In major policy reversal, Apple will allow third-party applications to work directly on the iPhone, CEO Steve Jobs announced Wednesday. Apple infuriated developers and some iPhone users when it issued a software update Sept. 27 that disabled non-Apple programs installed on the phones.
Jobs said the company intends to release a software development kit in February that will let coders create applications to work directly on the iPhone and the similar non-phone iPod Touch.
It's easy to find unofficial programs for the iPhone on the Internet. Damage to the iPhone from unofficial programs is not covered by Apple's warranty.
Apple's change does not affect the policy of keeping the iPhone compatible only with AT&T's network in the United States. Two lawsuits were filed against Apple on Oct. 5, accusing the company of engaging in monopolistic behavior and unlawfully restricting consumer choice by preventing users from "unlocking" their iPhones.
Some people have "unlocked" their phones to work on other carrier networks. The Sept. 27 software update reportedly disabled those phones. It was not clear from Jobs' statement whether the move was a response to the growing discontent around Apple's iron grip over its portable gadgets.
Apple had allowed developers to build applications that run on the iPhone's Safari Web browser but didn't let programs work directly on the iPhone software platform, which could make them easier to create and make them work more smoothly. (info from The Associated Press)