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iPhone OS 4.0 Announcement and Our Commitment to You

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Please find the latest update to our position on Apple SDK 4.0

First, and most important: we value each and every one of you. As always, we will do everything within our power to ensure that Appcelerator Titanium remains the best platform to enable each of you to develop mobile and desktop applications on. Should any issue arise that may affect our community, you can expect that we will be as proactive, transparent, and forthcoming as possible.

Now to the issue at hand. As part of its announcement this morning, Apple proposed updating its Terms of Service for iPhone OS 4.0. Since iPhone 4.0 is still in beta, both the APIs and the Terms of Service are covered under NDA, so we cannot speak to specifics or Apple’s intent with its proposed language. However, these terms are subject to clarification and change by Apple up through its official launch, which looks to be mid-summer. Until iPhone 4.0 is actually released, we will work with Apple to ensure that we abide by any updates to its Terms of Service, just as we have done successfully in the past.

We know that you put a lot of trust in Appcelerator and effort into your applications. You have our commitment that we will do everything possible to ensure that Titanium remains the outstanding platform for cross-platform application development for years to come. We will update you with more information as soon as we gain a clearer understanding of today’s announcement. Until that time, iPhone OS 3.2 remains the officially released SDK and 3.2 is still the official Terms of Service. All apps written under 3.2 are in accordance with these terms and all apps written to date for 3.2 have been approved.

Please feel free to reach out to us on our blog, via Twitter, or via email with any questions. Thanks for everyone’s support and well wishes today.

Best Regards,

Jeff Haynie
Appcelerator, Inc.

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  1. john mitas

    however when logging into the dev portal im asked to accept these new terms. So does that mean even building apps targeting the old 3.2OS falls under this new Terms of Service?

  2. FrancescoR

    The nazi braindead at $apple$ must burn into hell.
    sorry, maybe I’m not so proactive or positive, but they crossed the line.

  3. Jeff, clearly I’m missing something, as the Dev Center says the new TOS must be accepted by April 22 or we can no longer access the provisioning portal. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with which SDK version. If you can’t provision, you can’t do much.

    I’m in your corner, Jeff. I just invested four months in one of my senior developers learning Titanium. We are planning to demo it heavily next week at a seminar. I really hope this gets cleared up and soon!

    Rob Novak
    President, SNAPPS

    • Hey Rob (and others),

      Unfortunately, I can’t directly comment on the specifics of the TOS and accepting the agreement. I’m trying to get clarity around that myself right now.


  4. Abdullah

    A part of me actually wants apple to ban all other forms of development, if only for the developers to wake up and stop developing for their increasingly closed system.

  5. Nick

    This is certainly troubling. Is Apple’s motive to try to discourage cross-platform publishers because they tend to produce results that don’t take full advantage of the OS, don’t behave natively, don’t look native, etc.?

    The irony here is that Titanium apps are fully native and make use of iPhone-only features, and they’ll be rejected. Alternatively, you could open up a web view in Objective-C, and pop whatever slow, non-native crap you wanted in there, and not be in contravention of the rules!

    Or is this less about app quality and more about being anticompetitive, i.e. discouraging developers from publishing on competitors’ platforms too, iPhone or the highway?

    Finally, if the idea is to stick it to Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone conversion, I’ve had about enough of Apple’s combativeness in the past year or so.

  6. Mark

    This appears to me to be Apple saying that they want to destroy the capability of companies like Appcelerator who are trying to make it easier for developers to develop for the iPhone as well as Android. I don’t think this would be anti-competitive in a strictly legal sense (Apple is just saying, ‘hey if you want to access our iPhone customers you play by our rules’), although it is in practice.

    The problem for Apple is that this behavior may have a brief short-term effect, but could end up hurting them in the long run. After falling victim to dictatorial bans such as this one, companies such as mine will avoid sinking resources into iPhone app development since it’s likely that we’ll run into similar behavior from Apple in the future.

    Let’s hope that Apple realizes this and backs off from pushing the nuclear button…

  7. Daring Fireball commented on on this topic:

  8. Karlo

    I saw the below comment over on the Unity3D forums. I didn’t realize that Adobe’s Flash to iPhone solution would allow creation of iPhone apps on Windows!?! How is that possible? Would the required Adobe “compatibility layer” be what the TOS change is targeting? (though I guess the “Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++…” is pretty specific…)

    quote from Unity forums:


    Adobe bringing Iphone dev to Windows.

    Adobe was doing something which Apple does not allow. For them to “bring” it to Windows, it means they’ve added a layer for compatibility. How else would it work?

    Apple is talking to Adobe with this rule”

  9. Michael

    What has always bugged me about Apple is their elitist attitude toward everyone else, including their closed-shop approach to development for the iPhone. Wasn’t it an 80’s Apple TV commercial where a woman runs past the mindless followers and throws a hammer through the projection of “big brother”… Yeah, I’m an old-timer. I’d write apps for the iProducts if they had an open development environment, as it is, I guess I’m just not that cool – or I’m too busy solving business problems as efficiently as possible. Hopefully Titanium will pass the new “big brothers” purity test and fulfill its promise of cross-device coding so we can all stop wasting time building in stovepipes.

  10. The Dude

    Here’s what the TOS says:

    How are investors supposed to take Apple seriously considering they write new TOS’ which destroy entire markets?

  11. Sj

    Well the terms do say c, c objective or JavaScript so maybe we’re okay?

  12. rory

    I’m thinking this could be the beginning of the end of all that iphone love out there… maybe android will finally take over (if they can just get their act together internationally re the market)

    Lets recap:
    Apple bans ‘sexy’ apps –
    Apple bans apps with the word ‘android’ in them –
    Apple clamps down on ‘cookie cutter’ apps –

    What’s next? Apps that duplicate the same functionality as some high paid developers app? I can see apple protecting the big players at the expense of the little guy, much like the double standards with sexy apps (playboy is still allowed).
    Or maybe they’ll ban apps that contain references to windows. Or linux. Or apps that don’t have a name starting with ‘i’. Or apps that contain references to other kinds of fruit.

    Personally, I’m actually kind of happy about it, as I think it shows them up for the devious company that they really are.

  13. I’d like to see some official word about Adobe and if it was indeed attempting to create a way to build iPhone apps on Windows. Because that would *really* get up Apple’s nose and potentially be the cause for all this fuss.

    I’d also like to know the similarity between the Adobe solution in the use of the LLVM – Low Level Virtual Machine [ ] as stated here : – and Kroll which is used in Titanium apps.

    I’m going to try and build a quick twitter client this weekend and try to submit it and see what they say.

  14. Brent

    Since the release of this information I have dropped all iphones in my family house hold. I love apple products but this Stalinistic approach that apple has gone with is bad for everyone.

    It’s bad for the consumer because your stuck paying a high price for the iphone, getting terrible service from at&t, and now your stuck with an iron fisted App store the produces as many bad apps with Objective-C as it would with a streamlined based platform.

    Let’s be honest how many people comb thru the suck apps on the apps store? I never did I’d check out the Top 25 and if an app made it to that level with a 4 star rating I’d check it out.

    The crappy Flash/Ansca/Titanium apps would do nothing to effect that at all. If an app was a good app I’d buy it I could careless how it was written.

    This is nothing but a way for iPhone to stomp on Flash yet again. I’ve moved to the Palm Pre with Verizon Wireless. It has a built in mobile hotspot so I can get Flash/Java/etc right on my laptop at anytime.

    The Idea that Flash is the problem is a load of crap. What the problem is is there are a lot of crappy flash developers out there writing crappy apps. Apple’s notion that Flash crashes the mac is bs. Crappy Flash might crash the mac but so would crappy Objective-C.

    To get an idea of what I’m talking about install the Flash Debug Player into your browser and you’ll experience the web in the worst way possible. It doesn’t matter what site you hit, I promise, you will see one or more un-trapped errors hit the debug window.

    If Apple really cared about quality control it would be done to include Objective-C. What they need to do is set a standard for max phone processor/memory usage for all applications. If the app doesn’t meet this criteria then the app gets booted from the store.

    I almost wish Adobe/Microsoft would simply say “No more Apple compatible software” until Apple remove’s it’s head from it’s ass.

  15. Ken Jackson

    Gruber’s take on Daring Fireball is wrong. Apple doesn’t care about subpar apps being produced through a different toolset. They have a review process that can keep out apps that they deem are unworthy from a quality perspective.

    What Apple fears is quite the opposite. A set of dev tools that makes it easy to create incredible iPhone apps. But at the same is retargetable to create incredible Android and WP7 apps. Apple’s main advantage today is the app store. They want to keep that advantage.

    I’d argue they’re going about it the wrong way. They should make the iPhone the best platform with the best features. Instead they’ve almost implied that they don’t know if they will be the best platform, so instead we’ll use legal means to ensure that if you want to be part of the biggest game in town, you must dedicate resources exclusive to that platform.

    I think that is kind of jerkish. Judge our apps by the apps. Not what tools we used to create it. In my 20+ years of development, from the Amiga, to AIX, to Windows, to the iPhone, this is probably the single worst act by a company I’ve seen against the developer community.

    Good luck Jeff in getting them to revert their position. And frankly they should revert their position not only for you, but for Flash, Monotouch, and everyone else.

  16. Chad

    “Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).”

    So does this mean no more Appcelerator? I mean you write the apps in Javascript but I’m not sure how things are compiled or if they directly link to the API. This would suck because I just found out about this.

  17. Peter

    @Nick: “Is Apple’s motive to try to discourage cross-platform publishers because they tend to produce results that don’t take full advantage of the OS, don’t behave natively, don’t look native, etc.?”

    Duh. Of course. This is Apple saying “stop being a pussy and hedging your bet with these multiplatform tools, just use our good API already”. How would you show off the Apple-only stuff with a crossplatform toolkit? All that does is homogenize all the devices out there. Of COURSE The Steve doesn’t want that. Honestly, I’m on the fence about it too… if 30% of my apps “just looked different” from the rest and acted a little more laggy, clunky or what have you… I’m not sure how I’d feel. Apple is drawing a line and when that happens some step over the line and some don’t. So those 30% of bland-looking apps would end up being halved, but all of those would look and act native.

    There is also the support issue. Users and devs calling in about buggy Titanium apps, apple has no clue wtf is going on in that situation, how are they supposed to help?

  18. To Jeff and the Appcelerator Team

    First up, thank you so much for everything you have provided the Appcelerator community with so far – 8 weeks ago I never dreamed I could produce an iphone app and I am now two weeks away from finishing my project.

    I don’t own a mac so I have had to find time on a spare machine at work 2 days a week. Despite this I really believe the app I have created will be a valuable resource.

    I am sure there are hundreds of other developers out there who feel as I do that banning Appcelerator SDK produced apps would be a disgrace.

    I for one think that you should put together a petition and present it to Apple to show just how many people they would be angering by shutting out Appcelerator apps.



  19. Rick Roet

    I’ve read somewhere there is a way to get around these new rules.

    As i understand SDK’s like Unity3d don’t compile stuff but rather creates a “ready-to-compile” Xcode project.

    Is this the loophole you guys are hoping for?

  20. James Moore

    Your take on this isn’t the slightest bit reassuring.

    It’s a problem _right now_ and it has to be fixed immediately. Anyone doing development on anything nonstandard (monotouch, etc) is dead in the water. It would be foolish to keep working on stuff right now that can’t be shipped.

    “Until that time, iPhone OS 3.2 remains the officially released SDK and 3.2 is still the official Terms of Service. All apps written under 3.2 are in accordance with these terms and all apps written to date for 3.2 have been approved.”

    So? None of this matters in the slightest. We need to know right now whether or not Apple is going to change their minds. As of right now, everything other than objc is dead, dead, dead.

  21. I have just registered

    I’ll wait and see if this really means that you will not be able to build iPhone Apps with Flash.

    This is absolutely crazy and a blow to creativity! The development community should put pressure on Apple to rescind this decision. We like Apple but we will move to more open platfroms if they close theirs down.

  22. I know that being cross-platform is one of your major features, but I don’t think it is a wise one to be articulating at this time (before clarification of T.O.S are announced anyway). There are a lot of theories (which I also share) around that they intend to outlaw any ports in the App Store and each App developed should be optimized for their device.

    I wish you and the other solutions adding value to the iPhone development ecosystem success.

    P.S. It seems that the MonoTouch team have also made an announcement:

    I think their tone of empowering developers and allowing a richer user experience is a good one to take.

  23. Andrew

    I’m interested in Titanium mobile specifically because of the cross-platform POSSIBILITY for development, the simplicity and because quite frankly I’ve not yet got my head wrapped around enough of XCode and Objective C to produce anything remotely useful at this point. I’m working on it, but years of non-Apple development habits are proving hard to overcome.

    BUT… What would be the obstacles to Titanium Mobile actually spitting out a “ready to compile” project folder that was simply ready to load up in XCode directly?

    Sounds like this is what is happening behind the scenes anyway, just a matter of making it explicitly accessible?

  24. Brian

    Read Steve Jobs comments and some insight into the changes for 4.0, seems they are trying to prevent exactly what Titanium allows, it’s not just about Flash I need to rethink my company’s commitment to Titanium and possibly pull back.

  25. SteveINtheUKok

    I have today cancelled all iPhone work, which was very embarrassing and costly to my company.

    I have offered refunds to all previous customers, again at great cost.

    This isn’t Appcelerant’s fault, it is Apples and it has made me loose all faith in Apple.

    I think a blanket ban on all such apps was the wrong thing to do and slow, buggy, badly presented apps could have been refused entry to the store at Apple’s discretion rather than this blanket ban of the good and the evil.

    It’s like removing the forks from the canteen and telling everyone that they just have to get used to using knives as that is what the company wants. Madness.

    It may have ruined me and my company in this time when we are all desperate for work and a job.

    I was proud to develop for the Apple platform and put in a lot of extra hours getting things to look ‘just right’ and I now feel a fool. I should not have been so blinkered.

    I had planned some mac purchases and iPad but as I am out of that market now, those have been shelved.

    This is a huge blow and not one I think I can forgive on a business or a personal level. This was the Microsoft mistake I was half expecting to come.

    Who can develop for a platform where your past and future work is in jeopardy day to day, that is too much of a financial risk not just for me but I would suspect for MANY people out there who wish to develop for others. In house teams not so much.

    Obviously this isn’t set in stone as OS 4.0 is still a beta but the recent emails floating around the net from Jobs would seem to set this clause in stone, for me at least.

    Good Luck!

  26. Anthony

    UM…. WTF is Steve Jobs thinking?

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