The iPhone gets pwned


When Apple released its iPhone SDK a few weeks back, the computing giant also introduced the App Store, which will serve as the exclusive platform for all iPhone application distribution. Asked to address the concerns of developers resistant to heed Apple's demands for sole distribution rights and 30 percent of all revenues, CEO Steve Jobs was characteristically blunt, outlining a love-it-or-leave-it argument that mandates developers either agree to Apple's terms or forget about iPhone distribution altogether. "We think this is going to be a boon for developers," Jobs insisted. "They can download applications from a version of the App Store, which is loaded on the Mac or PC. We don't intend to make money off the App Store. We don't make a lot of money off of iTunes, and the split with the music companies is about the same. We just want to create a very efficient channel for these developers to reach every iPhone user. Most developers don't have a store to sell their apps on their website."

According to Apple, more than 100,000 developers are apparently choosing to love it. That's the number of developers the company says downloaded the beta iPhone SDK in its first four days of release. In addition, more than a million watched the iPhone SDK launch video on the Apple website, which the company cites as further proof of the developer community's enormous interest in creating iPhone applications.

But not everyone is so enamored with Apple's policies. Independent software developer group the iPhone Dev Team claims it is close to releasing Pwnage, a new product enabling iPhones to download and run software programs regardless of whether they've received the official Apple seal of approval. "You can do things like installing custom-made files, straight from iTunes," writes iPhone Dev Team member MuscleNerd on the group's website. "The tools are undergoing intensive developing and soon will be ready for public consumption." Apple is about to learn the hard way that asserting control and maintaining it are two radically different concepts. -Jason