again, I’m not speculating about the future or which gossip column’s predictions are right or wrong.

    Apple, at their only developer’s conference (contrast that with Microsoft’s large number of conferences with developer tracks including TechEd and MIX) told their developers to pound sand. And that was at the conference right before an OS rev and with a new product line.

    That’s reality. Deal with it.

  17. Scott,

    Again, I’m not speculating about the future or which gossip column’s predictions are right or wrong.

    Apple, at their only developer’s conference (contrast that with Microsoft’s large number of conferences with developer tracks including TechEd and MIX) told their developers to pound sand. And that was at the conference right before an OS rev and with a new product line.

    That’s reality. Deal with it.

  18. MIke wrote: “That discussion is about claiming that there is some magic plan that Apple is executing that makes the pathetic story from the developer’s conference less than just “Go pound sand”

    And where were the announcements from Microsoft about their next gen mobile device at their last developer conference?

    Where was the announcement of a Web 2.0 compliant browser that runs on Windows Mobile?

    Where were the developer announcements for the Zune? It doesn’t even have games from major developers, like EA on the iPod.

    In fact, Microsoft has so little to announce that it unexpectedly canceled it’s flagship developer conference, PDC, which it uses to announce new technology.

    http://scobleizer.com/2007/05/24/microsoft-cancels-pdc/

    Apparently, if you have nothing new to announce, this is what you consider the “right” way to approach your developers?

    And where are all the announcements about Windows 7? About all we know about the next version of Windows is designed to ensure a more consistent release schedule. Microsoft has even become tight lipped about the release date of Vista SP1. There is no release date at all. All Microsoft is committing to is a beta released sometime this year.

    http://www.windowsconnected.com/blogs/joshs_blog/archive/2007/07/19/no-public-windows-vista-sp1-this-week.aspx

    I guess Microsoft can’t ship SP1 this year, since there is no public announcement of a ship date. Which I find odd since Microsoft knows many organizations are waiting for the first service pack to deploy Vista.

  19. MIke wrote: “That discussion is about claiming that there is some magic plan that Apple is executing that makes the pathetic story from the developer’s conference less than just “Go pound sand”

    And where were the announcements from Microsoft about their next gen mobile device at their last developer conference?

    Where was the announcement of a Web 2.0 compliant browser that runs on Windows Mobile?

    Where were the developer announcements for the Zune? It doesn’t even have games from major developers, like EA on the iPod.

    In fact, Microsoft has so little to announce that it unexpectedly canceled it’s flagship developer conference, PDC, which it uses to announce new technology.

    http://scobleizer.com/2007/05/24/microsoft-cancels-pdc/

    Apparently, if you have nothing new to announce, this is what you consider the “right” way to approach your developers?

    And where are all the announcements about Windows 7? About all we know about the next version of Windows is designed to ensure a more consistent release schedule. Microsoft has even become tight lipped about the release date of Vista SP1. There is no release date at all. All Microsoft is committing to is a beta released sometime this year.

    http://www.windowsconnected.com/blogs/joshs_blog/archive/2007/07/19/no-public-windows-vista-sp1-this-week.aspx

    I guess Microsoft can’t ship SP1 this year, since there is no public announcement of a ship date. Which I find odd since Microsoft knows many organizations are waiting for the first service pack to deploy Vista.

  20. Sigh

    The discussion is whether “Steve Jobs is Not an Idiot”

    That discussion is about claiming that there is some magic plan that Apple is executing that makes the pathetic story from the developer’s conference less than just “Go pound sand”

    The reality is that “go pound sand” is nicer than what Apple told their development partners.

    Here’s a reminder…

    On Macintosh:
    Apple stressed how well Windows Applications ran on Macintosh

    On Computer Games:
    Apple had partners come in to show how well their Windows Games ran on Macintosh

    On iPod:
    No developer story

    On iTV:
    No developer story

    On iPhone:
    No developer story
    (but Apple patted themselves on the back with the show’s BIG announcement that Apple won’t block iPhone users from visiting AJAX sites on their 2G EDGE connection and you can tweak your site to look like, but not function like, an actuial iPhone application, sort-of)

    This was the DEVELOPER conference. The only one for the year.

  21. Sigh

    The discussion is whether “Steve Jobs is Not an Idiot”

    That discussion is about claiming that there is some magic plan that Apple is executing that makes the pathetic story from the developer’s conference less than just “Go pound sand”

    The reality is that “go pound sand” is nicer than what Apple told their development partners.

    Here’s a reminder…

    On Macintosh:
    Apple stressed how well Windows Applications ran on Macintosh

    On Computer Games:
    Apple had partners come in to show how well their Windows Games ran on Macintosh

    On iPod:
    No developer story

    On iTV:
    No developer story

    On iPhone:
    No developer story
    (but Apple patted themselves on the back with the show’s BIG announcement that Apple won’t block iPhone users from visiting AJAX sites on their 2G EDGE connection and you can tweak your site to look like, but not function like, an actuial iPhone application, sort-of)

    This was the DEVELOPER conference. The only one for the year.

  22. Mike, I’ve clearly stated that Apple may never decided not to release an SDK for the iPhone from the beginning.

    However, unlike Microsoft, it’s quite obvious that Apple does have an next gen SDK it could release at any time. We know this is a fact because Apple is using said SDK to ship existing apps on an existing device. This isn’t some pie in the sky prototype runtime or device. It’s shipping right now and customers are using it.

    I’ve also provided several plausible reasons why Apple would wait to release an SDK.

    Another of which is that the iPhone is running OS X. This make is quite likely it has dependencies on Leopard and XCode 3.0, with hasn’t even shipped yet and can change between the iPhone’s initial release and October.

    It’s critical for Apple to release an Leopard SDK to developers because there are thousands of existing Mac apps that must work when customers upgrade their systems. The iPhone, on the other hand, doesn’t have any existing apps that had to run when the iPhone shipped. If developers released apps for the currently shipping version of the iPhone, they would break if there are significant changes when Leopard and XCode 3.0 ships. Sure enough, if you look at crash dumps from the iPhone, you’ll see that the iPhone has shipped with at least one framework with a depreciated name, “Layer Kit.”

    http://daringfireball.net/misc/2007/06/MobileMail-2007-06-29-204206.crash

    Since Apple uses the public name of frameworks, such as CI for Core Image, it’s almost certain these class names and header files will be depreciated or made obsolete in a few months from now. Developers would need to update all references to these classes when the GM of Leopard is released and the iPhone is updated. As such, it would make perfect sense for Apple to wait three months to release an SDK.

    However, You’re claiming that it’s impossible for Apple to ship an SDK in October because of non-existent statement you claim that Apple has made.

    Again, show me the explicit statement that excludes the release of an SDK. You can’t because there is none. This is is the crux of my point.

    Furtherer more, what’s ironic about your claim is that, If there’s anyone who can’t ship an SDK for their next generation mobile device, it’s Microsoft. Why? because there is no indication it even has a next generation mobile device. None. And, unlike Apple, Microsoft usually makes announcements far in the future.

    There is no shipping runtime, no shipping devices. Nothing but a prototype of an existing Windows Mobile based device running an existing Silverlight sports widget using a browser plug-in. Hardly what I’d call a next generation mobile device.

    Mike wrote: “What Microsoft will or won’t do at some future point in the future is pretty irrelevant. They have a solid solution now. Apple does not. It’s that simple.”

    I think it’s quite relevant. iPhone is running a version of the same kernel as Mac OS X and mobile versions of the same frameworks as Mac OS X, including Core Animation. Even if it waits until next year to release an SDK on a 2.0 device, Apple will have had a entire year to refine an existing product and API. And Developers will have been using the same frameworks with Leopard.

    However, based on what we know, all Microsoft will have is a browser plugin running on top of it’s pre-existing Windows Mobile platform, which uses a completely different kernel than Vista and isn’t entirely based on WPF. While you might be willing to invest time and money into what is effectively a poorly designed legacy “solution”, I’m not.

    Again, it’s pretty clear that Apple has a huge technical advantage in a space where Microsoft isn’t the dominate player. In other words, Windows Mobile will have to compete on it’s own merits instead depending on users being locked into legacy solutions and proprietary protocols. Without a next generation mobile OS, annual sales of the iPhone could approach or even surpass those of Windows Mobile in the next 12 months. Since Microsoft’s mobile / embedded division only made two million dollars last year (after consistently loosing millions of dollars annually since 2003) this isn’t an unrealistic scenario.

    http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/50755EA6-A759-42FD-84ED-EBB5A060AF16.html

  23. Mike, I’ve clearly stated that Apple may never decided not to release an SDK for the iPhone from the beginning.

    However, unlike Microsoft, it’s quite obvious that Apple does have an next gen SDK it could release at any time. We know this is a fact because Apple is using said SDK to ship existing apps on an existing device. This isn’t some pie in the sky prototype runtime or device. It’s shipping right now and customers are using it.

    I’ve also provided several plausible reasons why Apple would wait to release an SDK.

    Another of which is that the iPhone is running OS X. This make is quite likely it has dependencies on Leopard and XCode 3.0, with hasn’t even shipped yet and can change between the iPhone’s initial release and October.

    It’s critical for Apple to release an Leopard SDK to developers because there are thousands of existing Mac apps that must work when customers upgrade their systems. The iPhone, on the other hand, doesn’t have any existing apps that had to run when the iPhone shipped. If developers released apps for the currently shipping version of the iPhone, they would break if there are significant changes when Leopard and XCode 3.0 ships. Sure enough, if you look at crash dumps from the iPhone, you’ll see that the iPhone has shipped with at least one framework with a depreciated name, “Layer Kit.”

    http://daringfireball.net/misc/2007/06/MobileMail-2007-06-29-204206.crash

    Since Apple uses the public name of frameworks, such as CI for Core Image, it’s almost certain these class names and header files will be depreciated or made obsolete in a few months from now. Developers would need to update all references to these classes when the GM of Leopard is released and the iPhone is updated. As such, it would make perfect sense for Apple to wait three months to release an SDK.

    However, You’re claiming that it’s impossible for Apple to ship an SDK in October because of non-existent statement you claim that Apple has made.

    Again, show me the explicit statement that excludes the release of an SDK. You can’t because there is none. This is is the crux of my point.

    Furtherer more, what’s ironic about your claim is that, If there’s anyone who can’t ship an SDK for their next generation mobile device, it’s Microsoft. Why? because there is no indication it even has a next generation mobile device. None. And, unlike Apple, Microsoft usually makes announcements far in the future.

    There is no shipping runtime, no shipping devices. Nothing but a prototype of an existing Windows Mobile based device running an existing Silverlight sports widget using a browser plug-in. Hardly what I’d call a next generation mobile device.

    Mike wrote: “What Microsoft will or won’t do at some future point in the future is pretty irrelevant. They have a solid solution now. Apple does not. It’s that simple.”

    I think it’s quite relevant. iPhone is running a version of the same kernel as Mac OS X and mobile versions of the same frameworks as Mac OS X, including Core Animation. Even if it waits until next year to release an SDK on a 2.0 device, Apple will have had a entire year to refine an existing product and API. And Developers will have been using the same frameworks with Leopard.

    However, based on what we know, all Microsoft will have is a browser plugin running on top of it’s pre-existing Windows Mobile platform, which uses a completely different kernel than Vista and isn’t entirely based on WPF. While you might be willing to invest time and money into what is effectively a poorly designed legacy “solution”, I’m not.

    Again, it’s pretty clear that Apple has a huge technical advantage in a space where Microsoft isn’t the dominate player. In other words, Windows Mobile will have to compete on it’s own merits instead depending on users being locked into legacy solutions and proprietary protocols. Without a next generation mobile OS, annual sales of the iPhone could approach or even surpass those of Windows Mobile in the next 12 months. Since Microsoft’s mobile / embedded division only made two million dollars last year (after consistently loosing millions of dollars annually since 2003) this isn’t an unrealistic scenario.

    http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/50755EA6-A759-42FD-84ED-EBB5A060AF16.html

  24. Scott,

    Nope. You’re comaparing your hopes for a theoretical SDK on an existing product with a released SDK on a released product.

    In other cases, you’re comaparing your hopes for a theoretical SDK on an existing product with some future guesswork on distribution of a future technology.

    Here in the real world, Apple’s ONLY answer to developers is write an AJAX based web page and optimize it for their device.

    I’m not “criticizing Apple for not releasing an SDK for it’s next generation Core Animation based mobile platform”.

    I’m not even criticizing Apple for not releasing an SDK for it’s currently shipping mobile platform. I think is a brain-dead choice but it’s their choice to make.

    I’m criticizing Apple fans for believing in magic – for pretending that Apple IS releasing an SDK for it’s currently shipping mobile platform despite Apple’s statements to the contrary.

    What Microsoft will or won’t do at some future point in the future is pretty irrelevant. They have a solid solution now. Apple does not. It’s that simple.

  25. Scott,

    Nope. You’re comaparing your hopes for a theoretical SDK on an existing product with a released SDK on a released product.

    In other cases, you’re comaparing your hopes for a theoretical SDK on an existing product with some future guesswork on distribution of a future technology.

    Here in the real world, Apple’s ONLY answer to developers is write an AJAX based web page and optimize it for their device.

    I’m not “criticizing Apple for not releasing an SDK for it’s next generation Core Animation based mobile platform”.

    I’m not even criticizing Apple for not releasing an SDK for it’s currently shipping mobile platform. I think is a brain-dead choice but it’s their choice to make.

    I’m criticizing Apple fans for believing in magic – for pretending that Apple IS releasing an SDK for it’s currently shipping mobile platform despite Apple’s statements to the contrary.

    What Microsoft will or won’t do at some future point in the future is pretty irrelevant. They have a solid solution now. Apple does not. It’s that simple.

  26. Mike wrote: “The difference is that I’m commenting on what’s available and not people’s hopes and dreams and fantasies and the discussion on this topic has compared present reality on one platform against hopes for the other.”

    Mike, I’m comparing facts, not fantasies.

    You’re criticizing Apple for not releasing an SDK for it’s next generation Core Animation based mobile platform, (which is shipping right now) when Microsoft doesn’t even have a generation mobile runtime or device, let alone an SDK. Not even in early beta.

    Rumor has it Sliverlight, Microsoft’s WPF based browser plug-in, will ship in late 2008 and run on top of the existing Windows Mobile OS. But that’s just a rumor. And I don’t see Microsoft creating an entire OS using a browser plugin.

    Until Microsoft is shipping an next generation mobile platform based entirely on WPF and an SDK, I’d say Apple is way ahead at the moment.

  27. Mike wrote: “The difference is that I’m commenting on what’s available and not people’s hopes and dreams and fantasies and the discussion on this topic has compared present reality on one platform against hopes for the other.”

    Mike, I’m comparing facts, not fantasies.

    You’re criticizing Apple for not releasing an SDK for it’s next generation Core Animation based mobile platform, (which is shipping right now) when Microsoft doesn’t even have a generation mobile runtime or device, let alone an SDK. Not even in early beta.

    Rumor has it Sliverlight, Microsoft’s WPF based browser plug-in, will ship in late 2008 and run on top of the existing Windows Mobile OS. But that’s just a rumor. And I don’t see Microsoft creating an entire OS using a browser plugin.

    Until Microsoft is shipping an next generation mobile platform based entirely on WPF and an SDK, I’d say Apple is way ahead at the moment.

  28. btw: to be fair, there has been speculation and hopes that Microsoft will port Silverlight (again, an unreleased alpha and beta product) to Windows Mobile in the future.

    To be equally fair, there has been speculation and hopes that Apple will release some variety of SDK for the iPhone in the future.

    The difference is that I’m commenting on what’s available and not people’s hopes and dreams and fantasies and the discussion on this topic has compared present reality on one platform against hopes for the other.

    So, if you want to compare hopes and dreams and fantasies, feel free, but do it for both.

    I’d rather compare what’s available for both platforms in reality since it’s awfully hard to develop using a fantasy SDK and hard to sell a product that only exists in dreams.

  29. btw: to be fair, there has been speculation and hopes that Microsoft will port Silverlight (again, an unreleased alpha and beta product) to Windows Mobile in the future.

    To be equally fair, there has been speculation and hopes that Apple will release some variety of SDK for the iPhone in the future.

    The difference is that I’m commenting on what’s available and not people’s hopes and dreams and fantasies and the discussion on this topic has compared present reality on one platform against hopes for the other.

    So, if you want to compare hopes and dreams and fantasies, feel free, but do it for both.

    I’d rather compare what’s available for both platforms in reality since it’s awfully hard to develop using a fantasy SDK and hard to sell a product that only exists in dreams.

  30. Scott,

    Yes. I know all about Silverlight (1.0 and 1.1) and the other new features in alpha and beta for Windows. Thanks for asking. They’re very cool and if you’re running Windows or Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher on Intel or PowerPC, I’d highly suggest learning them.

    Again. Microsoft provides OS access, APIs, a full SDK, multiple tools and promotes 3rd parties to provide development tools as well for it’s phone system.

    Apple, on the other hand says: Want to develop for iPhone? Want to take advantage of all that hard learned OS X and Unix and Carbon and Cocoa experience? Don’t even try. But, hey, we’re not locking you out. It’s OK with us if you want to build a web page that users can browse to.

    Gee, thanks Apple…

  31. Scott,

    Yes. I know all about Silverlight (1.0 and 1.1) and the other new features in alpha and beta for Windows. Thanks for asking. They’re very cool and if you’re running Windows or Mac OS X 10.4.8 or higher on Intel or PowerPC, I’d highly suggest learning them.

    Again. Microsoft provides OS access, APIs, a full SDK, multiple tools and promotes 3rd parties to provide development tools as well for it’s phone system.

    Apple, on the other hand says: Want to develop for iPhone? Want to take advantage of all that hard learned OS X and Unix and Carbon and Cocoa experience? Don’t even try. But, hey, we’re not locking you out. It’s OK with us if you want to build a web page that users can browse to.

    Gee, thanks Apple…

  32. Mike wrote: ” I’ve generally found that when somebody starts out with “It is obvious” they are hoping nobody will notice that the statement they’ve made has no basis in fact.”

    Unless you expect third-party developers to write full blown apps (and Microsoft to create a mobile operating system) using hand coded animation and game development APIs, It’s quite obvious.

    Do you actually know what WPF / Silverlight is and what features it provides? There’s nothing like in Win32 or .NETCF2.0. Developers simply describe what elements should look, where the want them to go and how they should behave – the framework does all the hard work of animating and rendering the entire scene in a separate thread. Developers might be able to hack together a scrolling list in .NET, but creating a full blown animated application or an entire OS is something completely different.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Presentation_Foundation

    Core Animation provides a similar set of features using Cocoa 2.0, which Apple is leveraging throughout the entire iPhone UI. This includes all the built in apps, such as the email client, web browser, Google Maps and even device preferences, not just iPod functionality.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_Animation

    Also, both WPF and Cocoa support data-binding, which make it possible to create data driven animated applications very rapidly.

    Mike wrote: “The existance [sic] of 3rd party clones of iPhone UI eye-candy on Windows Mobile and Apple’s own insistance that an acceptable iPhone “Experience” can be had with AJAX put paid to your odd assumptions that you so clearly paint as indisputable truths.”

    Scrolling lists and app launchers doesn’t begin to compare to how Apple has integrated Core Animation into the entire iPhone UI.

    Where are all the clones of the rest of the iPhone UI elements, such as the dials that allow users to easily and intuitively set times and select values from multiple options? What about all of the graphical elements that seamlessly animate between applications?

    http://www.thinksecret.com/archives/iphoneinterface/source/iphone04.html

    Without WPF, this kind of functionality simply isn’t possible unless you drop down to lower level APIs, such as DirectDraw / Direct3D, and/or write your own animation routines.

    I’m not saying that third-party developers can create native iPhone apps using AJAX. I’m saying that neither Apple or Microsoft have third party SDKs for WPF or Core Animation on mobile devices. Yet Apple has a runtime and entire mobile OS that’s shipped on about a million mobile devices in only a few weeks.

    Microsoft doesn’t have a runtime and it has shipped zero WPF / Silverlight capable devices. While it’s possible Microsoft could ship a runtime that supports stand-alone widgets and apps in the short to mid term, it’s a reasonable conclusion that Microsoft won’t be releasing a entirely WPF / Silverlight based version of Windows Mobile anytime the near future.

    In my opinion, the only way Microsoft can come close to matching the iPhone end-user experience is to pull a Zune: create a completely new, yet incompatible, WPF based mobile OS, API, sync system and possibly even it’s own store. Since only Microsoft can put content on the Zune, they gained complete control of the customers’ experience- end to end. However, in the process, they alienated their Plays for Sure developer partners and caused significant confusion for consumers in the marketplace.

    Mike wrote: “A public statement that there will be no SDK”

    Show me the statement that explicitly states there will be no SDK.

    Apple’s announcement at WWDC stated that developers would need to use Web 2.0 / AJAX if they wanted to develop apps for the iPhone when it ships. Period. Coincidentally, the iPhone just happens to have the best web, CSS and javascript support of any mobile device.

  33. Mike wrote: ” I’ve generally found that when somebody starts out with “It is obvious” they are hoping nobody will notice that the statement they’ve made has no basis in fact.”

    Unless you expect third-party developers to write full blown apps (and Microsoft to create a mobile operating system) using hand coded animation and game development APIs, It’s quite obvious.

    Do you actually know what WPF / Silverlight is and what features it provides? There’s nothing like in Win32 or .NETCF2.0. Developers simply describe what elements should look, where the want them to go and how they should behave – the framework does all the hard work of animating and rendering the entire scene in a separate thread. Developers might be able to hack together a scrolling list in .NET, but creating a full blown animated application or an entire OS is something completely different.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Presentation_Foundation

    Core Animation provides a similar set of features using Cocoa 2.0, which Apple is leveraging throughout the entire iPhone UI. This includes all the built in apps, such as the email client, web browser, Google Maps and even device preferences, not just iPod functionality.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_Animation

    Also, both WPF and Cocoa support data-binding, which make it possible to create data driven animated applications very rapidly.

    Mike wrote: “The existance [sic] of 3rd party clones of iPhone UI eye-candy on Windows Mobile and Apple’s own insistance that an acceptable iPhone “Experience” can be had with AJAX put paid to your odd assumptions that you so clearly paint as indisputable truths.”

    Scrolling lists and app launchers doesn’t begin to compare to how Apple has integrated Core Animation into the entire iPhone UI.

    Where are all the clones of the rest of the iPhone UI elements, such as the dials that allow users to easily and intuitively set times and select values from multiple options? What about all of the graphical elements that seamlessly animate between applications?

    http://www.thinksecret.com/archives/iphoneinterface/source/iphone04.html

    Without WPF, this kind of functionality simply isn’t possible unless you drop down to lower level APIs, such as DirectDraw / Direct3D, and/or write your own animation routines.

    I’m not saying that third-party developers can create native iPhone apps using AJAX. I’m saying that neither Apple or Microsoft have third party SDKs for WPF or Core Animation on mobile devices. Yet Apple has a runtime and entire mobile OS that’s shipped on about a million mobile devices in only a few weeks.

    Microsoft doesn’t have a runtime and it has shipped zero WPF / Silverlight capable devices. While it’s possible Microsoft could ship a runtime that supports stand-alone widgets and apps in the short to mid term, it’s a reasonable conclusion that Microsoft won’t be releasing a entirely WPF / Silverlight based version of Windows Mobile anytime the near future.

    In my opinion, the only way Microsoft can come close to matching the iPhone end-user experience is to pull a Zune: create a completely new, yet incompatible, WPF based mobile OS, API, sync system and possibly even it’s own store. Since only Microsoft can put content on the Zune, they gained complete control of the customers’ experience- end to end. However, in the process, they alienated their Plays for Sure developer partners and caused significant confusion for consumers in the marketplace.

    Mike wrote: “A public statement that there will be no SDK”

    Show me the statement that explicitly states there will be no SDK.

    Apple’s announcement at WWDC stated that developers would need to use Web 2.0 / AJAX if they wanted to develop apps for the iPhone when it ships. Period. Coincidentally, the iPhone just happens to have the best web, CSS and javascript support of any mobile device.

  34. Oddly, my initial reply to your post 134 didn’t show up so let’s try it again:

    Apple iPhone

    No SDK
    A public statement that there will be no SDK
    A public statement that developer should use AJAX

    Microsoft Windows Mobile

    SDK
    Multiple developer tools
    Multiple generations of sample code
    Developer support programs
    Peer developer communities

  35. Oddly, my initial reply to your post 134 didn’t show up so let’s try it again:

    Apple iPhone

    No SDK
    A public statement that there will be no SDK
    A public statement that developer should use AJAX

    Microsoft Windows Mobile

    SDK
    Multiple developer tools
    Multiple generations of sample code
    Developer support programs
    Peer developer communities

  36. Now, as for your statement “It’s also quite obvious that the iPhone delivers a end-user experience that could only be approached by using WPF or Silverlight thought the entire UI.”

    I’ve generally found that when somebody starts out with “It is obvious” they are hoping nobody will notice that the statement they’ve made has no basis in fact. The existance of 3rd party clones of iPhone UI eye-candy on Windows Mobile and Apple’s own insistance that an acceptable iPhone “Experience” can be had with AJAX put paid to your odd assumptions that you so clearly paint as indisputable truths.

  37. Now, as for your statement “It’s also quite obvious that the iPhone delivers a end-user experience that could only be approached by using WPF or Silverlight thought the entire UI.”

    I’ve generally found that when somebody starts out with “It is obvious” they are hoping nobody will notice that the statement they’ve made has no basis in fact. The existance of 3rd party clones of iPhone UI eye-candy on Windows Mobile and Apple’s own insistance that an acceptable iPhone “Experience” can be had with AJAX put paid to your odd assumptions that you so clearly paint as indisputable truths.

  38. Mike,

    It’s relevant because, as of today, neither third-party developers nor Microsoft can ship iPhone like applications on Windows Mobile. The technology currently does not exist in a form that can be delivered to end users. Period.

    And I don’t insist to know what will be in future versions of Windows Mobile. I’m merely stating facts. Your the one who claims to know what will and won’t be available regarding future third-party iPhone development support.

    Here’s the facts as of this very moment.

    - Apple has a shipping mobile runtime for Cocoa 2.0 and Core Animation
    - Apple has shipped a device that’s using said runtime, not just for stand-alone apps but the entire UI
    - Apple has not delivered an SDK for this runtime, allowing third-parties to develop applications
    - Customers are using Apple developed applications on said device and runtime in the wild

    - Microsoft does not have a shipping mobile runtime for WPF or Silverlight
    - Microsoft can’t ship any devices that use this runtime because it does not exist in deliverable form
    - Third-party developers can’t create or ship Silverlight apps for mobile devices because a production mobile SDK for Silverlight does not exist
    - Customers can’t use mobile WPF or Silverlight apps on moblie devices.

    It’s also quite obvious that the iPhone delivers a end-user experience that could only be approached by using WPF or Silverlight thought the entire UI. Yet there is no runtime or SDK that developers or even Microsoft can use to ship such apps. In addition, the prototype video only shows a stand-alone application widget. Creating an entire version of Windows Mobile built on WPF or Silverlight is something completely different.

    Mike wrote: “Whether [Silverlight stand-alone application on Windows Mobile] CAN be done clearly isn’t [a valid question].”

    Clearly, the facts as of today show it can’t be done. Just like, as of today, third-party developers can’t develop apps for the iPhone.

  39. Mike,

    It’s relevant because, as of today, neither third-party developers nor Microsoft can ship iPhone like applications on Windows Mobile. The technology currently does not exist in a form that can be delivered to end users. Period.

    And I don’t insist to know what will be in future versions of Windows Mobile. I’m merely stating facts. Your the one who claims to know what will and won’t be available regarding future third-party iPhone development support.

    Here’s the facts as of this very moment.

    - Apple has a shipping mobile runtime for Cocoa 2.0 and Core Animation
    - Apple has shipped a device that’s using said runtime, not just for stand-alone apps but the entire UI
    - Apple has not delivered an SDK for this runtime, allowing third-parties to develop applications
    - Customers are using Apple developed applications on said device and runtime in the wild

    - Microsoft does not have a shipping mobile runtime for WPF or Silverlight
    - Microsoft can’t ship any devices that use this runtime because it does not exist in deliverable form
    - Third-party developers can’t create or ship Silverlight apps for mobile devices because a production mobile SDK for Silverlight does not exist
    - Customers can’t use mobile WPF or Silverlight apps on moblie devices.

    It’s also quite obvious that the iPhone delivers a end-user experience that could only be approached by using WPF or Silverlight thought the entire UI. Yet there is no runtime or SDK that developers or even Microsoft can use to ship such apps. In addition, the prototype video only shows a stand-alone application widget. Creating an entire version of Windows Mobile built on WPF or Silverlight is something completely different.

    Mike wrote: “Whether [Silverlight stand-alone application on Windows Mobile] CAN be done clearly isn’t [a valid question].”

    Clearly, the facts as of today show it can’t be done. Just like, as of today, third-party developers can’t develop apps for the iPhone.

  40. Scott,

    It’s off topic because, like any other part of the SDK, it’s not available to 3rd party developers.

    Oh, and it’s particularly fanboi-ish of you to insist on what can be done with a non-existant Apple SDK while also insisting that you know what will and won’t be in future versions of Windows Mobile and insist that “they can’t ship Sliverlight [sic] stand-alone applications” when in a previous post I pointed you to a prototype Silverlight stand-alone application on Windows Mobile. Whether it will ship or not is a valid question. Whether it CAN be done clearly isn’t.

    It’s getting rather sad, actually.

  41. Scott,

    It’s off topic because, like any other part of the SDK, it’s not available to 3rd party developers.

    Oh, and it’s particularly fanboi-ish of you to insist on what can be done with a non-existant Apple SDK while also insisting that you know what will and won’t be in future versions of Windows Mobile and insist that “they can’t ship Sliverlight [sic] stand-alone applications” when in a previous post I pointed you to a prototype Silverlight stand-alone application on Windows Mobile. Whether it will ship or not is a valid question. Whether it CAN be done clearly isn’t.

    It’s getting rather sad, actually.

  42. Mike,

    I don’t see how this is off-topic.

    Apple is using Cocoa 2.0 and Core Animation to create a completely new user experience on mobile devices. And it’s shipping right now. I’m not talking about simply running stand-alone apps, like gadget or sports widgets, I’m talking about the entire UI – end to end.

    The iPhone is would be the equivalent of a Windows Mobile device entirely based on WPF / Siverlight / .NETCF3.5, but without legacy Win32 and .NETCF 2.0 APIs. Apple doesn’t ship the iPhone with legacy APIs because there is no Cocoa 1.x mobile API to ship. It’s a clean slate.

    Apple may not have a third-party SDK at the moment, but it’s does have a mobile device based entirely on a mobile Cocoa 2.0 and Core animation runtime, which is in use by about a million customers right now.

    While Third-party developers can ship legacy Win32 and .NETCF 2.0 based apps for Windows Mobile, they can’t ship Sliverlight stand-alone applications because there is no Sliverlight SDK for Windows Mobile. Nor can Microsoft can’t deliver an entire WPF based device because there is no WPF runtime for any mobile device.

  43. Mike,

    I don’t see how this is off-topic.

    Apple is using Cocoa 2.0 and Core Animation to create a completely new user experience on mobile devices. And it’s shipping right now. I’m not talking about simply running stand-alone apps, like gadget or sports widgets, I’m talking about the entire UI – end to end.

    The iPhone is would be the equivalent of a Windows Mobile device entirely based on WPF / Siverlight / .NETCF3.5, but without legacy Win32 and .NETCF 2.0 APIs. Apple doesn’t ship the iPhone with legacy APIs because there is no Cocoa 1.x mobile API to ship. It’s a clean slate.

    Apple may not have a third-party SDK at the moment, but it’s does have a mobile device based entirely on a mobile Cocoa 2.0 and Core animation runtime, which is in use by about a million customers right now.

    While Third-party developers can ship legacy Win32 and .NETCF 2.0 based apps for Windows Mobile, they can’t ship Sliverlight stand-alone applications because there is no Sliverlight SDK for Windows Mobile. Nor can Microsoft can’t deliver an entire WPF based device because there is no WPF runtime for any mobile device.

  44. And, in case anyone really IS interested, you could, of course, check out the interview from back in May with Scott Holden, the Product Unit Manager for the .NET Compact Framework team from Microsoft’s MIX07 “Conversation” in Las Vegas where he talks about Silverlight on devices and shows a prototype Silverlight app running on a Windows Mobile phone.

    It’s available at http://blogs.msdn.com/lokeuei/archive/2007/05/03/checkout-silverlight-on-windows-mobile.aspx

    But, that’s not going to help you write apps for the iPhone. (I’d guess the only thing that could do that is applying for a job at Apple)

  45. And, in case anyone really IS interested, you could, of course, check out the interview from back in May with Scott Holden, the Product Unit Manager for the .NET Compact Framework team from Microsoft’s MIX07 “Conversation” in Las Vegas where he talks about Silverlight on devices and shows a prototype Silverlight app running on a Windows Mobile phone.

    It’s available at http://blogs.msdn.com/lokeuei/archive/2007/05/03/checkout-silverlight-on-windows-mobile.aspx

    But, that’s not going to help you write apps for the iPhone. (I’d guess the only thing that could do that is applying for a job at Apple)

  46. Scott,

    I didn’t discuss WPF or Silverlight on Windows Mobile because we’re discussiong the lack of an SDK for iPhone and the bizarre insistance of Apple fans that despite Apple’s very clear statements on the subject there IS a native SDK that Apple will release soon.

    You talk about all those Core Animation Cocoa apps that are on iPhone. The issue isn’t that Apple can write what they want. The issue is, and always has been in this thread, that nobody but Apple can write anything but AJAX/DHTML half-apps, that Apple has locked out their development partners.

    Oh, and to answer your off-topic question, Silverlight 1.0 is only in beta. Silverlight 1.1 is only in alpha. Where they’ll go in the future is open for speculation.

    Windows Mobile, Windows CE and the .NET Compact Framework have gotten more and more powerful with each release, have new versions in development and Microsoft’s development partners continue as they always have in working with Microsoft SDKs and resources to take those platforms to places that meet their customers’ needs and wants.

    By comparison, iPhone is out now but Apple’s development partners need not apply.

  47. Scott,

    I didn’t discuss WPF or Silverlight on Windows Mobile because we’re discussiong the lack of an SDK for iPhone and the bizarre insistance of Apple fans that despite Apple’s very clear statements on the subject there IS a native SDK that Apple will release soon.

    You talk about all those Core Animation Cocoa apps that are on iPhone. The issue isn’t that Apple can write what they want. The issue is, and always has been in this thread, that nobody but Apple can write anything but AJAX/DHTML half-apps, that Apple has locked out their development partners.

    Oh, and to answer your off-topic question, Silverlight 1.0 is only in beta. Silverlight 1.1 is only in alpha. Where they’ll go in the future is open for speculation.

    Windows Mobile, Windows CE and the .NET Compact Framework have gotten more and more powerful with each release, have new versions in development and Microsoft’s development partners continue as they always have in working with Microsoft SDKs and resources to take those platforms to places that meet their customers’ needs and wants.

    By comparison, iPhone is out now but Apple’s development partners need not apply.

  48. Mike,

    You didn’t answer my question.

    Don’t you think developers would like create Windows Presentation Foundation / Silverlight based apps for Windows Mobile? Since the UIs on most WM apps look like they’re stuck in the year 1995, I’d say the answer to that question would be a resounding “yes.”

    However, third-party developers can’t create WPF apps for Windows Mobile because there is no Windows Mobile SDK for WPF, or even Siverlight for that matter.

    Nor can Microsoft ship WPF apps for Window Mobile because there is no runtime support for WPF or Silverlight in .NETCF.

    The end results is that Windows Mobile users can’t run WPF apps on their devices, because NO ONE can developed them. Not even Microsoft.

    Yet, there are approximately a million users running Core Animation apps written in Cocoa (Apple’s equivalent of WPF and .NET) on their iPhone right now. Not only that, but the entire core UI of the iPhone is based on Cocoa and Core Animation – email, web, maps, music, video. Everything.

    When Microsoft does get around to shipping a version of .NETCF that supports WPF, it’s likely that Windows Mobile will not immediately adopt WPF as it’s primary UI. Yes, Microsoft and third-party developers will ship individual apps that leverage WPF, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the core Windows Mobile UI and apps will continue to use Win32, just like Windows Vista continues to use Win32 for IE, the Explorer Shell, etc.

    By decoupling the artificial constraint of shipping a runtime and SDK at the same time, Apple can put a device in end users hands that can run rich applications and has a rich core UI. Today.

Comments are closed.