As developers and other interested parties sift through the iPhone SDK, many new details are emerging. While most of these are positive, more recently some troublesome details have come to light. Several iPhoneFAQ readers have written in informing us of some strange limitations Apple is evidently placing on applications developed via the newly released SDK.
These limitations may place significant limitations on the types of software that can be developed for the iPhone using the SDK. These limitations include,
"Applications may only use Published APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any unpublished or private APIs.""Only one iPhone application can run at a time, and third-party applications never run in the background. This means that when users switch to another application, answer the phone, or check their email, the application they were using quits."
Exactly how Apple interprets their own language and how they plan to enforce these restrictions remains to be seen. Certainly, however, one can imagine the clauses above hampering the efforts of ambitious developers. Applications that wish to interact with what would now be seen as "restricted" files on the iPhone may be unable to accomplish certain tasks. Also, applications such as third party chat and messenger clients may have their functionality crippled by the no-background restriction.
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Also potentially troubling is the language "except as otherwise specified by Apple." This has some developers worried that Apple is going to award application privileges subjectively, worrying some that large firms will have the ability to produce more functional applications than smaller outfits.
It is important to note that the SDK has been overwhelmingly well received, by developers and iPhone owners alike. Apple has offered up more to the development community than most anticipated with its beta version of the iPhone SDK. Still, these restrictions have raised concerns with some developers.