In the midst of the excitement surrounding arguably one of Apple’s very largest product roll-outs, the iPhone, we still are left to wonder if and when we will see third parties able to develop native Cocoa apps for the hot little device. During one of the many evening parties which took place during WWDC I overheard something very interesting from a key member of the iPhone development team that answers at least part of our question.
When this particular iPhone Engineer first arrived at the party I saw them be asked several times to get out their iPhone and show everyone, a request to which they diligently declined every invitation. After the group had calmed down a bit I observed the Apple Engineer talking with another party-goer who asked them every-one’s favorite question, “What’s up with Apple not allowing third party Cocoa Apps on the iPhone?”
The iPhone engineer’s face went somber and replied “Wait. All I can say is just wait. We haven’t done everything we are going to do… The iPhone Application story is not over.”
The party-goer tilted his head to the side, obviously wanting more details and asked “So, are there going to be third party Cocoa apps on the iPhone?”
The iPhone team-member smiled and responded simply “Yeah. There will be.”
When pressed to tell when “there will be” third party iPhone apps the engineer declined to answer anything more than “Soon”.
So how soon is “soon”? Who knows, we don’t even know Apple’s reasons for not allowing iPhone Cocoa development. It could be security concerns as they have discussed in the past or to ensure a consistent and high-quality user experience as some pundits have purposed. Personally I would guess it’s a combination of these two factors and the result of the Mac OS X teams being overworked already between Leopard and iPhone development and not having the time to create an iPhone SDK. Whatever the reasons for the current lack of third party openness, it does definitely seem that Apple wants to see great third party apps like Delicious Library and Frenzic on the iPhone, basking in their native Cocoa glory, as much as we do.