Leak: third-party iPhone apps to be issued through iTunes Store

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Now working alongside Apple, Tiny Code, a onetime repository for fixes and updates to some unauthorized third-party iPhone applications, briefly leaked some information this week on the handset maker's plans for distributing authorized applications via its website.

Chief among the revelations was that Apple will apparently manage and distribute software for the iPhone and iPod touch written using its upcoming Software Developers Kit (SDK) through its ubiquitous iTunes Store.

"Tiny Code no longer produces fixes or applications for firmware 1.1.3. We can't say much, but we are working with Apple and with their SDK for the next firmware release and SDK applications and we shouldn't be missed for long," the developer wrote in a message on its website that has since been remove. "We will no longer update our Installer.app repo for legality reasons and you should see us soon on iTunes."

In a sidebar item also since removed from the site, Tiny Code also wrote "Now targeting fw 1.1.4 alpha 2," implying that applications written using the iPhone SDK will only function on iPhones running the still unreleased iPhone software version 1.1.4.

While announcing Apple's formal intent to offer an official SDK for the iPhone and iPod touch last October, company chief executive Steve Jobs also hinted that his firm was taking extra precautions to develop a distribution system that would protect users from viruses, malware, and privacy attacks — one that many have long speculated would involve the iTunes Store in some fashion.

"While this makes such a phone less than 'totally open,' we believe it is a step in the right direction," he wrote. "We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone’s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs."


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