The hubbub over the changes in the iPhone 4.0 SDK agreement continues to spin out of control across the Interwebs, with bloggers, the commentariat, Adobe developers and even Steve Jobs himself jumping in to take a swing. Oh, it’s getting exciting! Tune in after the break for a blow-by-blow recap.

For those just joining us, Jon Gruber at Daring Fireball first uncovered the new language, which explicitly bans iPhone apps created with tools and languages other than those Apple prefers. His initial feelings were mixed, but his follow-up post was much more supportive of Apple’s decision, noting:

Flash CS5 and MonoTouch aren’t so much cross-platform as meta-platforms. Adobe’s goal isn’t to help developers write iPhone apps. Adobe’s goal is to encourage developers to write Flash apps that run on the iPhone (and elsewhere) instead of writing iPhone-specific apps. Apple isn’t just ambivalent about Adobe’s goals in this regard — it is in Apple’s direct interest to thwart them.

Adobe’s initial response was, predictably, even-handed:

We are aware of Apple’s new SDK language and are looking into it. We continue to develop our Packager for iPhone OS technology, which we plan to debut in Flash CS5.

The unofficial response, however, was much more… honest. Writing on the Flash Blog, Flash Evangelist Lee Brimelow let loose, reflecting what is almost certainly the general feeling within Adobe (minus one sentence mysteriously “redacted” at Adobe’s request):

This is a frightening move that has no rational defense other than wanting tyrannical control over developers and more importantly, wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe. This does not just affect Adobe but also other technologies like Unity3D.

I am positive that there are a large number of Apple employees that strongly disagree with this latest move. Any real developer would not in good conscience be able to support this. The trouble is that we will never hear their discontent because Apple employees are forbidden from blogging, posting to social networks, or other things that we at companies with an open culture take for granted.

Brimelow summed up his feelings succinctly at the end: “Go screw yourself Apple.”

On another front, TaoEffect CEO Greg Slepak took his displeasure straight to the man himself, writing Steve Jobs a curt email saying Apple’s terms of service “are growing on (the iPhone) like an invisible cancer.” Surprising everyone, Jobs actually responded, simply pointing back to Gruber’s follow-up post.

Slepak fired back, accusing Apple of “limiting creativity itself” with the new limitations, to which Jobs replied, “We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.”

You can read the rest of Slepak’s argument on his blog, but his comments most likely reflect the majority of developers’ feelings over the decision. Writing on his cheerily-titled blog, Why Does Everything Suck?, developer Hank Williams took the outrage even further, in a post entitled, “Steve Jobs Has Just Gone Mad.” Good times.

The Next Round
Given that Apple is unlikely to back down, the reality will most likely set in soon, but the aftermath is far from certain. Will Adobe throw its weight behind Android instead? Will Apple release it’s own Photoshop killer? Will tabloids reveal a secret love child whose amazing powers will bring everyone together at last? Stay tuned for the next episode!

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