Yesterday Apple announced the new version of the iPhone OS, OS 4. Ever since OS 2.0 and the ability of third party parties developing apps for the iPhone platform, the OS has been a huge success. Although OS 4 has added some nice features like multitasking, life of developers has not become easier on the whole.
So let’s have a little overview of this that interested me:
- Multi-tasking. Finally. Yes battery life and performance is important for end users, so not offering multitasking was defensible. However, 7 services ? That a lot of work for developers to implement. I’ve been looking at it for a day now, and I am still not sure how to use some of them. And can I do everything I want with these services?
- iAd advertisement platform. Great for developers, what about 3rd party ads platform?
- You have to use Objective-C, C or C++ to create iPhone apps
Some features were really lacking compared to Android. The multitasking is nice but difficult. Android’s services are great and simple. But the biggest news is the 3rd party software makers that Apple is running off its turf, most notably Adobe with Flash. There are other frameworks in peril, like Unity 3D. What is not clear yet is what 3rd party ad platforms like AdMob and Mads. In general Apple has been clear: they want full control of their platform.
The question is whether this is smart. One, to create a vertile platform you need to be reliable and stay out of the way of companies building on your platform. Second, for developers the Objective-C/C/C++ is not that great to work on.
To make a statement: Objective-C is 15 years old, a hybrid language invented at NeXT when Steve Jobs was heading this company before he returned to Apple. Well, Steve is a brilliant CEO, but not a great language inventor. So killing other languages hinders developers to create new tools to have a better experience creating apps. And if it prohibits other frameworks from displaying ads on the iPhone platform, well that shows a total disinterest towards the developer ecosystem around the iPhone platform. Any willingness to contribute to the platform is completely cut off by now.
The question whether it is smart. All major inventions now have to come from Apple itself. Besides that, the question is how much developer inventiveness is pushed towards other mobile platforms like Android. Right now it is ok, but in 2 years it is forecasted that Android overtakes Apple. There will be alternatives to the iPhone platform. The question is where developers will be in 2 years time. These strange moves show that maybe Android is much nicer to devs.
So Apple, please a little love for your developers please.