Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Apple: openness can't be faked

Yesterday, I spent a few good hours trying to download the documentation of the iPhone 3.0 SDK from the Apple Developer Connection site. The site was down for almost the entire day. Talk about interest by developers for the new OS version... And inability for a company like Apple to keep up with it (hey, they are not famous for servers, right? ;-)

My goal was to find the new Calendar API (we need it to provide calendar sync with Funambol). They claimed 1,000 new APIs in the slides. They built the entire presentation on openness to counter Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Palm. It must be there, I thought.

Unfortunately, it is not there. I could not find it. Either I am dumb (which is likely) or blind (nope, my vision is ok, I just changed glasses) or it is just not there.

I mean, 1,000 new APIs and none to give access to one of the two basic data elements in a smartphone (the other being the address book)...

Are they kidding me? Nope. They just play their cards. They do not want a MobileMe competitor on the iPhone. They will give you CalDAV, .ics support, even ActiveSync for the enterprise. But no access for developers. They might build something too good...

I know, I am bitter. But I am right to be bitter :-)

They are just playing the openness card and it is just a fake. Android is open, very open, almost too open... Windows Mobile has all the APIs you need. Same for Symbian, which is going to be even more open. BlackBerry has APIs for everything.

Apple does not.

You just can't fake openness, Apple . Even if you put names on a slide, it takes five seconds (or hours, if your site is down) to discover it is just words.

What I am sure about, is that they are going to pay for it. The lack of openness is going to bite them back one day. The world is going in a different direction and their tactics work when they are the only game in town. When they are not, it just relegates them to a small percentage of the market. I think it is just a waste, for such a fantastic company.

And I know, you are right, I am bitter...