Apple Drops iPhone NDA

Woman wearing ball gag with Apple logo
Image from Wikimedia Commons.

On the off-chance you hadn’t yet heard, Apple has finally dropped its much-reviled NDA for iPhone developers for released software. It was so restrictive that developers were forbidden from discussing or writing documentation on iPhone development, even with or for other iPhone developers.

In the announcement on Apple Developer Connection, they explain why they put developers under the excessively-restrictive NDA:

We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.

This sort of behaviour harkens back to the 1990s, when Apple behaved as if all third-party developers who weren’t Adobe existed on a spectrum ranging from “unwanted houseguest” to “the enemy”. Speaking as a guy with a strong technical evangelist background (note to employers: hint, hint!), this is not the way you foster developer love nor build a developer community.

Expect iPhone development tutorials and tips to start popping up all over the web and for the Pragmatic Programmers’ book iPhone SDK Development to finally see the light of day.