secret that Apple has been militant in suing competitors that employ
technologies even remotely close to Apple's own [see: Samsung, Motorola, HTC].
But when it comes to stealing ideas for apps from developers, Apple's
intentions are a bit more dubious.
Register reports that Apple is being
accused of stealing the idea of one UK-based college student and developer —
Greg Hughes. In May 2010, Hughes submitted an app for consideration called
Wi-Fi Sync, which allowed users to sync their iTunes libraries
than receive the standard rejection email, Hughes reportedly got a call from an
iPhone developer relations representative letting him know that his app was
"admirable," but that some unspecified security concerns prevented it
from being accepted. "They did say that the iPhone engineering team had looked
at it and were impressed," Hughes told The Register.
"They asked for my CV as well."
rather than back down, Hughes simply submitted the app to the Cydia store,
where it's sold more than 50,000 copies in a little more than a year. At $9.99
a pop, it's fair to say that Hughes made out quite nicely from his decision,
though he declined to say how much he profited.
didn't pad the surprise that Hughes received earlier in the week, when Apple unveiled
a number of key features for its upcoming iOS 5. One key feature, aptly
named Wi-Fi Sync, does exactly what Hughes' rejected version did.
Furthermore, Apple's icon for the app bears a striking resemblance to Hughes
original design (see photo).
I was fairly shocked," Hughes told The Register. "I'd
been selling my app with that name and icon for at least a year. Apple knew
that, as I'd submitted it to them, so it was surprising to see that."
Unofficial Apple Weblog has a list of other jailbreak developers that have been
subject to similar "borrowing" by Apple.