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Apple’s iPhone OS4 announcement included a lot of potentially exciting developments — and one that left some app developers reeling. That latter would be clause 3.3.1 in the Terms of Service developers must sign to make approved apps, language that bans the use of toolkits to compile apps that work across platforms. If I go much deeper into an explanation, it likely will be too technical for most and not enough for developers but the upshot is this: the change could have a major effect on content producers trying to find effective ways to program across platforms and on Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE), among others. It’s also another sharp reminder of Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) control over the process, a plus for some and an increasing flashpoint for others.
So what does Apple CEO Steve Jobs have to say about the furor? In typically terse e-mail replies to Apple developer Greg Slepak — who told Jobs “I love your product, but your SDK TOS are growing on it like an invisible cancer” — Jobs gave the nod to an explanation by Daring Fireball’s Jon Gruber about Apple’s reasoning and said letting others in the middle leads to sub-standard work. Apple doesn’t want apps to work the same across devices; it wants iPhone/iPad apps to be singular and best used on its own devices.
The e-mail exchange is posted here. Gruber, who who first noticed the change, followed his original post by explaining why the lockout makes sense for Apple. Jobs calls that post, which concludes that Apple is doing the right thing for the company and its users, “very insightful.” Gruber offers the difference between the native Kindle app for iPhone and the not-native (and not as good, he says) Mac version as an example. Jobs’ reasoning: “We