Apple announced iPhone 4 today, a markedly more aggressive OS overhaul than the previous 3. “Aggressive” in that Steve Jobs pretty much gave the proverbial middle finger to Adobe, Google, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. I’ll quickly go over a few of the iPhone 4 “tentpoles,” an ironic term Apple is using in place of the word ‘features’. The term “tentpole” in mobile development is defined here by Brian Fling, author of Mobile Design and Development (review coming soon here):

“In Hollywood, executives like to use the term “tent-pole” to describe their movies and television shows. The term has dual meanings: one is business, and the other creative. The business goal of a tent-pole production is to support or prop up the losses from other productions. However, to create a tent-pole production, the creators involved must make an artistic work that they know will appeal to the largest possible audience, providing something for everyone. You probably know tent-pole movies as “blockbusters”; in television, they are known as “anchor” shows.”

All quotes are from GDGT and Gizmodo’s live blogs. 1. Mutltitasking Middle Finger to: Google, Palm, Microsoft

“We weren’t the first to this party, but we’re going to be the best. Like cut and paste — it’s better than any other implementation. It’s really easy to implement it in a way that really drains battery life. And, it’s really easy to implement it in a way that reduces the performance of the foreground app and makes your phone feel sluggish. We figured out how to implement multitasking for third party apps and avoid those things. That’s what took us a little longer, but I think we nailed it.”

Essentially Apple is saying that they sat back and listened to the complaints of modern mobile users (Android, WebOS, WinMo) and just one-upped them. Great reasoning. NOT. 2. “Game Center” Middle Finger to: Adobe, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo

“Gaming is extremely popular on the iPhone and iPod touch. In fact, we have over 50k titles… let’s look at the competition. If you look at dedicated gaming devices like the PSP and DS, this just blows them out of the water.”

“We wanted to make this even better — we’ve added a social gaming network. We do automatic matchmaking, we’ll find others with a similar ability and match them against you. You can see how you’re progressing in a game with achievements.”

“There are 50,000 game and “entertainment” titles. Compared to DS and PSP, there’s 4321 games on the DS and 2477 on the PSP.” Apple is not allowing Flash on their mobile devices because they’re afraid of it’s power and ubiquity. I’m not sure why more people aren’t talking about this. They want to add a social aspect to their gaming to rival Microsoft’s XBOX Live and Sony’s Playstation Network. 3. iAds Middle Finger DIRECTLY to: Adobe

“We want to be even more interactive than the ads on the web, and we want to get some of that interactivity from video. The ads keep you in your app…” People don’t click on ads because you get yanked out of your app. Because iAd is in the OS itself, we’ve figured out how to do interactive and video content without ever taking you out of your app!”

“The user can return to their app any time they want. We think the user will be much more interested in clicking on these things because they won’t pay the penalty for doing so. You can add iAd opportunities in an afternoon — we’re going to host and deliver the ads, and we’ll give developers an industry standard 60% of the revenues.” So, the user can go back the app anytime they want, just like on the web? Or do you mean like when QuickTime or YouTube takes the user away from the app they’re in?

“They even included a game in this ad!” How novel!

“Have you ever seen an ad like this?” Silence. “… anything even close?” Since 2003.

“That’s an example of 3 ads that are very easy to make. In addition to ad agencies being able to make these things, there are hundreds of thousands of iPhone app devs who know how to make these things. Emotion plus interactivity. The ads keep you in your app, so you’re much more likely to click on then and explore.”

“This is a pretty serious opportunity, and it’s an incredible demographic. But we want to do more than that. We want to change the quality of the advertising. We’re all familiar with interactive ads on the web. They’re interactive, but they’re not capable of delivering emotion.” Well this is a flat out lie. Delivering emotion is determined by marketing and user experience professionals, not development platform. “The average user spends over 30 minutes using apps on their phone. If we said we wanted to put an ad up every 3 minutes, that’d be 10 ads per device per day — about the same as a TV show. We’re going to soon have 100m devices. That’s a billion ad opportunities per day!” “What’s happening is people spending a lot of time in apps. They’re using apps to get to data on the internet, rather than a generalized search.” “All this stuff is done in HTML5, by the way.” Bigger laughter. Ouch, Adobe.” Let me break this down a bit. Apple is controlling all ads for all apps now. Which means it is getting 40% of 10 ads per app per day, and this is good for users how? Sure developers make money, and so does Apple, but “high-quality” ads are still ads. A user opens an app to USE it, not to be advertised to, just like the web. The last thing developers need is another way to monetize distractions. From a Flash developer’s perspective, sure this sounds dooming, but we all have to remember is that, the numbers, while accurate, are a bit out of context. Sure, 64% of mobile web browsing is being done on the iPhone, and we all know that Apple wants HTML5 to reign supreme over Flash, but they’re failing to mention a few key facts. 1. Android is at 19% and has been around for 1/4 of the time the iPhone has. That is arguably the ONLY reason that the browser stats for Mobile Safari are so high. Give it time. Let’s see what the numbers look like at the end of 2010. 2. Flash/AIR are just now getting onto the latest devices, and will be on nearly every device in the future. Heck, there are almost 60 companies that have joined the Open Screen Project and Flash Lite is most likely on well over a billion devices. However, for Adobe to stay competitive and relavant, they need to update the Flash Lite numbers from 2 years ago, and post the Flash Player 10.1/AIR mobile numbers publicly. Every single Apple presentation since the announcement of the iPhone in 2006 has opened the same way: with data. Numbers are hard to argue with, and Adobe has been relatively quiet in this area. It’s one thing to expose these numbers to those of us who develop using their products, but the mainstream media needs to see Flash/AIR’s numbers as well. Now is the best time as consumers and the media are even calling Apple out on their latest attempt at “revolutionizing” a product. (Yes, I’m purposely not calling it by name, but I agree with this and tweeted this if you care.) Now, that I’ve given the Flash crowd some comfort, I’ll just put this out there: If Apple is supporting HTML5 for iAds, does this mean they will support it for App Store submission along with Objective-C? It would certainly explain a lot of opposition and submission troubles with PhoneGap and other non-standard iPhone apps. And then there’s this, taken from the iPhone 4 SDK agreement (apparently - I haven’t seen it myself, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t downloading it for the last hour.) Line 195 states: 3.3.1 Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited). Now, no one really knows what this means, but worst-case scenario, it means that Flash CS5 will not be able to publish iPhone apps. From what very little knowledge/opinion I have, Apple didn’t know about Adobe adding this functionality in Flash CS5. Needless to say, they weren’t too happy about it. This could be Apple’s way of exacting their revenge in a not-so-quiet, but equally unsuspected manner. Or, I could just be a part of the paranoid group of people who don’t put these kinds of childish antics past Apple, and perpetuating incorrect assumptions. If I’m incorrect, please correct me, I don’t want to be part of the blogosphere that thinks research is optional and opinion is news. [Ahem.] Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? We go back to the massive amounts of Flash/Flex work we had before MAX 2009? Come on, regardless of what the Apple Genius manifesto says there is still a TON of work out there and it’s not going away in a month. Evan Kirchhoff of Corona, another 3rd-party iPhone/Andriod development framework akin to PhoneGap, has said that the Windows version of Flash CS5 violates Apples terms of service, but that is still up for debate. The point is, we still have 99% of browsers to deploy non-iPhone content too. Just like we did before. And now we have emerging mobile platforms in AIR Mobile and Slider, that will deploy to everything else. We all made a living before, and we will continue to, probably even more so with mobile. I assure you, the sky is NOT falling. Steve’s word, along with any of his minions’, is gospel. There is also the question of what would happen to Unity 3D, a rapidly growing 3D development environment with dedicated iPhone publishing and ELIPS Studio’s OpenPlug, a 3rd party IDE that allows Flex developers to “generate highly efficient native code for Windows, Symbian, Android, and iPhone”. Also, Appcelerator’s Titanium, yet another framework that allows developers to “build native mobile and desktop apps with web technologies,” could be at risk as well if Apple does decide to drop the hammer. [Thanks to Pradeek for reminding me. I was just looking at this the other day.] Could get ugly if Apple is serious. Sure would suck if Unity and Flash developers paid $99 for nothing. Even worse, it would be an absolute travesty for Adobe and 3rd party iPhone development companies if all of that time money, research, and testing has been for naught. And if it’s any indication (it’s not), Amazon had some rather disheartening reccomendations for me today: Amazon HTML5/iPhone reccomendations Either way, it’s adamantly clear that Apple’s control issues have been taken to an entirely new level, and will only raise the walls of their self-contradicting garden. I’ll wait patiently to see, but the entire Google and Adobe developer communities are collectively holding their breaths until each company formally responds. [Update]: Official reactions from PhoneGap, ELIPS, Appcelerator, Unity, and Adobe. A video interview with Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch has been posted, and here is Steve Jobs’ apparent response to the now infamous “Sectiion 3.3.1” during an email discussion with Tao Effect, a Mac software development company. I couldn’t have put it much better myself.