A New York Times article reveals some information about Apple's iPhone and the possibility of 3rd party applications.Well, the iPhone (and why doesn't Apple Incorporated take this opportunity to move *away* from the now-worn-out iThingy naming convention?)... restart... well, the iPhone, believe it or not, *is* a computereven though the corporation took "computer" out of its name. What an opportunity to provide a reliable runtime environment, where applications are sufficiently isolated to avoid each other and robust enough to recover, etc.
The article quotes Steve Jobs about why Apple does not want to allow any 3rd party developer make applications for the iPhone:“We define everything that is on the phone. You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.”
When our computers all move out of their general-purpose boxes and into special-purpose embedded environments, we'll still want open access to them without signing up as a priveleged software vendor. That's where most of the new ideas will come from.