Since the iPhone's launch in June, hackers and hobbyists have been shoehorning third-party software onto the device without Apple's blessing, some with more success than others. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has posted an announcement on Apple's website revealing that the official iPhone software development toolkit (SDK) will come out in February 2008. The toolkit will allow developers to create third-party applications for the iPod touch, as well.
Why February 2008 and not sooner? According to Jobs, Apple is "excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users." However, the company also seeks to "protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc."
Jobs doesn't mention exactly how the SDK will keep malware at bay, although he specifically praises Nokia's policy of requiring third-party programs to have digital signatures. He acknowledges that such an approach doesn't make devices totally open, but he concludes that it's "a step in the right direction."