Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts published in October, 2007

I said previously:
Rainer Brockerhoff wrote:

…So, keeping things closed for now means the software hasn’t stabilized, and very probably the hardware hasn’t stabilized either.

Here’s more evidence for that…

Erica Sadun over at TUAW announced preliminary results on the iPhone 1.1.1 software:

- Third Party apps run. Kind of. We probably have to recompile many of them for the new frameworks because many of them crash.

– Springboard no longer recognizes DisplayOrder.plist. And the list of “whitelisted” apps (that is, the official Applications including Safari, Photos, Calendar, etc) seems to be hard-coded into Springboard.app

– The 1.1.1 binaries barely work with 1.0.2 – at least not well enough to run the music store without major hacking.

Posted by PhoneDifferent:
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Apple: Pull iPhone Firmware 1.1.1?

There are some reports that some folks are finding that the 1.1.1 firmware update for the iPhone has been pulled from Apple, and that the most recent version of iTunes is now reporting 1.0.2 as the most recent version….

Rumors say Apple may switch the iPhone main processor to Intel’s upcoming Moorestown.

It’s too early to speculate until details come out, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that Apple is considering this. And it would explain the closedness of the iPhone/iPod touch architecture… after all, once Apple allows third-party apps in, and publishes a toolchain/SDK, they’re pretty much locked into the current architecture, and switching to a new one is a major/slow/costly undertaking.

Consider the previous iPods as a counterexample. Apple has switched architectures there – we can’t even say for sure how often – without any users noticing. With only the UI visible on OS X, and no toolchain/SDK or even documentation of the innards, Apple is free to change things radically between software updates. By all accounts, the 1.0.x software is pretty much a work in progress, and 1.1.1 has probably changed a lot.

So, keeping things closed for now means the software hasn’t stabilized, and very probably the hardware hasn’t stabilized either.

Conclusions:

– the current generation of iPhone/iPod touch will remain closed forever, just like the first generations of iPods;

– an SDK is likely to come out only after everything (especially the hardware) has stabilized;

– Apple is unlikely to invest efforts into implementing TrustZone in the current generation, unless Moorestown (or whatever else they might adopt in the future) has a similar security feature – and maybe not even then;

– the fabled OS X tablet will come out when the new hardware is ready; by that time screens will be ready in the proper sizes; Sony showed an 11″ OLED TV recently, remember…

After several months of tinkering and getting used to the new IB, I just published a first beta of the IB3 plugin for RBSplitView 1.1.4.

Some things haven’t been tested (copy&paste), others don’t work fully (undo), but it seems to work mostly. Please post bug reports in the source forum, or e-mail me. To install, close IB3, unzip the plugin in a convenient location (I don’t think there’s a standard one for IB3), and double-click it.

A full Leopard version will be out around the end of this month, along with source code for the plugin.

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Rainier Brockerhoff on the State of the iPhone

Rainier Brockerhoff’s State of the iPhone is an excellent read. Even though, as a Canadian, I can’t get an iPhone here (damn you, Ted Rogers, knuckle under already you greedy bastard), I really want an iPhone SDK. I might even pay for one,…

Grubered! (thanks, John… that explains the sudden traffic peak.)

Small addendum. The complexity of the whole updating process also explains two things; first, that some non-modified iPhones are also affected, and second, that Apple, busy with debugging Leopard which should come out this month, didn’t want to invest additional resources into reverse-engineering and QAing every hack that’s out there.

Regarding non-modified iPhones being affected – I hear from some quarters that the quantity of those are comparable to “bricked” hacked phones. If true, one more indication that a modern version of that famous saying should be “never ascribe to malice or incompetence that which can be explained by complexity”… icon_wink.gif

Update: forgot to thank Michael Tsai who linked here first.

Update#2: another interesting take on the subject of software complexity is Scott Rosenberg’s Dreaming in Code, which I’ve just ordered.

Slightly over two years ago, shortly after the Intel switch announcement, I wrote:

…the current installed base is something over 30 million PowerPC Macs (or even more, depending on your sources). By the end of 2007, Intel Macs will be perhaps 15% of that. It will take at least 5 years, probably more, for Intel Macs to surpass the PowerPC Mac installed base.

I’m pleased to see that Mac sales were so good that this milestone – equal number of PowerPC and Intel Macs – will apparently be reached before the end of 2007. At that time, some people feared developers would start releasing Intel-only versions of their software soon; as far as I know, except for natural exceptions like Parallels and VMWare, this hasn’t happened.

And, while recent news indicates that the upcoming Leopard’s hardware requirements have been upped a little, most recent G4s and all G5s will still run it well. Older G4s will, I suppose, be more disqualified by video speed restrictions than by CPU speed as such.

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