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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

When the iPhone first launched in 2007, then Apple CEO Steve Jobs had no plans to allow developers to create native apps for the iPhone, instead suggesting they rely on web apps. Developers weren't happy with the decision, and by October 2007, Apple decided that it would make a software developer kit and a full App Store available to developers by February 2008.


In the lead up to the launch of native iPhone apps, popular music streaming app Pandora was growing rapidly and was eager to be the first to get an app on the iPhone by any means necessary, according to an in-depth look at Pandora's history shared today by Vice's Tyler Hayes.

Ahead of the iPhone's debut, Pandora had been working to get its streaming radio service on flip phones with carriers like Sprint and AT&T, an effort that wasn't particularly successful. Once the iPhone was announced, Pandora knew it was the new big "music player" device and the company's mobile development resources needed to be focused on the iPhone.

Then Apple Senior Vice President Scott Forstall invited Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren and his CTO, Tom Conrad, to lunch in Cupertino. After an hours-long talk over what Pandora had learned putting streaming audio apps on flip phones, Conrad asked Forstall what Pandora could do to get a head start on a mobile app. Forstall's response was surprising - jailbreak an iPhone.
"What, if anything, can we do at Pandora to get ready for the next generation of iPhone that includes an app store and native APIs?" asked Conrad. "Forstall said, it wouldn't be a waste of your time to jailbreak some iPhones and use the kind of back door toolkits that were being distributed by other people to build a native Pandora app while we get our act together at Apple on something more formal."
Pandora's engineers did just what Forstall suggested, jailbreaking a series of iPhones and getting to work on a Pandora iPhone app ahead of when Apple released official support for native apps. When the App Store launched in 2008, Pandora was the first radio app that was available, and the work paid off - nine months later, Pandora was installed on 21 percent of iPhones.

The full Vice piece from Tyler Hayes is well worth a read for those who are interested in Pandora's early days, early battles over royalty rates, and its efforts to remain relevant as music services like Spotify and Apple Music dominate the market.

Article Link: Scott Forstall Encouraged Pandora to Jailbreak iPhones to Get a Head Start on Early App Store Development


macrumors 6502
Jan 27, 2008
It isn't feasible for the demographic that plays Fortnite. People aren't that savvy, and one update and its gone.
Not to mention the security risks involved; Epic encouraging casual users to do this would be grossly irresponsible.
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Reactions: LeadingHeat


macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2012
Always fun to have such tidbits of tech stories. Wonder at what point Jobs went from Web Apps only to a App store model. Monetization of web apps would have been no where close to the money they make off App store.
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Reactions: TropN and bwillwall


macrumors member
Aug 14, 2019
This is another example of careful what you wish towards, take away the safe guards of the app store, and you make room for everyone to beg, steal, or hack their way into your life. Everyone wants a piece of the pie you baked, but they don't have the vision or the savy to bake the pie themselves. Solution? Get the government to force you to share your pie with everyone. The rules should be... the baker decides who to share the pie, not force you to share the pie. If others want the pie, shared in their own way, then they make their own pie. If they can't, then pound salt.


macrumors 6502
Aug 27, 2016
People who “get things done” like this are always appreciated. Look how “leakers” are promoted with positive feedback for revealing trade secrets and protected information.


macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2019
Whatever works. I’m surprised that Epic isn’t encouraging users to jailbreak to install Fortnite.
It's really challenging today. You need to keep your iPhone on a specific version of iOS in advance of a Jailbreak coming out, because once Apple stops signing an iOS version you can't ever downgrade or downgrade to it.

Unless you have a device that can use Checkm8. :)


macrumors 6502a
Feb 4, 2016
At a café near you
Interesting part of iOS and iPhone history.

Unlike today when a mobile phone and it's Internet connection email passwords et cetera are used in almost all aspects of public and private life, the security landscape back then was very different.

Jailbreaking and the potential lack of operating system safeguards was much less of a problem.


macrumors 68040
Jun 2, 2008

Scott was honouring the Steve Jobs ethos “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.”

In January 1983, Steve Jobs gathered a group of Apple employees at an off-site retreat in Carmel, California. The group was in the midst of developing the Mac, the company’s hugely ambitious personal computer—and some employees felt the project was losing its scrappy spirit. And so Jobs offered a maxim meant to motivate the developers: “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.”

This wasn’t about treasure maps and eyepatches. “Being a pirate meant moving fast, unencumbered by bureaucracy and politics,” software engineer Andy Hertzfeld, an original member of the Macintosh team, tells Quartz via email. “It meant being audacious and courageous, willing to take considerable risks for greater rewards.”

The pirate metaphor also involved a certain willingness to plunder. “Steve also never minded occasionally stealing good ideas from others, like the Picasso quote—’good artists copy, great artists steal,’” Hertzfeld adds.

Credits to this article


macrumors 68030
Sep 21, 2009
Not surprised he would recommend that approach. I’m a bit surprised Pandora hadn’t already done that instead of asking for ideas.


macrumors 65816
May 31, 2020
When the iPhone first launched in 2007, then Apple CEO Steve Jobs had no plans to allow developers to create native apps for the iPhone, instead suggesting they rely on web apps.

That part is a myth. There was always a plan to have full apps and the iPad was developed in secret for that reason before the iPhone.

The SDKs, Xcode and store were already under development (takes much longer than just half a year you know ??) but not ready to share with developers. The web apps and Pandora situation were just there to fill the time until the tools were ready.
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