Steve Jobs Was Originally Dead Set Against Third-Party Apps for the iPhone



We’re all looking forward to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, which will be released on Monday, October 24. But if you’ve been keeping an eye on the news over the past couple days, you’d have already seen some interesting stories from the book.

One of those details Steve’s initial opinion on third-party apps for the iPhone. In the beginning, Steve was opposed to third-party apps, and wanted developers to create web apps that could be used through the device’s mobile Safari web browser. According to Apple board member, Art Levinson, “Jobs at first quashed the discussion” of allowing apps on the company’s debut smartphone.

Art called Steve “half a dozen times to lobby for the potential of the apps,” according to the book, but Steve was against them — “partly because he felt his team did not have the bandwidth to figure out all the complexities that would be involved in policing third-party app developers.”


As the video above from PC World shows, when the iPhone was first introduced at Macworld 2007, Steve gave developers the opportunity to develop web apps for the device, but native apps weren’t an option at that point. Steve said:

The full Safari engine is inside of iPhone. And so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, they can send an email, they can look up a location on Google Maps.

And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today. So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today.

However, web apps never really took off, and Steve changed his mind — announcing in October, 2007, that a software development kit for the iPhone would be available the following year. In July, 2008, the App Store was born.

It is now one of the iPhone’s biggest selling points, with a recent advertising campaign that was based on the tagline, “There’s an app for that.” The App Store is now home to over 500,000 apps, and is the largest and most successful mobile application store available, with over 18 billion downloads since it opened its doors.

Do you think the iPhone would be as successful as it is today without the birth of the App Store?

[via 9to5Mac]


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