Is it true? Probably not: Our Apple analyst, Dan Frommer, says that, for now, Apple wants to control the whole iPhone value-chain, the way it does with iPods, and suggests that, in any case, Apple might wait until the next version of Mac OS comes out. Frommer also suggests that people don’t buy BlackBerries, etc., because of the third-party apps, so these apps wouldn’t be a big selling point. Lastly, he observes that, as an iPhone user, he would want to be assured that third-party apps wouldn’t brick his phone the way a third-party email app has crippled his Treo–and he knows that no one understands this risk better than Steve Jobs.
All that said… As Facebook is demonstrating now, and Microsoft demonstrated in the 1990s, the value that can be created by owning the “platform” that becomes the industry standard is mind-boggling. And given that Mr. Jobs was on the losing end of that platform battle in the PC wars, we’re confident he understands the value that could be created if Apple could make the iPhone the industry-standard mobile development platform.