Apple To Ban SDK Developers From Accessing iPhone Music Features? - InformationWeek

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3/21/2008
09:37 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Apple To Ban SDK Developers From Accessing iPhone Music Features?

Since Apple released the SDK several weeks ago for the iPhone, the euphoria has slowly been fading. Reports that not everything will be open for access and other detractors have tempered the initial joy. The latest piece of bad news? Developers won't be able to create music players for the iPhone.

Since Apple released the SDK several weeks ago for the iPhone, the euphoria has slowly been fading. Reports that not everything will be open for access and other detractors have tempered the initial joy. The latest piece of bad news? Developers won't be able to create music players for the iPhone.It appears that the SDK doesn't permit any access to iTunes, the iTunes library, or any facets of the iPhone's music player. What does this mean? Music services such as Amazon, or eMusic, couldn't create their own applications or download services for the iPhone. It also means that other developers could not create completely new and different music applications.

First off, I don't know why you'd want to do the latter. Is any third-party music player software really going to outperform the iPhone's music player in basic functionality? I doubt it. And can anyone really blame Apple for wanting to protect its own player? I can understand why it would want to prevent Real -- or any other company -- from crafting a version of RealPlayer or other music-playing software that would encroach on one of the core applications of the iPhone.

However, I would hope that this doesn't mean developers can't craft plug-ins or other features that can be added to the iPhone's music player. For one, the equalizer needs a little help. It may have a ton of presets that let you change the sound of your music, but I want my own sliders. I think a fully user-customizable, 7-band EQ should be a minimum for the iPhone's music player. But that's just me. Other than that, I can't think of any real weaknesses that the player has. It's vastly more usable than any other player on the market.

The Inquirer, however, says, "This [restricted access] makes it impossible for iLike, Last.fm, Qloud, or OnTour to create iPhone-compatible widgets that might expand basic iTunes functions." That statement scares me a bit, and leads me to believe that my dream of seeing a nice EQ for the iPhone is going to remain but a dream ... unless Apple itself makes one.

That aside, where does this leave developers? Is this really a vexing issue? Did anyone think that Apple would open the iPhone so wide that third parties would be able to create applications to supplant those of the iPhone? I didn't.

None of this matters to the hacker community, which will continue to do as it pleases with the iPhone.

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