iPhone App Store: Open, But Not That Open


The launch of Apple's iPhone App Store isn't quite the cultural event as the launch of the new wonder-device itself, but it's still quite the big deal in certain circles.

Rightly so.

Bigthink from NYT: "When Apple opens its online App Store for iPhone software on Thursday, Steven P. Jobs will be making an attempt to dominate the next generation of computing as it moves toward Internet-connected mobile devices."

And the WSJ: "Software developers and analysts say Apple's method of distributing mobile applications -- along with sophisticated capabilities of the iPhone -- represent one of the most ambitious efforts yet to refashion mobile phones into something closer to personal computers."

TechCrunch has the crunchy stuff.

Almost lost in the hoopla are the concerns of Jonathan Zittrain, who fears that the iPhone and similar devices may be only "contingently generative" -- that is, so tightly controlled that the bloom of creativity inspired by truly open systems (e.g., the PC and the net itself) will be constrained.

Saul Hansell does sound a cautionary note on Apple's control of information about new apps, wondering if the company has crossed a line: "But you have to wonder how much of Apple's success will depend on fostering an ecosystem of innovation and creativity -- and that kind of innovation isn't generally compatible with obsessive control over information."


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