Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thank Goodness the F'ing iPhone NDA is being lifted

Apple FINALLY did the right thing today and publicly recognized what pretty much all iPhone developers and the public that have been paying attention to the news have known for a long time now, that the iPhone NDA was doing much more harm than good. From their page ( ) "To Our Developers We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software. We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others. However, the NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone’s success, so we are dropping it for released software. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released. Thanks to everyone who provided us constructive feedback on this matter." Personally I am of the opinion that it's far better for people to eventually recognize that they made mistakes and try to correct it than people to live in blissful ignorance and just believe they did the right thing, so in this regard I am glad that Apple has finally publicly come around and recognize that the iPhone NDA, while it helped Apple "protect" some things on the iPhone, it was really doing a net damage to the platform that hurt it and made developers afraid to even touch the iPhone SDK. I was really looking forward to Bill Dudney's Core Animation book, I really originally just wanted to use it on the Mac, but because it just contained 1 chapter on the iPhone Core Animation differences the Pragmatic Programmers couldn't publish it. Thats 3-4 months that I couldn't simply hold a book in my hands and learn something that contributes back to Apples platform because 1 small part contains something on the iPhone (Yes I have the PDF, but I find it hard to sit down at a computer and read a whole book that way, I really only read book PDF's on my Mac as a reference looking up one small piece of information I want.) Now I hope they rescind what they said in their recent email saying they would just publish it without the chapter and finally publish the whole book in its entirety. And it's not just that the Core Animation book was probably one of the most publicly known books initially that people knew was being held up by the NDA, Amazon shows many other books on iPhone Development that are not yet available due to the NDA. In the end I really hope Apple has learned a lot from this. Now I hope that iPhone App quality will go up as a result of developers and sites soon being able to finally share code and information between each other. I know I have a couple iPhone SDK articles that are in development, but I haven't given them the time they deserve because I just didn't know if Apple was ever going to lift the NDA anytime soon. Apple we love you, we love the Mac and the iPhone, and we are even willing to put up with some things that developers of other platforms would scoff at because we like this platform that much. But when you get a ton of negative press and tons of developers are very publicly and loudly criticizing you all with the same opinion, it's not to give you grief, it's because we care about this that much and you're royally screwing up on something. If we really wanted to hurt you we'd be silent and say nothing. Also where is my iPhone Dev Key Apple?

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