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iPhone Open Application Development

© May 2008 Anthony Lawrence
  • iPhone Open Application Development
  • Jonathan Zdziarski
  • O'Reilly
  • 978-0-596-51855-4

When I first saw this, I somehow ignored the "open" in the title and assumed that this was supposed to augment and explain Apple's iPhone SDK. Silly me, of course not: this is about jail-breaking your phone and hacking apps that way.

I have very mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, I'm all for openness and really believe that Apple would be better off in the long run by supporting an open platform. On the other hand, I see the advantages of the controlled system. I can also sympathise with the comments at Amazon that warn this is heavy geek territory and of course already out of date. Though how much out of date is the subject of a spirited discussion: https://www.amazon.com/Book-does-cover-official-Apple/forum. You'll want to read that if you are leaning toward this but aren't sure. I think this point from the author is appropriate:

It clears up a lot of confusion if you look at the Apple SDK as the "AppStore SDK", rather than a form of official SDK. The "AppStore SDK" as it is today summarizes what Apple will probably allow you to do in official AppStore applications. What you can technically do hasn't changed - it's just what Apple will "allow" you to do if you want to get on AppStore.
Buy Take Control of Your iPhone Apps

Me? This is probably NOT something I would do. First, it's too geekish, way beyond my skill level. I'd be justifiably afraid of breaking my phone (note: I don't even own an iPhone - it's on my "maybe" list for now). If I were going to do iPhone development, I'd be much more likely to go the "official" route.

But that's me. I still read a lot of this, and it is well written and seems to lead you along appropriately. Someone more adventurous than I might find this useful and educational. In a way, I hope that some do. The iPhone should be open, and it's possible that enough developers side-stepping Apple's control could make it so.

Tony Lawrence 2008-05-20 Rating: 3.5

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-> iPhone development with open tools


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

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More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Wed May 21 02:20:35 2008: 4222   drag


I figure if I am going to go out and spend 400 dollars on a cell phone it might as well as double as a unix workstation. This is why I am holding out for the Neo Freerunner phone. It's the commercial oriented sequel to the Neo1973 phone from the OpenMoko project. (I think I mentioned that before)

480x640 display, 16bit color, touch sensitive
128MB of SDRAM
256MB NAND Flash
16Mb NOR flash for bootloader
MicroSD slot (supports SDHC for around 4-8GB)
400mhz ARM risc cpu
Lots of wireless...
GPS, Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11b/g, Tri-band GSM/GPRS
USB OTG (able to be both USB host and USB client.)

And it's as open as a phone can possibly be. (GSM is a DRM-style protocol, so is impossible to open the hardware on that.) You can get CAD plans for the bits and board traces. Licensed under GPL/LGPL so that other companies can easily produce identical phones.

Typical open Linux ARM system. Right now the GUI is based around the GTK gui that was made for the Neo1973. But it's can support Englightenment, Qtopia, or any other X11-ready software environment. As well as Google's Android platform.

All in all very cool stuff.

Wed May 21 04:58:14 2008: 4223   JohnB

Does the book give examples of things you can program that wouldn't be allowed on the AppStore? Such as how to make background apps, etc.? Just wondering if, at the end, this book was written before the SDK, and really doesn't get into how to do anything past what the SDK allows.

Wed May 21 12:30:15 2008: 4224   TonyLawrence

Yes, it does cover things that wouldn't be allowed..


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