Thursday, April 29, 2010

Steve Jobs Open Letter

In an open letter (also available directly from the apple website, here) to the world, posted on engadget, Steve Jobs attempts to layout his reasoning for why no flash and other "third party" libraries on the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad.

I am going to pick a little on point number six from his letter:

"Our motivation is simple – we want to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers, and we want them to stand directly on the shoulders of this platform and create the best apps the world has ever seen. We want to continually enhance the platform so developers can create even more amazing, powerful, fun and useful applications. Everyone wins – we sell more devices because we have the best apps, developers reach a wider and wider audience and customer base, and users are continually delighted by the best and broadest selection of apps on any platform."

Yes Steve - this can be thought of as a laudable goal. The problem, you see, is choice. In some respects "...if you build it, they will come..." holds true when you talk about cool features and tools to make applications. However, making the choice to not allow ANY THIRD PARTY tooling (flash not withstanding) you are restricting all the other people that might not want to learn Objective-C in order to program for the platform. True - there are plenty of people willing to use your tools, as the number of applications currently available demonstrates, but if the number of applications 'COULD' be 10X as large if you allowed Java, C#, other languages into the space without compromising quality (which you shouldn't be able to control in the first place Steve) would you say that's a good trade off?

I am not sure I buy into the simplistic argument that Apple is using to draw this particular line in the sand.

...To make sure people can 'always' make use of the latest and greatest platform features...

Is it not the case that anyone that wants to do that should be able to make the CHOICE to utilize Objective-C as their platform for coding applications. However, if I am not always interested in the latest or greatest features, essentially I don't care about the cutting edge, I just want an application to work... why can't that type of thing be done in another language and without compromising the supposed quality/availability that you taut.

Sorry Steve, I am just not buying it - literally and figuratively.
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