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Apple not opposed to native iPhone app development - report

Apple Inc. won't oppose developers attempting to write new and intuitive applications for its iPhone handset, but also won't jump through hoops to make sure those programs remain functional with each successive iPhone Software Update, a company executive said this week.

Speaking to editors from PC Magazine, Apple hardware marketing chief Greg Joswiak said that the Cupertino-based company is taking "a neutral stance" on third-party iPhone applications. Apple won't forcibly prevent developers from writing new apps for the handset, he said, nor will it maliciously design software updates to break those apps.

On the other hand, Joswiak said Apple won't have much sympathy should one of its own upcoming software updates accidentally break some of the unofficial apps. Unlike development for the Mac, he explained, Apple is less experienced writing code for a mobile platform in this regard.

The Apple exec also left the door open to a further change to its policy on third-party iPhone development, explaining that the company is always re-examining its perspective on such risky matters.

In the meantime, Apple's neutral stance is good news for the few dozen native iPhone applications already in existence, and the countless others that are sure to crop up following Joswiak's comments. It may also boost interest in the company's upcoming iPod touch player, which — as Joswiak also confirmed — runs the same Mac OS X-based software platform (and the same hardware) as the iPhone. Therefore, most applications written for the iPhone should also function the same way on the new iPod.

In speaking to PC Magazine, Joswiak also dispelled rumors that Bluetooth functionality was yanked from the iPod touch at the last minute. Any images on the internet that may have implied as such were errors, he said. Similarly, he added, there are no immediate plans to bring games to the iPod touch.