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Summary:

Not that it will be delivered, but I just sent an email to Steve Jobs: Steve (or his assistant, secretary, mail reader, etc.), I have been a devout Apple fanatic for years. I was just about to give up on Apple when you came back. I […]

Not that it will be delivered, but I just sent an email to Steve Jobs:

Steve (or his assistant, secretary, mail reader, etc.),

I have been a devout Apple fanatic for years. I was just about to give up on Apple when you came back. I used the IIe, Classic, LC, Quadra, Powermac, PowerPC, and now Intel Macbook Pro and iMac.

My wife and I both have iPhones. I waited in line 10 hours to get them and was still thrilled when you reduced the price of the iPhone to $399 because I was one of the first people to have one. I love the device too… it’s a magnificent breakthrough in technology. I even switched to AT&T months before the iPhone launch (shortly after the MacWorld Keynote) to be ready when it hit.

HOWEVER… There are many things lacking on the iPhone. No to-do list application, voice notes, sketch pad, games, finder, SSH, text editor, chat, etc. I was excited to hear that it was very easy to develop for the iPhone despite the lack of an SDK on Apple’s part. I was sure the overly-simplistic security on the initial iPhones was intentional, possibly an omen of a forthcoming SDK.

I also understand your frustration with hackers trying to unlock the iPhone to take to other carriers. I am happy with AT&T, and understand the relationship you have with them. Both of you spent a lot of money, time and resources developing the iPhone and the two go together (for the time being). I completely understand your obligation (both contractual and otherwise) to keep the iPhone carrier-locked.

But here’s what I DON’T understand. Why, are you going out of your way to thwart third-party software development? The iPhone is a great device, but it can be a REVOLUTIONARY device. Apple can’t possibly release all the applications users will want. Why limit yourselves and your customers by stifling creativity? Hasn’t Apple always been about thinking “different?”

Please Steve, let the software developers in like you have with OSX. They can make the iPhone what it has the potential to be. Just look at the innovation in AppTapp Installer (Installer.app) and the applications already available. It’s amazing what underground hackers and software developers have done with their spare time! They even got GPS-like location service to work on the iPhone, with no GPS!

Just imagine what they could do with a full-featured SDK to work with!

Yours truly,

Brandon Eley
beley@mac.com

  1. 100% with you! If decide to make this letter a petition I’ll sign it.

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  2. Good letter. I have a feeling Steve is getting a lot of letters about the current situation.

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  3. People are complaining that the 3rd Party apps don’t work anymore because of the update and the encrypted communication between the computer and iPhone. Maybe the reason for the encryption is to prevent the unauthorized unlocking of iPhones which people aren’t complaining about as much as they are about the 3rd party apps. If the reason for the encryption is to prevent the unlocking of the iPhones and a byproduct of that is the inability of the iPhone to install 3rd party apps then can you really blame apple?

    Also about notes and a todo list. In leopard mail has both these options to create notes and have a todo list. While not available to sync I believe that when Leopard ships it will be possible to sync both notes and a todo list that will integrate with the iCal todo list, so I wouldn’t worry about those features too much right now.

    Finally, I’ll say this, wait until leopard comes out. The iPhone and leopard were supposed to debut at the same time so some of the iPhone’s feature set may be incomplete due to the delayed release of Leopard. Just wait a few weeks and the cat will be out of the bag.

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  4. Hey … great idea … good job:

    But consider sending it as a real letter.
    In my experience this has a much bigger impact.

    All of you should do that. There’s no better effect than a pile of letters. You can’t just click “delete” …

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  5. @nfoo,

    but what about the waste generate when they toss out the letter? Plus its almost free to send an email, mailing a letter cots 39 cents

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  6. Think about the “why”. There only comes one reason in mind and thats voice over IP. Apple wouldn’t have a problem with VoiP, but you can bet that their carriers (AT&T, etc) have: Their revenues don’t come by the data transfer (which is flat rate) but by the phone minutes. And that is most likely the only reason Apple is bound to the contract to make sure, noone will ever be able to run a VoiP client on the iPhone. And since it might be more difficult to exclude specific programs or program types by their behaviour, its probably the easier way for Apple to simply exclude them all.

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  7. Well, you can be absolutely sure that Apple has to prevent unlocking. It’s a good bet that they have to prevent VoIP as well. However, Apple could release an SDK that allows third-party apps, but has no API to access the microphone or any part of the file system that could lead to an unlock.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they take this route. The ability to run third-party software is a big selling point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple has seen sales decline since they started playing hardball. I, for one, was on the verge of buying, but I am no longer interested.

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  8. quick! call the wahhhhhhmbulance!
    the reason the iphone is locked down is the same reason that apple locks down their hardware. to keep it STABLE.

    have you ever used a treo after installing a few 3rd party apps?

    i for one am HAPPY its a closed platform as it ultimately leads to a better user experience

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  9. I agree with you! That is exactly the way I feel. I have not hacked my iPhone but I have seen the wonderful applications. I think they should be allowed.

    Tom

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  10. @ShavenYak

    I doubt sales have declined since Apple started playing hardball. I would say 90% of iPhone users either don’t care or don’t know how to mod their iPhone because they are general users and not power users. Sales of the device won’t decrease because of the locking of the iPhone most potiential users either care about the price or being let out of their current contract with their service provider. With the holiday season coming up expect sales to be through the roof

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