Apple to Open Multi-touch Platform

In a letter posted to the Hot News section on Apple.com, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs finally put the concerns of techie iPhone owners and developers to rest with confirmation that a software development kit (SDK) for the iPhone and iPod touch will be available to devs in February, 2008.

I had recently managed to tone down the unending amount of Apple news on the blog (well, kind of), but this is simply too interesting not to post. After a rather baffling game of cat-and-mouse since the iPhone’s release and subsequent hacking and then subsequent firmware update from Apple locking out the modifications, Jobs lays his hand on the table–to an extent.

“It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once–provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc.,” Jobs writes.

Sounds well and good. Apple wants to get its new OS out the door and then focus its development resources on making the SDK as stable as possible. Then it will be all clear for JailBreak-like open app development, right? Well, maybe not.

“Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer,” Jobs writes. “While this makes such a phone less than ‘totally open,’ we believe it is a step in the right direction.”

Could this mean developers may have to go through a lengthy authorization process whenever they want to offer an app up to consumers? Apple has been very lenient with Dashboard widget authorization, but will the trend continue? We won’t know for sure for another four months, but this news is enough for me to change my mind on the iPod touch as a platform. Me want.

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