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  • Apple Approved Dashboard Widgets Coming to the iPhone?

    picture from hansdorsch



    I heard a rumor today that Apple is shortly going to allow third-party applications on the iPhone. They won’t be full applications, however: they’ll be Desktop Widgets.

    You will soon be able to drag Dashboard Widget into iTunes, and they’ll sync with the iPhone, the source said.
    To run on the iPhone and provide interactivity, they’ll require JavaScript, which means the iPhone will shortly get a Java update. When? The source didn’t say.

    But the source did say that Apple hasn’t released iPhone widgets yet because Java has proven to be a major draw on battery power. Presumably, Apple has figured out how to tackle this problem. How? Again, the source didn’t say.

    In OS X, Widgets are like mini web pages that run in Dashboard instead of a web browser. According to Apple’s Developer website, they’re a mix of HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

    Unfortunately, this is all I know. I promised not to reveal the source of the rumor, but they’re well-placed. This is coming from just one source, via a third-person, so I’m only 70 percent confident it’s true. When I worked at MacWeek, we’d never publish rumors as news until it had been confirmed by at least three separate sources.
    However, the redoubtable Glenn Fleischman reports for TidBits that Apple is getting near to making third-party applications available for the iPhone. Glenn has no details, but suggests the release is imminent.
    UPDATE: As readers kindly point out, I’m confusing Java with JavaScriot: two separate technologies that share a name. The iPhone already has JavaScript, but not Java, so nothing would need to be added for Dashboard Widgets to work. Thanks for the feedback.


    source is cultofmac
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Approved Dashboard Widgets Coming to the iPhone? started by Cody Overcash View original post
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. Dash-2's Avatar
      Dash-2 -
      So no Windows support?
      I don't really see how this is different then web apps...
      Maybe this is a good step though?
    1. joshysquashy's Avatar
      joshysquashy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dash-2 View Post
      So no Windows support?
      I don't really see how this is different then web apps...
      Maybe this is a good step though?
      it would have windows support.

      as I understand it, these would be "iPhone Widgets", not dashboard widgets.

      You can download either through itunes or separately, but need itunes to sync them. they get added to a "Widget" section of the iPhone and run NATIVELY, not via the web! So this is great news! Native applications that run smoothly, even without web connection, and can be accessed from the spring board (or more likely from a "Widget" screen off the springboard).

      We will see, this sounds promising, and was lacking from the start.
    1. rianbattle's Avatar
      rianbattle -
      that is very exciting actually. html, javascript, and css are MUCH easier to code in than c, which is what i understand the native apps are in now. this means that there will probably be a LOT more out there now.

      that's cool in a way, but kinda bad also lol, because there would be the potential for thousands of these to be made, and only a percentage of them unique.

      i know i could certainly write quite a few nice little widgets ^_^
    1. psifertex's Avatar
      psifertex -
      Umm, huh?! Java is not needed for widgets, that's just plain wrong. Take a look at any OSX widget and open it up, you'll find nothing but Javascript, CSS, and HTML as joshysquashy pointed out above.

      I think the widget approach makes a lot of sense for the iphone, but it still sucks compared to native apps. Just try Bejeweled online to see how /slow/ it is to see why widgets will never work. Not only is it slow because of the load time, but it's slow because JavaScript isn't particularly fast, nor meant for highly graphic games, for example. Additionally, you're limited in the interface. You can't click and drag, for example, because the MobileSafari traps that motion and turns it into scrolling.

      The only real advantage of the widget approach versus the apple.com/webapps type of apps is they will be designed to work offline. That's nice, but certainly doesn't address the number of other issues.

      For example -- the #1 reason I can't leave my unlocked iPhone is because of the terminal with SSH client. All of the web-based approaches to this suck. No good way around it, a native terminal with ssh client is the way to go for that one. Please apple, you promised developers access to the iPhone. Webapps and widgets are /not/ good enough. Do yourselves, developers, and your customers a favor and open up.
    1. e1000's Avatar
      e1000 -
      Yea, Java and Java Script are two completely different languages with no relationship to each other. If the widgets use JS, then a port of Java is unnecessary.

      There have been so many conflicting rumors of 3rd part apps lately that I don't know what to believe, perhaps I'll wait until they announce something before I start allocating money for my software purchases.
    1. aziatiklover's Avatar
      aziatiklover -
      ok well we will see
    1. EasyMac30's Avatar
      EasyMac30 -
      Quote Originally Posted by e1000 View Post
      Yea, Java and Java Script are two completely different languages with no relationship to each other. If the widgets use JS, then a port of Java is unnecessary.

      There have been so many conflicting rumors of 3rd part apps lately that I don't know what to believe, perhaps I'll wait until they announce something before I start allocating money for my software purchases.
      Does it not bother you that you already have 3rd party apps, and you just considered setting money aside for 3rd party apps???

      It makes no sense.

      Wanna know what I'll do if Apple, after trying to oust our apps, tries to create a system whereby they "certify" existing apps and SELL them?

      I'll walk into my local Apple Store, ask for the Lead Genius, and bludgeon him to death with my iPhone.

      Then I'll buy a Nokia.
    1. 02589's Avatar
      02589 -
      I got burned by getting enthusiastic about Apples WebApps. I'm thinking this rumor gets embellished each time it changes hands. Therefore, I appreciate the rumor, but will take the wait and see approach.
    1. Bill69's Avatar
      Bill69 -
      wouldnt this make it hella easy for people just to wright their widgets but put more stuf in aka make apps and there would be no reason for a jailbreak that would be so tite
    1. senor360's Avatar
      senor360 -
      Oooh.. an official AIM widget.. wake me up when something fun comes along.

      Oh, and hi, first time poster!
    1. hillie's Avatar
      hillie -
      Quote Originally Posted by rianbattle View Post
      that is very exciting actually. html, javascript, and css are MUCH easier to code in than c, which is what i understand the native apps are in now. this means that there will probably be a LOT more out there now.
      ..and also MUCH MUCH slower.

      reality is javascript is not easier than C it basically IS c++ without pointers and without a lot of other things. syntax-wise it's virtually identical. What is harder about C is the API's involved to code win32 apps, or Cocoa apps, or what do you use, how do you do it, etc.

      You're still going to have to learn the framework in which you code "widgets" for the iPhone which is going to be a learning curve anyway. Why not spend that learning on something that gives you REAL power.

      as for iPhone widgets, I see it the same way as web apps. Apple is not going to make any of the devs happy until they just drop this "no 3rd party apps" bs completely.

      this is a sign that apple is willing to budge though, which is good, but the thing I hate is that having to ***** and moan and spend like months and months and months of these games with a company just so that we can see "progress" is ridiculous.

      Greed stands in the way of progress, every time. The iPhone would be a billion times better if instead of having to spend time finding how to jailbreak/decrypt/etc. we could spend the entire time writing apps.

      Edit: Also I see that those widgets in the picture are running in Safari, in a remote web site, which to me poses two questions 1) how is it different than web apps and 2) what happens if gridgets.com goes down.

      #2 is the biggest reason to tell Apple to take their webapps and shove them in their ears. :-)
    1. Bill69's Avatar
      Bill69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by hillie View Post
      ..and also MUCH MUCH slower.

      reality is javascript is not easier than C it basically IS c++ without pointers and without a lot of other things. syntax-wise it's virtually identical. What is harder about C is the API's involved to code win32 apps, or Cocoa apps, or what do you use, how do you do it, etc.

      You're still going to have to learn the framework in which you code "widgets" for the iPhone which is going to be a learning curve anyway. Why not spend that learning on something that gives you REAL power.

      as for iPhone widgets, I see it the same way as web apps. Apple is not going to make any of the devs happy until they just drop this "no 3rd party apps" bs completely.

      this is a sign that apple is willing to budge though, which is good, but the thing I hate is that having to ***** and moan and spend like months and months and months of these games with a company just so that we can see "progress" is ridiculous.

      Greed stands in the way of progress, every time. The iPhone would be a billion times better if instead of having to spend time finding how to jailbreak/decrypt/etc. we could spend the entire time writing apps.

      Edit: Also I see that those widgets in the picture are running in Safari, in a remote web site, which to me poses two questions 1) how is it different than web apps and 2) what happens if gridgets.com goes down.

      #2 is the biggest reason to tell Apple to take their webapps and shove them in their ears. :-)
      ok when you say you see the widgets in the picture are running in safari i think i could be a little bit stupid like no offence but its seems obvious to me that they havet actully came out yet and all of those icons are webapps but the person who took it is only trying to emulate what it would look like if they had a preview of the apps seems kindof like a no brainer and it says drag and drop into itunes therefor 3rd party could make free apps and all we would need to do is drag and drop so therefor greed has nothing to do with it and we could easily hack the widget permisions and just let them run as native apps. pal
    1. ultimatexpka's Avatar
      ultimatexpka -
      This is going to be a great update but I just hope they don't change the security on the phone, then we would need yo re hack It ifthey do
    1. drunknbass's Avatar
      drunknbass -
      these "widgets" will run in a dashboard that will limit them to what they can and cannot do.. so i wouldnt expect them to be able to come close to what native apps are doing.. but for games and smaller more simple things im sure its fine.
    1. Raltenbach's Avatar
      Raltenbach -
      It's official. Steve Jobs has a letter posted on Apple's Hot News page announcing that an iPhone (and iPod Touch) SKD will be in developers hands in February 2008.
      http://www.apple.com/hotnews/
    1. ppk287's Avatar
      ppk287 -
      Great news.... There are a few widgets I would really like to have.