There is a lot of scuttle butt about Apple’s recent changes to the terms of their Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone and iPad. Some developers have gone so far as to abandon the platform as a result. The straw that broke the camel’s back is the addition of language that prohibits development in anything other than “originally written Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript”, eliminating Adobe’s Flash from being able to produce iPhone apps, and cutting the knees out from other “write-once, deploy-everywhere” technologies.

There is much speculation that this is just collateral damage in Apple’s war with Adobe. Apple has never liked Flash and has kept it off of their mobile platform.There are better places to catch up on the background if you need it, so let’s jump right into our opinion of the recent developments.

First of all, it must be said, Apple treats developers better than anybody else. What I mean by that is, they have the best tools, the best documentation, the best store and, arguably, the most advanced platform to deploy on. Xcode is a very comprehensive and feature rich development environment, with syntax highlighting, direct links to documentation from source code, debugger, simulator and support for C, C++ and Objective-C. They have invested millions of dollars in developers like you and me and make it easy to get our wares from idea to income in the App Store. Everyone else is lagging behind – the devices are lagging, the IDEs are lagging, the stores are lagging. Android, Palm, Blackberry and the other joksters are busy copying Apple as fast as they can and still, they lag.

And Apple has the coolest devices. The iPhone is a revolution and the iPad is poised to be another revolution. People want and use these devices and they love getting apps from the App Store. They don’t care who made the app as long as it is cool. The App Store has presented opportunities and developers have cashed in on them. Apple has put more direct revenue in the hands of mobile developers than everyone else combined.

First the negative: I think Apple does stupid things sometimes and their desire to utterly control the platform is a bad idea. They should embrace tinkerers, hackers and developers to do whatever they want with these devices. Once I buy the thing, it is mine and I should be able to run any code I want on it. I don’t understand why Apple is adopting a different attitude. The control freak streak we are seeing will not serve Apple’s best interest in the long run. Do not piss off the tinkerers and the hackers or they will route around you so fast your head will spin.

But on the other hand – this is Apple’s party. All of the good things I mentioned above have come to Apple because of a deep, deep investment and it is up to their sole discretion how they leverage it. This is not an issue with moral high ground. It’s private industry capitalism and Apple can play it their way. So let’s all at least agree that it is fair and there are no dirty tricks here. Many of us can agree it is not wise and whether that is true or not will play out in the on-going market share battles.

I think Apple will continue to be successful, they will continue to support developers and they will continue to innovate in ways that excite tinkerers and hackers. To me that means if you are interested in developing software that people will use in a market that is about as fun and exciting as any market out there, you would be insane to abandon the Apple mobile platform.

Clockwork will continue to invest in and deploy great apps for the iPhoneOS until the end of time. We realize we need Apple’s permission to do so and that doesn’t bother us at all.