While Apple pushes its new “official” iPhone developer program, tech publisher O’Reilly Media is betting that mobile developers will still want to write “unofficial” apps for hacked iPhones. Mac blogger John Gruber points us to a new O’Reilly book, “iPhone Open Application Development,” which recently went on sale — and is currently sold out at Amazon (AMZN).
What’s the point? While big software publishers are likely to go through the official IPhone developer hoops — adhering to Apple’s software guidelines, selling their apps through iTunes, etc. — some developers are concerned that Apple’s terms are too limiting. That’s where developing for so-called “jailbroken” iPhones, which are modified to run unofficial, third-party software, could come in handy. (Update: A reader smartly points out that a lot of the stuff in the book applies to “official” iPhone developers, too.)
Like Gruber, we’re not convinced this will be a massive commercial market: As the iPhone becomes mainstream, and as official third-party apps spring up, we don’t see most casual users hacking their phones to run grey-market apps. But maybe we’re wrong: The $37 book is currently ranked #1,694 at Amazon, including #1 in their PC section and #3 in their Mac section.