Apple Inc. will allow third-party applications on the iPhone, Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in a posting on its Web site Wednesday.
In a decision that marks a clear turnaround from Apple's previous desire to control the applications consumers have on their iPhones, Jobs said the company intends to release a software development kit in February that will let people outside the company to create iPhone and iPod touch applications.
"We are excited about creating a vibrant third-party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users," Jobs said in the posting.
Coders have built numerous iPhone applications that run on the company's Safari Web browser because the company didn't initially open the iPhone directly to third-party software development.
The iPhone, which combines a cell phone, multimedia and wireless Internet into one device, was released in late June amid a flurry of anticipation. Apple has sold over 1 million iPhones since the product's launch.
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Jobs said Wednesday it will take until February to release the kit because the company wants to give developers an open platform and also protect iPhone users from viruses, malware and privacy attacks.
"There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network," he wrote.
Apple shares rose $2.14 to $171.69 in afternoon trading.