I did not know that Apple announced a new iPhone OS, let alone a new software development kit (SDK). So when I heard about it, I looked it up in Google News and saw the restrictive license as a trending topic. I read the Daring Fireball article [link] that most people are referencing and agree with his interpretation of the license, but, I don’t think any of it will matter.

In summary, Apple’s new license says that developers must use either their own programming environment for native apps or use only approved languages, like Javascript, for web-based apps. It specifically says, “Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited.” That means that the new Adobe Flash CS 5’s export (or compile) to iPhone is prohibited. There are other programs that help end users create apps without using Apple’s development environment.

I don’t think this will have any effects on researchers. I know some people who were looking forward to using Flash to create a prototype iPhone app for HCI research purposes. I think this will still be doable. Prototype apps are loaded onto iPhones from Apple’s development tool, Xcode. If this is true, Adobe must have intended for Flash to export to a format that can be uploaded to an iPhone (and eventually the app store). So, if it could be uploaded to an iPhone for testing, it should still be uploadable under the new license.

My understanding is that the license is not enforced by software, meaning, that Xcode does not currently check your code for violations to the license. The checks come when the app is submitted to the App Store and a license violation is a sure bet to being rejected. If this is all true, you should be able to upload your prototype application to several handsets for testing. Even if you can’t turn it into a publicly available app, you should still be able to do research with your prototypes.

NOTE: I could be completely wrong. Apple could institute a software check and ruin everyone’s research plans.