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Monthly Archives: October 2007

When Apple announce the iPhone, I was foolish enough to believe that things would be getting better and not worse. At that time, we decided to target the widely supported “widget” technologies when developing Subsume. It was the way to the iPhone, a way to the desktop, and was expected to be the way to the next generation of iPod. Well the iPod touch is here, but the desire is gone.

The big lie, of course, is that Steve Jobs specifically stated that the reason the iPhone wasn’t more open to developers is that they didn’t want a bad app chewing up the cellular network. Even if that doesn’t sound ludicrous to you (and it should), enter the iPod touch having no such flaws and yet it is still not open. And I’m not even looking for Mobile Cocoa or any such native API! I just wanted to have my widget on the device. Instead, they don’t even let you mount the new iPods for file storage.

The big problem with web apps is that browsers aren’t the best client. It is a pain trying to keep the Safari-ness at a minimum, and it is downright stupid for a game like Subsume to do things like re-download large sound files (or anything else the browser can’t get from its cache). There may be some small advantage to always having access to the “current” version of an app on the web, but it is essentially negated by allowing widgets to sync via iTunes like everything else. It is so annoying that they’ve lied and kept a closed system that I think I’m going to shift focus a bit.

Starting on 12 November 2007, the XO laptop is offering a Give 1 Get 1 deal for $399. While the XO is a very different device, I find the offer results in something better for the same amount of money as an iPhone. It makes “a computer for the rest of us” for a segment of the world population that Apple just doesn’t seem to care about anymore. That Subsume can also be used as an educational game is just icing on the cake. At this point, we see XO as the direction to go for mobile applications worldwide.

Of course, Apple can change it all by releasing Leopard first. Their 10.5 version of Mac OS X is supposed to include Dashcode for doing widget development. If they take that opportunity to unify their deployment process to allow widgets everywhere, then we might be able to forgive the initial missteps they’ve taken with their touch devices. If not, their decision essentially makes their hardware irrelevant from a developer support standpoint.