Today saw the much anticipated release of Apple’s Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone. The iPhone SDK will let developers write applications native to the iPhone, rather than just the web applications that you’ve been able to create so far. The internet is ringing with positive endorsements of the power of this new SDK. Jason Fried of 37signals called it “the start of two decades of mobile domination by Apple”. Steve Jobs is inviting everyone to come and get involved.
Oh, but no sex please.
Press releases on the subject of the new SDK seem to be glossing over the fact that applications for the iPhone will only be able to be distributed via Apple’s official website. You will be able to sell your new iPhone apps through this site, and apple will take 30% of the profit. That commission isn’t so bad, but the idea that you can’t put your own applications on your own website for download is incredible. Imagine if Microsoft said that you couldn’t install anything on your computer that didn’t get downloaded from microsoft.com, there would be a riot.
The real casualty of this, predictably, is sex. No pornography is allowed to be distributed this way, and there is no other way to distribute. There are a whole lot of sex-positive uses for an iphone, but this delivery method is going to stand in the way of us seeing a raft of customer vibrator interfaces, dirty adult games, or whatever other sexual ideas our creative minds might come up with.
The internet is a free playground for us to all explore our diverse interest, and that freedom should extend to devices that we pay plenty of money to legally own. What we install on them should be our own business, and there should be an avenue to do so without Steve Jobs enforcing his opinion of what is acceptable to be associated with the adult brand.I can only hope that Android, the competing (but largely vaporware) mobile playform from Google gains a lot of traction and stops Apple from having total control over our mobile devices for “the next two decades”, although I can’t say I’m holding out much hope.