Official Third-Party Apps and Unlocked iPhones Announced

by Devanshu Mehta Oct 18, 2007

In two separate announcements, Apple announced that it will support third-party applications on the iPhone and Orange will be selling unlocked iPhones for a slightly higher price. In other news, Bananas have still not entered the mobile phone market.

Of course, there is a catch. In the case of third-party applications, Steve Jobs announced yesterday on the Hot News section of Apple’s web site that it was always their intention to release a Software Development Kit for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It will be released in February (soon after MacWorld).

According to Jobs, the reason for the delay is that Apple is trying to provide an open platform that developers would appreciate while protecting users from malware. Admittedly, an always on, always Internet-connected device with vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited is a black hat’s wet dream.

Of course, most device developers release the SDK before or at the same time as the actual device, but we’ve already heard stories about how Apple rushed the iPhone to the detriment of all else.

Jobs also hints at a kind of “digital signature” that will make sure only “officially sanctioned” software runs on the iPhone. This may be the catch. Of course, this is a digital lock that only deters legitimate small-time developers and not the hardcore hackers who are looking to subvert the system in the first place. I am sure some enterprising security company will be preparing a firewall and anti-virus product for the iPhone soon.

Of course, the interesting part of the announcement—apart from the fact that there was such an announcement—is that it applies to the iPod Touch as well. The iPod touch could become a very formidable competitor to popular PDAs with the right kind of applications.

Let us hope that the SDK has a low enough barrier to entry so that the vast and robust free and open source development community can release applications for it. There are many extraordinary developers who have put a lot of time into developing third-party applications for the iPhone so far; hopefully they will be rewarded. At the very least, let us hope that they will not be kept out of the iPhone ecosystem.

Officially Unlocked iPhones
On the other side of the Atlantic, Orange (Apple’s partner in France) announced that they would release an unlocked iPhone for a higher price. This is required by French law, and so was inevitable once Apple announced the iPhone for France.

They have still not released information on the price for the unlocked phone, but I am sure it will make its way across Europe, if not other parts of the world. The only trouble is that the regular 8GB iPhone is set to cost about $560 in France, so one can imagine how expensive an unlocked one would cost there. This may be reasonable for French neighbors in the region (the iPhone costs about $550 in the UK), but not as cost effective for Americans to import the Freedom iPhones in this case. The U.S. unlock arms race will continue for the foreseeable future.


  • Please remember when comparing prices quote in Europe that we have to show our prices INCLUDING Tax.  So although the iPhone in the UK will cost £269 (or $538), that price includes all Taxes.

    The UK price minus our Tax is £228 (or $456), not that much or a premium after all, just $57 (or £29).

    Parky had this to say on Oct 18, 2007 Posts: 51
  • I think we are not to blame that the dollar is not so shiny at the stocks and we therefore have a relatively cheap unlocked iphone- nanananana!

    mat!-) had this to say on Oct 18, 2007 Posts: 13
  • With the transfer of Leopard developers to the iPhone project my guess is that there were some hacks to get it out on time and these will be replaced by January, leaving a platform that will work well with the SDK based apps.

    If so I can appreciate Apple waiting until the iPhone platform is ready and look forward to a lot of creative programming for it next year. 

    A year from now people are going to be wanting a 32 gig iPhone just to hold the apps/data/pics/movies/etc. that they want to use on their iPhone.  Looks like the iPhone will end up being a handheld computer that also happens to have a phone built in.

    MacKen had this to say on Oct 18, 2007 Posts: 88
  • MacKen, make that a 120GB iPhone, or 200GB iPhone, and I will be happy (with my roughly 160GB of content).

    bluegirl had this to say on Oct 19, 2007 Posts: 19
  • “If this is allowed to go unchallenged, how long will it be before Microsoft starts using its Vista DRM to disable systems that contain software that was not made by Microsoft? “
    Apple News

    wyspa had this to say on Oct 29, 2007 Posts: 9
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