What’s wrong with the iPhone SDK… and how to get it fixed

The iPhone SDK is great. I’ve talked it up enough in the past few days that it should be quite apparent that I think the iPhone SDK will bring a new wave of development for the iPhone’s Mac OS.

Still, the glaring problem with the iPhone SDK is that the development platform is limiting iPhone coders from taking full advantage of the iPhone’s hardware. It’s like putting 1000 horsepower into a sports car but only giving access to 600 of those ponies. Sure, Bugatti limits the power output and top-speed ofiPhone SDK restricted shackled limited locked down their Veyron supercar, but that’s only done in the name of safety – and the limit can be overridden with a special, secondary “fun” key.

Apple has limited the power of the iPhone with a restrictive iPhone SDK. It’s great that Apple wants to create the most integrated distribution platform in the world, but they should give the iPhone developer a choice regarding how to get the application to the iPhone. The AppStore is restrictive in the fact that it’s forced upon developers.

iPhone applications should be able to run in the background. As Stefan pointed out, third-party applications will not be allowed to run in the background and thus can’t be multi-tasked. Mind you, the hardware is capable of doing so. We know third-party applications can run in the background because the iPhone’s native applications run in the background and can be multi-tasked; and some unofficial native applications installed via Installer.app do, in fact, run in the background and can be multi-tasked with other iPhone apps running at the same time.

iPhone applications should be able to synchronize data with the user’s desktop computer. It’s a shame to limit synchronization to iCal, Mail, Safari, etc. The ability for third-party applications to sync with the computer would be a powerful feature indeed.

Would it be too hard to allow VoIP over the cellular data network? Nope. But AT&T is probably going to have a fit if Apple allows this. VoIP is allowed through WiFi, but it might be asking too much to get VoIP access over AT&T’s network.

And, allow developers access to the iPhone’s dock connector. There’s soo much potential locked up in that iPhone dock connector – why not put it to good use? Is it a ploy by Apple to force developers to pay extra license fees for the “Made for iPhone” blessing?

The folks over at Rogue Amoeba have taken their iPhone SDK gripes to the next logical level. Instead of just bitching about not having this or that feature or access to features in the iPhone SDK, they’ve gone and filed bug reports outlining these (and more) problems. The move is quite ingenius actually. The bug reports will indeed be reviewed by Apple’s own engineers and if enough of these bug reports get filed, it might be enough to sway Apple to open up the iPhone SDK a bit more. So, if you’re developing for the iPhone or just want the next version of the iPhone to be more open, download the SDK and submit some bug reports. Together we might have the power to convince Apple. “Might” being the operative word here.

Really, I’ll be happy if all we get is multi-taskable third-party (official) applications…

  • ian

    is there any way for individuals to submit these bug reports? This restrictio needs to be fixed.

  • Stefan Constantinescu

    you need to be an apple developer, aka pay their fee, to be able to submit bug reports. i could be wrong on this, i’m not too familiar with the apple dev ecosystem.

  • JonnyBruha

    Given everything you just said, it doesn’t sound like the SDK is “great” at all.

    Keep in mind that if something exists that will take money out of Apple’s pockets, then Apple won’t allow it, if they can. The SDK is certainly not an exception, and no online bug reporting petition will make it one.

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