Yay, No More NDA

Actually, that’s not quite true; but Apple did put up announcement on the iPhone developer site promising to release a new NDA shortly that would significantly lift the restrictions on iPhone developers. The full text is:

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.

Now, let us be clear here. No one has publicly seen the new NDA; but my read of the announcement is that unreleased iPhone OS software and features will still be NDA while released features are clear. In other words; this is exactly the same as the NDA that covers OSX desktop development.

Now I want to take a look at the bigger picture here. If you take this announcement, in combination with the earlier announcement of changes to the App Store customer review process (mainly that reviewers must have, at least, downloaded the application), I think that a pattern is emerging. I’ve held all along, although I haven’t blogged extensively about it, that the various iPhone development issues (reviews, NDA, app acceptance/rejection) were not indicative of any sort of grand plan on Apple’s part; but were instead a collection of bad decisions being made at multiple levels in the organization. My hunch is, what we’re seeing now is the adults waking up and getting everyones’ act together.

All I can say is, “about time, the whining was giving me a headache.”