I agree completely with every word in Merlin Mann’s excellent post, “Let OS X developers at the iPhone. Please.” Apple, you need to listen. As I said in the earlier Radar round-up, “Ten Things I Want From My Phone“:
[D]on’t lock the platform. I never even thought about buying a sidekick because of this. If I can’t install what I want on it, it’s not a computing device, it’s just a fancy tin can, and I won’t buy it.
Apple, your iPhone is ringing. Pick it up.
Update: John Markoff interviews Steve Jobs about this:
Mr. Jobs also appears to be restricting the potential for third-party software developers to write applications for the new handset — from ringtones to word processors […] it appears that he wants to control his device much more closely than his competitors. “We define everything that is on the phone,” he said. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.” […]
“These are devices that need to work, and you can’t do that if you load any software on them,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.”
Dang. What a bad and disappointing decision. I’ll wait for them to change it, or to put out a video ipod of the same form factor without Cingular boat-anchored to it.
Update 2: I’ve posted a long follow-up on this story.