Apple’s current—and in our opinion, objectionable—position is now close to the complete opposite of its initial stance. From promoting openness and standards, the company is now pushing for an ever more locked-down and restricted platform. It’s bad for competition, it’s bad for developers, and it’s bad for consumers. I hope that there will be enough of a backlash that the company is forced to reconsider, but with the draw of all those millions of iPhone (and now, iPad) customers, I fear that Apple’s developers will, perhaps with some reluctance, just accept the restriction and do whatever Cupertino demands.
It’s a gamble alright. On one hand, it could lock in developers with the iPhone in a very-good-for-Apple way. On the other hand, it could do the exact opposite. The good thing is, we’ll find out over the next year. Personally, I think Apple will pull it off in the 3-year near-term, but not the long-term.