So yesterday the iPhone OS 4 was unveiled just in case you hadn’t heard. There’s plenty of places to get all the details, there’s the coverage from Engadget, Gizmodo, GDGT and Apple’s own page.
But I’m more interested about the knock on effect that the change to section 3.3.1 — that came with the update — has on the future of publishing, presuming of course that platforms like the iPad are the future. But that’s a thought for another day, the demo’s I’ve seen look good, but cost is a sticky issue to work out.
No intermediary translation
What does this mean? Basically no app is allowed to be compiled using 3rd party software, like the main feature of Flash CS5. Which I presume will include Adobe AIR as well which will have a large knock on effect for the digital magazines in production now. The demo that Wired showed was built on Adobe AIR so that it could be cost effectively transferred to other mobile platforms, not just Apple’s iPad.
John Gruber is absolutely correct when he says that “Apple does not want some other company to establish a de facto standard software platform on top of Cocoa Touch” of course they don’t. But publishers don’t want to have to make a magazine for each format, that isn’t the future of publishing.
This is something brought up by William Owen in his article “must we all have an iPad to share the iPad experience of Wired or Sports Illustrated?”, it is a big worry, subscribe to a magazine app on the iPad and you’re stuck with it. I thought Adobe AIR provided a way around being locked to a single platform but now Apple has gone and wrecked that, and ruined a considerable selling point of Adobe’s Flash CS5.
The iPad may be amazing, it may not (I live the UK so I haven’t played with one yet), but being stuck with one platform is not the ideal, one even more proprietary than Windows or Mac.
Edit: Just to clarify this isn’t Flash on the iPhone, this is apps built in Flash and then converted into native code for the iPhone, and when I talk about digital magazines I don’t mean crappy page-flipping animations, I mean the full blown magazines locally stored on the device like Popular Science+ on the iPad.
Edit 2: This post hits the nail on the head as to why Apple has done this.
Dieter Rams as said many times that he hates “built-in obsolescence” and yet in Objectified he mentioned Apple as one of the few companies that take design seriously, while this is true, and the work of Jonathan Ives is exceptional, Ives must feel somewhat put out when his products have obsolescence imposed on them by a software update that the hardware could probably still run.
(Though the iPod always did have obsolescence with their stupid scratchy shiny backs)
For those that haven’t heard the first iPhone and iPod Touch can’t run OS 4 and the 2nd iPod Touch and iPhone 3G can’t do multitasking (the main new feature of 4). I wasn’t even aware that the iPod Touch had received an upgraded processor between the 2nd and 3rd gen model. Apple truly is going rotten if they start forcing you to upgrade from a model they’re still selling to use their latest and greatest.
What do you think about Apple’s direction on these things?