Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:
The better part of a trade show keynote and six months of anticipation preceded the iPhone's launch, but a casual post on Apple's Web site signaled its relaunch as a platform supported by third-party native applications. Apple's attempt to protect the security of a wireless network by encouraging Web 2.0-based applications taking advantage of Ajax technologies could not realistically mimic the capabilities provided by native applications, at least without some way to provide offline functionality using developing technologies such as Google Gears. Furthermore, there were a host of utilities that have evolved on other smartphones (such as system-wide search or alternative input methods) that were beyond the scope of such an approach.
So, come February, Apple will return to its PC heritage and extend its party to third parties. Developers get their iPhone. Users get their applications. And normally reticent bloggers emerge from their keyboards and podcasting microphones like woodland creatures after a storm, just a little more likely to share their timid opinions with the world. Unfortunately, the rationale of all iPhone hackers cannot be swept away as easily as a fingertip switches among open Web sites in the iPhone's Safari browser.