Friday, August 08, 2008
No calendar sync on the iPhone?I took a look at some of the reviews of our iPhone client and the main complaint is that it syncs only contacts, and it does not sync calendar. Beside the fact that the description of the app is "address book synchronization"... the issue is simple: Apple does not offer developers access to calendar on the iPhone. Period. There is nothing anyone can do to have a legit application on the App Store that is able to access calendar. Apple does not allow it.
Now, we have an application that works on calendar and notes as well, but it needs the phone to be jailbroken. And it will never see the light of day on the App Store (Apple checks every application manually). Therefore, it is useless for the mass market, which is the target of the 3G. But it proves that - had Apple decided to open something - we would have had a solution...
Why is Apple not allowing access to calendar, when they allow access to contacts?
Good question... One can only guess. Let me try to virtually ask Apple and see what they might say:
- Calendar is so complicated that we could not make it. Contacts was simple so the API was easy to make. And we have not enough QA people and we are trying to make things right (like MobileMe, for example). One day, when we will have enough QA people, we will support it. It is a promise.
- Nobody uses calendar, so why bother? You should use paper instead for your events. Electronic calendar is just for geeks and geeks are so uncool. Get a life.
- Open? Who said the iPhone was going to be open? We are opening what the heck we like. And we do not like Calendar. Suck it up and do not bother us. This is not open source, go ask Android if you want calendar, or Windows Mobile for that matter (they are more open than we are but their CEO is like the PC in our ads).
- We are trying to defend MobileMe from any external attack, like your open source thingy. MobileMe works so well that, if your are lucky, your will see the Calendar API in 2020. For the time being, check ActiveStink out, they told me it kinda works.
Posted by Fabrizio at 17:37
Matt Asay said...
Actually, Apple does have OTA calendar sync for the iPhone, and had tethered (cable) sync before that. At least with Zimbra it does (via ActiveSync). It works beautifully.
Comment Posted at 08:03
Insightful. Thanks Fabrizio. Does that jailbreak app you mentioned that works on calendar and notes work with the iPhone 2.0 firmware?
Comment Posted at 08:11
I am not saying that Apple does not have OTA sync in the iPhone. They do. Both in MobileMe and ActiveSync. They clearly have a API for it, but it is not accessible to developers.
Unfortunately, they keep that API very close and no developer in the world can have access to the calendar from an iPhone application (unfair advantage ;-)
Comment Posted at 09:43
You forgot "In a bizarre-for-Apple full-year pre-announcement, we're already publicly touting our Snow Leopard iCal / Exchange sync, and want to protect *that*."
Comment Posted at 09:55
Is the jailbreak calendar sync code available anywhere?
Comment Posted at 15:25
Actually, scratch that - I've found the source in the core repo, however it says that this codebase will no longer be supported. I think this is a really important application, in fact, I think it's actually more important with Apple closing the calendar to SDK developers. Is there a way to access the source for the released application to backport fixes to the community version with cal support?
Being open source, the license grants me the right, but would you object to the community sources being compiled, packaged and released on Cydia?
Comment Posted at 16:11
feel free to build and distribute it via Cydia. We can't do it as Funambol because we do not want to risk Apple to kick us out of the App Store. Just do not call the client Funambol (but leave the Powered by Funambol logo in the About box); you will have to release it as AGPL giving the source back to the community (including the build stuff).
Comment Posted at 09:04
is this on cydia now?
Comment Posted at 07:33
Not that I am aware of. But I heard there are some community members working on it. We as Funambol Inc. will not do it for sure.
Comment Posted at 17:56
This seems to say that Google can sync with the iPhone calendar http://www.google.com/mobile/apple/sync.html, any word if that will allow Funambol to do so as well?
Comment Posted at 09:14
they are using an implementation of the closed protocol ActiveSync, licensed by Microsoft. Today, it is the only way to sync calendar. We are planning to stick to open protocols and open software, so there is no chance we will support ActiveSync. Therefore, we are waiting for Apple to open the API for calendar to third party developers. You can bet we will be very quick at implementing calendar sync once they allow us to do so. This market still needs a lot more openness.