Apple Lifts iPhone Developer NDA

October 1st, 2008

Apple made the right choice today, in choosing to publicly lift the non-disclosure agreement which has, for the past several months, prevented iPhone developers from discussing specifics of the platform and development process.

I’m sure most of you have already heard the news, it’s being shouted from the rooftops on venues such as Twitter, but I wanted to make my own announcement, as I think many developers should do.

Why? Because as much as we cry and whine in the face of Apple’s misguided actions and policies, we should be prepared to turn around and laud them when they do the right thing. Today, Apple deserves to be lavished with praise from all corners of the iPhone developer world.

You go, Apple.

Apple’s statement, reproduced here in entirety because the page has a temporary look to it:

To Our Developers

We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software.

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.

However, the NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone’s success, so we are dropping it for released software. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released.

Thanks to everyone who provided us constructive feedback on this matter.

No longer any need to ask forgiveness, now that we’ve got permission to productively discuss the development process. Thanks again, Apple!

8 Responses to “Apple Lifts iPhone Developer NDA”

  1. Paul D. Waite Says:

    Phew. Definitely makes iPhone development more attractive for the aspiring indie crowd.

    Now, if they can just nail down the App Store inclusion policy, we’ll really be cooking.

  2. Jon W. Says:

    I respectfully disagree that Apple deserves an iota of praise for this move. The iPhone epitomizes “defective by design”: the AT&T exclusive, the “very sweet solution,” the NDA that got a book canceled, the App Store exclusive, and the arbitrary rejections. This press release demonstrates Apple’s perspective: “steal our work,” “hundreds of patents,” “ripped off by others.” Android was a kick in the ass, or an Apple suit finally got around to reading the dBase chapter of In Search of Stupidity; either way, Apple didn’t do this for you.

  3. bowerbird Says:

    “lavished with praise”?

    for dropping an utterly stupid policy?

    yeah, right.

    you’re funny, daniel, you’re really funny.


  4. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    To those who don’t think positive change deserves praise, I guess we just don’t see the world through the same lens.

    No amount of misbehavior will damage my ability to recognize and appreciate a meaningful, positive change.

  5. bowerbird Says:

    for dropping an utterly stupid policy,
    i would suggest an action far short of
    “lavish praise”, like “commendation”…

    i’d reserve “praise” for the cases where
    the correct choice is made at the outset,
    and “lavish praise” for those fewer cases
    where that choice required courage too.

    unless we’re dealing with children, that is,
    small children, who should always be told
    they are wonderful, even when they’re not.

    but you’re right, maybe that’s just me…


  6. scott Says:

    I’d rather apple not arbitrarily reject apps…

    I’ve been working on my current app for a month.
    It uses non-“standard” UI components.
    What happens if it gets rejected?

  7. Joel Says:

    The way the statement was worded leaves me wondering whether developers can discuss technical problems on Cocoa-dev. The notice talks about released iPhone software. The thing that has kept me from doing anything with the iPhone SDK has been the inability to ask questions. I don’t see how this solves my dilemma. Do you have any thoughts on this Daniel?

  8. foggydave Says:


    There seems to be some confusion about this — perhaps Apple should have worded their statement more clearly. It seems clear to me that the continued NDA will apply *not* to unreleased apps that *you* are writing, but unreleased versions of the iPhone software (OS, firmware and SDK seeds) that come down to developers from Apple.

    You can talk about the projects you are working on to your heart’s content.

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