Macworld is running a story today about how Apple has changed the conditions of the latest iPhone OS 3.0 NDA to explicitly denounce jailbreaking.
Apple is taking a more aggressive stance against developers who create apps for “jailbroken” iPhones. According to a new report, the Cupertino-based company recently updated its “iPhone Developer Program License Agreement” – the agreement to which all iPhone developers are required to adhere — to explicitly disallow jailbreaking, assisting in jailbreaking, and developing and distributing jailbreak apps. The Ars Technica report says that while previous agreements forbade the creation of apps that violate privacy, facilitate crimes, or violate intellectual property laws, the new one restricts developers from jailbreaking their own phones.
This is complete bullshit. One of the greatest things about OS X is the inclusion of the developer’s tools, allowing you to completely build whatever app you want for yourself if what Apple offers doesn’t suit your needs. Yes, the learning curve is steep, but even if you don’t necessarily have the chops to crank out an app on your own, the ability is there, and the challenge is often taken up by other developers. I happen to buy a LOT of software for OS X, something I nearly never did when I was a pc user, so many years ago.
With this latest move, Apple isn’t actively denying the same functionality on the iPhone — you can download the iPhone dev tools just as easily as you can the Mac ones — but there’s a not-so-subtle difference in the iPhone world. Censorship. Apple controls what apps get put onto the iPhone app store.
My developer argument is purely academic, as I’ve never written an app for either of the platforms, but as a consumer, I’ve been using a lot of the jailbreak functionality in ways that do no harm to Apple. I use a shell program that I prefer over the other free ones on the app store, a calculator that supports RPN, and a backgrounding app that allows my shell to stay open when I need to check my mail (I’ve given up the Super Mario theme and Zelda sound sets I was using last week).
None of these pieces of functionality compete with Apple or take any revenue away from third parties. There are, admittedly, apps in Cydia that do, which brings us to the whole issue here.
Apple has a track record of not allowing apps on the app store that compete w/ them. I get it — it’s their system, they control what’s allowed to go on it. You might be thinking, “If you don’t like it, don’t use the product”. That’s not a bad point, but as a consumer, it’s also our responsibility to voice our displeasure (this counterpoint was made by someone on Buzz Out Loud when a discussion about some other company being heavy-handed came up)
Eff you Apple. Eff you up the a.