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Cook: Apple may open select iOS APIs to third-party developers

Apple CEO Tim Cook at the D11 conference. | Source: AllThingsD

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that third-party developers would slowly gain access to iOS application programming interfaces (APIs) in the future, allowing for apps to integrate with higher functions of the iPhone and iPad.

Of the myriad topics crammed into Cook's one hour interview at the D11 conference on Tuesday was whether the company's mobile OS would become more "open" to developers, that is would Apple give up some of its notoriously strict control of iOS,

"Of course," Cook told AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. "On the general topic of opening up APIs, I think you'll see us open up more in the future, but not to the degree that we put the customer at risk of having a bad experience. So there's always a fine line to walk there, or maybe not so fine.

Cook said he believes customers pay for Apple to make certain choices on their behalf, such as a system's security and stability.

Mossberg referenced Google's Android lock screen assets as an example of being open to developers. Specifically, he pointed to Facebook's Home Android launcher, saying he heard the social network offered a similar solution for iOS.

"I've see some of these settings screens, and I don't think that's what customers want," he said. "Do some want it? Yes."

In the future, Cook said he expects iOS to become more open, but hinted that the control would ultimately lie in the hands of Apple.

"So you'll see the bobbleheads?" Swisher asked jokingly, referring to Facebook's Chat Head feature.

"There's always more the companies can do together," Cook replied. "I don't think that that's one."