31 July 2008

Update on StyleTap for iPhone

We say "thanks" to the MANY of you who have sent us emails and/or posted comments on blogs and websites expressing your interest in having hundreds of different Palm applications (from among the tens of thousands available) running on your iPhone. There have now been over 1 million views of the video we posted. We've not only heard from people who already have an iPhone, but we've heard from individuals, companies, and application developers who have told us that if they could run their critical Palm applications on it, they would buy iPhone(s) in a heartbeat.

As many of you know, when Apple introduced the Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone, the accompanying legal agreement had clauses in it that expressly excluded the entire class of applications – emulators, virtual machines, scripting languages, interpreters – that enabled any type of non-native iPhone applications to be run. This excluded Java virtual machines, Python interpreters, Adobe Flash … and StyleTap Platform.

Now of course we didn't use the iPhone SDK to create the experimental version of StyleTap Platform that you see in the video, and in fact many people have created iPhone applications without using the SDK. The issue is that many people will only install applications on their iPhone through the Apple App Store in iTunes, and the only way to create such an application and have Apple approve it for sale through the App Store, is by using the iPhone SDK. We are continuing to try to work with Apple to find a way that would allow StyleTap to enable thousands of useful, and in many cases mission-critical, mobile applications to run on the iPhone.

So the bad news is that until Apple removes the legal roadblocks, we will not be able to provide a product that can be installed through the App Store onto a standard "off the shelf" iPhone. You can help us by making sure that Apple knows that you would like to see StyleTap as an application on the iPhone, and especially by making sure they know that having the ability to run your critical applications is a major factor in your decision whether or not to purchase an iPhone. If you have not already done so, you can provide your feedback to Apple at http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html

The good news is that we are actively continuing to develop a version of StyleTap CrossPlatform for the iPhone and iPod Touch. However, the SDK issue means that as it currently stands, the initial beta versions of StyleTap for the iPhone will be usable only on iPhones and iPod Touch devices that have had software modifications (a process known as "jailbreaking") allowing non-App Store applications to be installed. (Here our lawyer made us say: "This is provided for information only. StyleTap is not recommending, requesting or encouraging you to make any unauthorized modifications to your device. There are warranty, upgrade and usability issues with 'jailbroken' devices that you need to understand before you choose that approach.")

When will StyleTap for iPhone be available? Contrary to some erroneous posts to that effect on some blogs, we did not announce plans to release an iPhone version in July – we promised an update (which you're reading). We have not announced a release date for an iPhone version. We can assure you that we are actively working on it and that you'll be the first to know when we are ready to begin a beta program.

Thank you for your continued interest in seeing StyleTap on the iPhone…and tell Apple!