Ahead of the official launch of Epic against Apple next week, Epic Games today released transcripts of statements made by current and former Apple executives. During the Eddy Cue Deposition revealed details about Apple bringing iMessage to Android, Scott Forstall’s Deposit offers an interesting look at the beginnings of iPhone development.
Forstall was head of software development at Apple until 2012 and played an important role in the development of the first iPhone and iPhoneOS. One of the main issues with filing is Apple’s early decision not to offer a third-party app store on the iPhone. As Forstall explains, Steve Jobs was one of the biggest opponents of an app store.
To install: There were executives at Apple who thought we should never give third parties the ability to create natively compiled applications.
There were executives who thought – and they thought we should just have web applications and – and then websites that run using web standards in the browser or in the browsers on the platform, the browser.
There have been executives who thought we should have a Hyrbid model of some web technologies and some native capabilities. And then there were executives who thought we should provide a platform where Third Party Parits could build fully native applications on the platform.
Questioner: Who are the executives who fell into the first bucket you mentioned and believed Apple should never open the platform to native third-party applications?
To install: Steve Jobs was the most prominent of them. I don’t remember exactly who else argued that point. But Steve – Steve felt we shouldn’t enable third-party app development at all if we needed to.
Questioner: And is it fair to say you were on the other side of it, on the other end of the spectrum on this particular subject?
To install: I’ve been, and have been, probably the loudest advocate of enabling third-party app development on an app store [is] Discussions Steve and I had several heated paths.
Forstall stated in the statement that his experience with web applications “made it very clear that these apps are not as good as native apps, and I wanted to have the best possible apps on the platform that we could.”
The former Apple software manager also goes into the beginnings of iPhoneOS and his trust in a Mac OS X foundation. He also commented on jailbreaking, which was popular early on:
To install: I would say we were very concerned about people creating virus or malware for the phone and so all activity I saw responded by jailbreaking and trying to create malicious code vigilantly and not worried even if it did the case would be a tsunami that we would give up.
We would be vigilant forever to keep people safe and privacy of their phones. I thought like I argued a year before that we should create a platform and give developers the opportunity and encourage them to create native apsp for the phones.
So I didn’t think it was a bad thing that developers wanted to put their time, energy, and life into building something cool for our platform. If the cool thing wasn’t malware or a virus or something problematic.
Forstall also provides details on Apple’s early decision making regarding distribution methods for iPhone apps.
Questioner: Remember there was a debate within Apple about whether Apple should only allow distribution through the App Store or whether developers should distribute native apps in some other way?
To install: So there was a discussion about what the distribution mechanisms might look like, and as you outlined in one of the white papers, it was about possible mechanisms in the operating system, how these can be made secure in different ways.
There was discussion about how we could give developers the ability to distribute their apps. One of these is the App Store, another is direct distribution, as is the case with Windows, for example. Though I think Windows could now have an app store too.
So we had discussions about the merits and dangers of different distribution within a company and then outside the company.
Questioner: Who were the main people responsible for selling only through the APp Store?
To install: After we got through the discussion, basically all executives were supporters of the App Store, and our corporate distribution models were the two best mechanisms for protecting our mutual customers and for getting widespread adoption for developers.
Why Apple added in-app purchase support to the App Store:
To install: I mean there are a number of reasons why we added IAP. This should make it easier for developers to sell digital goods.
If you are a game developer and you have an extra level that you want to sell, but the customer needs to enter a credit card, it can be a huge barrier for the customer to buy that extra level. If it just says “Hey, click that button and it’ll get you a different tier for 99 cents” then the chances of the user clicking it are much higher. And Apple has already saved your credit card so it really gets optimized. And it’s a big win for the developer to have a simple mechanism built in to sell goods within the app. So that was – that was the main reason we did it: to make it a lot easier for developers to have another source of income.
And as the App Store – as the apps matured – learned a lot more about different mechanisms that developers can use to make money.
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