Rogue Amoeba: Will App-solute Power Corrupt?

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Rogue Amoeba (developers of such acclaimed apps as Audio Hijack and Airfoil) have been putting up a great series of blog posts on topics such as code signing and app restrictions, as well as a very interesting list of "bugs" submitted to Apple on the SDK.

First up, Mike Ash provides a breakdown of code-signed apps (applications which must be cryptographically signed by a developer and authorized by an authority -- in this case Apple -- in order to run), pro and con: better security and accountability vs. single point of control:

The most worrying one on the list [of disallowed apps], of course, is “Unforeseen”. This is basically a catch-all intended to give Apple an out in case anything comes up which they don’t feel like letting onto the device. Maybe some new class of evil app is developed which doesn’t quite fit into the above categories and Apple needs to block them. Or maybe Apple just doesn’t feel like having any competitors in a particular market, and wants to shut them all out.

Next, Quentin Carnicelli lays out why Apple needs to go "Back to the Future" and remember how it was a 3rd party dev, and not Apple itself, who helped fix core problems on the Mac:

When Steve Jobs first saw Switcher, his reply was: “It’s great. Apple is going to bundle it with the Mac. Congratulations.” Andy had writen a innovative application that improved the platform for every single user from there onward. Fast forward to today, if he had an iPhone instead of a Mac, it would have been legally impossible for him to do so. This is no mere hyperbole - the SDK agreement expressly forbids using non-public APIs, attempting to touch other applications, and running in the background, among other things.

Lastly, Paul Kafasis shares the iPhone SDK bugs Rogue Amoeba has filed with Apple to date, including feature requests for non-iTunes app delivery, multitasking, root access, Media-Picker for music and video, file-system access, host computer access, VoIP over EDGE, Dock access, and asks others to do likewise:

If you have an ADC account, you can submit your own bugs at http://bugreport.apple.com. Plenty of things are still in flux, and with input from users and developers, Apple may just see what a powerful platform the iPhone can be.

Rogue Amoeba isn't sure they like Steve Jobs all dressed up in his dear leader robes . What do you think? Will Apple create an iPhone user-topia? Or does app-solute power corrupt?

(via DaringFireball and TUAW)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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