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News From Apple: iPhone to Open, iTunes Plus Expands, Leopard Next Week

Apple has had a busy couple of days. I'll start with the most significant item: The company's Hot News page today leads with a statement from Steve Jobs that it will allow outside programmers to write software for the iPhone and iPod touch:

Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK [software developers' kit] in developers' hands in February..... It will take until February to release an SDK because we're trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once--provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc.

That posting raises a question: If the iPhone and the iPod touch both run OS X -- the security of which Apple regularly touts -- why do these devices need extra protection against malware?

In any case, this is a welcome development overall. It makes far more sense for Apple to help people who want to contribute to its platform than for the company to waste its energy trying to shut them out. (Now if only you could use other wireless carriers' SIM cards with the iPhone...)

The Cupertino, Calif., firm also issued a news release announcing that the iTunes Store's inventory of DRM-free, high-fidelity iTunes Plus tracks now exceeds 2 million tracks, a third of the total iTunes music inventory. That document confirms what I (and many, many other) noted yesterday: All iTunes Plus tracks now sell for 99 cents each, down from the old $1.29 price.

And yesterday, Apple announced that Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (Leopard for short) will go on sale at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. It will cost $129, although people who bought a Mac on October 1 or later can get it for $9.95. The company also posted detailed system requirements for Leopard:

* Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor

* 512MB of memory

* DVD drive for installation

* 9GB of available disk space

I've already asked The Post's News Art department if it has an older Mac with a G4 processor that I could borrow for my Leopard research, which I hope to start soon. When I do, what would you like me to test first?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  October 17, 2007; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mac , Music  
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Next: Something New, Something Old From Palm and RIM

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