Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 3G finally goes on sale today. But its other long-awaited mobile product — the iPhone/iPod touch App Store — has already been up for a day. And we’ve already noticed that among the 500-some apps that Apple has made available, there are some notable omissions.
What sort of stuff are we missing? Programs that shouldn’t be that difficult to build, but that Apple doesn’t want on its machines — unless it’s the one controlling it. Some of these apps could include:
Amazon MP3 Store: One thing we don’t think we’ll ever see on the iPhone: A music buying/downloading shop that competes with Apple’s iTunes store.
Skype: Or a similar Internet phone app that could be used over AT&T’s (T) 3G network. Apple wouldn’t screw its partners that make money selling airtime.
Unlocker: Which would allow you to unlock your phone from its official carrier to use with a different GSM SIM card. Like T-Mobile in the U.S., for example.
Hulu, or a similar free, ad-supported TV/movie streaming app: Why is there a dreadful shortage of entertainment apps so far? Apple, of course, wants you to download your TV episodes and movies from iTunes. Rajeev Raman, CEO of Mywaves, a free, ad-suported mobile video service already complained to the New York Times that Apple wasn’t letting his app in the store. Steve Jobs acknowledged it, too. “He’s right. We will compete.” He added, “That’s a discussion to have.”
Nintendo emulator: Or anything that would let you play pirated games. This is already available for hacked, or “jailbroken” iPhones. But it’s not in the app store, and probably won’t be.
Adobe Flash plug-in: Adobe’s (ADBE) struggle to get Flash on the iPhone is no secret. To be most effective, the Flash animation/video software would need to display Flash content in-line with Web pages. So it would need to be a plug-in for the iPhone’s MobileSafari browser. But Apple doesn’t let companies make plug-ins for the browser, and might never. And even if Flash animations/videos were to open in a separate Flash player app, it’d still need to take a cue from Safari. Which means Adobe and Apple have some negotiating to do.
Firefox or a different Web browser: We assume Apple makes some money from Google’s (GOOG) default search position on MobileSafari. So anything that would take that small (but uncontested) revenue stream away from Apple could be banned.
Wi-fi hotspot creator: An app that would hijack your 3G signal and turn it into wi-fi for your MacBook, iPod touch, or other machine to use. If “tethering,” as this is called, is ever allowed, it’ll probably be an add-on service that AT&T charges $30-50 a month extra for.
Jukebox software: Which either replaces or complements the iTunes software on the iPhone. This means that Justin Smithline — who just raised $750,000 to make iPhone apps — won’t be able to officially distribute “Instinctiv Shuffle,” a “smart shuffle” app, which he says some 70,000 people have already downloaded to use on hacked iPhones.
These are just a few ideas. Any more? Let us know in comments below, by email to [email protected], or via our anonymous tips box.
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