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iPhone to Get Third Party Apps

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs is promising to open up the iPhone to more external developers next February once the Mac maker is confident the device has the security required to manage downloads from third party sources.

Jobs posted a letter on Apple's Website regarding the iPhone development environment this week. "We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK [software development kit] in developers' hands in February," he wrote.

"We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers."

But developers will have to wait until next year for the software kit they need, with security cited as the reason for the hold-up.

"It will take until February to release an SDK because we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once -- provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones -- this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target."

While it is undoubtedly true that the iPhone will be a prime target for hackers simply because of its cult following, many security experts will likely dispute Jobs's statement about serious viruses already existing, although most agree it is only a matter of time. (See Careful With That Download, Eugene.)

Apple has already copped a lot of heat for its present difficulties with unofficial third party "unlocking" software. (See Apple: Don't Unlock the iPhone.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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