Forcing iPhone developers to write native apps gives Apple the ability to switch architectures more easily

Imagine if Flash was allowed to do this and a year from now let’s say 10% of the apps in the app store are going through Flash rather than writing specifically through x-code to the native SDK and Apple wants to do something with iPhone OS 5 a year from now that isn’t compatible with the output right now of Adobe Flash CS5. Well all of a sudden 10% of the apps in the app store can’t be updated to the latest version until Adobe updates their developer tools. And we’ve seen this before…

A really great point by Louis Gerbarg.

Flashback: 2003 Apple issues a recommendation, advising developers to switch to XCode developer tools. I was working on Final Cut Pro at the time. The switch from CodeWarrior to XCode wasn’t easy, but we knew we had to do it.

2005, Apple announces they are switching to Intel Macs. Developers who switched to XCode can simply flip a switch in the IDE and their application will compile for both PowerPC and Intel Macs.

By forcing all developers to use a single development platform and set of SDKs, Apple was able to change the most basic, critical, low level chip inside the Macintosh computer with minimal effect on developers and users.

Today, we see web development slowed because of compatibility with Internet Explorer. What if in the future, Apple couldn’t make massive, innovative, cutting edge changes to their platform because apps didn’t adhere to strict standards?

I’m all for being a little more strict, and a lot more cutting edge.


Note: Updated title. Was previously “IE6 caused the web to mature slower than it would have otherwise. Flash would do the same for the iPhone”