Want to learn how to write apps for Apple’s (AAPL) red-hot iPhone app platform? Good luck. Thanks to Apple’s non-disclosure agreement — which you’re required to agree to while installing iPhone developer tools — would-be programmers have far fewer educational or collaboration options. The latest bit of bad news: Publishing company Pragmatic Programmers says it’s cancelling its iPhone book because of Apple’s NDA.
We’ve had the iPhone book ready to go beta for some months, but were prevented from publishing it because of the iPhone SDK’s Non-Disclosure Agreement (which affects all publishers regarding this material, regardless of whether the reader is a member of the ADC or not).
Normally, pre-release NDA’s such as this one are lifted when the product finally ships. We expected that this NDA would be lifted when the iPhone 2.0 software shipped, but it wasn’t. The September announcement came and went, and still the NDA remains in place.
It now appears that Apple does not intend to lift the NDA any time soon. Regrettably, this means we are pulling our iPhone book out of production. But all is not lost: we are actively looking at alternative ways of getting this content to you. It probably won’t happen anytime soon, but know that we are doing what we can.
Amazon currently has several iPhone SDK programming guides listed, but we can’t find one that’s currently shipping. For instance, Developer’s Library is working on the iPhone Developer’s Cookbook, scheduled to publish on Jan. 18, 2009, but the product description notes: “This title will be released as soon as Apple lifts the NDA on the iPhone SDK.”
Meanwhile, Macworld’s Jason Snell has written an excellent overview of the other big issue plaguing many iPhone developers: Increasing frustration and hesitancy to start some new projects because of Apple’s absurd, unpredictable habit of rejecting some apps from its store — not based on security holes, smutty content, or buggy code, but based on subjective taste and anti-competitive reasons, with no clear guidelines for what’s allowed and what isn’t.
We’ve been urging Apple to publish detailed, objective guidelines about the types of apps it won’t allow in its store for some time, as well as an appeals court for snubbed developers. But so far, the company has been silent, and people are getting angry.
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